Boyfriend’s Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins
Hello friends! Today’s recipe comes to us courtesy of Boyfriend and I’m so glad I can finally share it here on the blog. See, Boyfriend tells a wonderful tale about having breakfast in Locanda Verde – the Tribeca restaurant owned by Robert De Niro, whom he stood next to at the counter – and enjoying a life-changing muffin. The muffin in question was a blueberry cornmeal muffin from the kitchen of Karen DeMasco, the then pastry chef at the restaurant. In the years since his visit, Boyfriend has scaled the internet looking for the recipe – I believe he even went so far as to Tweet Karen DeMasco – all to no avail. Eventually, all of his resources exhausted, he was left with no other option but to get in the kitchen and make his own version. And that’s how Boyfriend’s Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins were born.
Let me tell you: they are perhaps the best muffins I’ve ever had.
why make boyfriend’s muffins?
These are a little different than your average blueberry muffin recipe, so let me talk you through them.
• the buttermilk in the recipe makes the muffins super light and fluffy. It reacts with the raising agents and keeps everything extremely tender throughout the baking process – no one likes a tough muffin!
• they have an incredible demerara sugar crunchy top. Demerara sugar has a higher melting point than white sugar, so it adds a nice bite to an otherwise melt in your mouth muffin. Also, sprinkling sugar over the top of a muffin is a lot easier than making a crumble topping – just saying!
• the cornmeal gives the muffins an unusual but delicious bite. Cornmeal is a type of flour made from dried corn. It’s kind of an unusual ingredient here in Ireland, but you can get it in certain speciality shops – we got ours in our local Asian supermarket. I was skeptical, to say the least. Boyfriend eventually twisted my arm, and honestly I’m glad he did- it’s a game changer.
• the muffins are jam-packed with blueberries! I’m pretty sure they’d pass Robert De Niro’s high standards.
• it’s basically a one bowl recipe. If I wasn’t such a stickler for the mise en place, every single ingredient could have been weighed directly into the mixing bowl – that’s what Boyfriend does every single time!
So, have I convinced you yet?
how to make boyfriend’s blueberry cornmeal muffins
Step by step photos below!
A lined muffin tray, a preheated oven, and our muffin mise en place. Here’s what we’ll need:
fats: butter, one egg, and buttermilk. Both the egg and the buttermilk need to be at room temperature for this recipe, so don’t forget to take them out before baking. No need to worry about the butter, we’re going to melt it down anyways.
dries: flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cornmeal. Ideally, ‘fine cornmeal’ would be best for baking, but ‘coarse’ works just as well.
sugars: granulated for the batter, and demerara for the topping. We love a good texture difference.
extras: the zest of 1/2 a lemon, and blueberries. We only had frozen blueberries on hand, but you can use fresh if you’d rather.
Add the butter to a heatproof, medium sized mixing bowl. Pop the bowl in the microwave, melt the better, and give it a light stir with a whisk. A handheld whisk is all we’ll need for these muffins, no need to whip out the electric whisk or the stand mixer – yay!
Grate the lemon zest directly into the melted butter, sift in the sugar, and whisk.
Pour the buttermilk into the bowl and whisk. The buttermilk needs to be at room temperature so that it doesn’t shock the butter into little clumps. If it’s at room temperature, everything should be liquid-y and smooth.
Crack the egg into the bowl and whisk it up. To be safe, you could brake the egg into a separate bowl first. I like to live on the edge and do less dishes.
Place a sieve directly over the bowl and add the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, lightly fold the mixture together. It’s important not to over mix the batter at this stage – no one likes a tough muffin.
Add the blueberries, and fold them in. The batter should be thick and laden with blueberries. My blueberries bled into the batter and tinted it purple – that’s totally okay! We’ve found that it happens more often when we use the smaller frozen wild blueberries; either way, it’s just an aesthetic issue.
Divide the batter evenly between the 9-muffin cases, top each muffin with a teaspoon of demerara sugar, and bake! My muffins were fully baked after 22-minutes, but have taken up to 28-minutes previously. Do the skewer test and you’ll be fine.
And there we are: Boyfriend’s Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins! Muffins are truly my food photography kryptonite, but aren’t they just a wonder to behold? We like ours warm from the oven with a big cup of coffee – I’m sure you will too!
Happy baking, friends! xo
Boyfriend’s Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins
- 70 g salted butter
- 100 g granulated
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temp
- 1 egg, at room temp
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 190 g plain flour
- 80 g cornflour
- 180 g blueberries, frozen or fresh
- 9 tsp demerara sugar
- Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a muffin tin with 9 muffin cups; set aside.
- Place the butter into a large heatproof bowl, and melt in the microwave. Whisk lightly.
- Sieve the granulated sugar directly into the melted butter and use a whisk to combine.
- Grate the lemon zest straight into the mixture. Whisk together.
- Pour the buttermilk into the bowl; whisk to combine.
- Crack the egg into the bowl – pray no shell goes in – and whisk well to combine.
- Sieve the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, plain flour, and cornflour directly into the mixture. Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients gently through the wet. Stir in the blueberries.
- Divide the batter evenly between the lined muffin cups. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of demerara sugar on top of each one – don't skimp!
- Bake in the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes, or until crisp on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly before eating.
- depending on what type of blueberries you use, the batter could be totally blue (as above) or a more traditional golden brown. Either way, they’re still delicious!
- these freeze so wonderfully! Pop them in a freezer bag, freeze, and then defrost a couple hours before you need them. We pop ours in the oven to refresh them!
- recipe adapted from Deb @ Smitten Kitchen
Did you make this recipe? I’d love to know! Please leave a comment & a rating below, or tag me on Instagram @imvcki. Thank you so much for supporting Passionate Baker!
*PHOTOS UPDATED JULY 2021