Block Island is a tiny and beautiful place off the coast of Rhode Island; it’s so small that you can bike around the entire island in two hours. It’s truly the kind of place where you can pack a few t-shirts, shorts, and sweatshirts and not feel underdressed at any restaurant. Steve and I headed there for one of our first summer vacations alone as a couple. We stayed in a little bed and breakfast in the heart of town, a place that would have been better described as a motel if it wasn’t for its breakfast muffins.
Every morning our hostess would set a basket of hot muffins at our table. We stayed there a week, and the muffins were never the same. We ate classics like blueberry and banana nut, but we also found peach, strawberry, and apple nut in our cloth covered basket other mornings. Knowing what muffin awaited us became the highlight of the day, and we started making bets before ripping into the first warm muffin and letting the trapped steam snake out languidly, revealing the day’s flavor.
Breakfast was served every morning on the back patio on rickety white plastic chairs. Fog covered the island every morning, and we would linger at our table, unhurried by kids or schedules, as the scenery was slowly revealed as the sun burned off the haze. By the time 10AM rolled around, the blue waters surrounding Block Island were twinkling in the distance, beckoning us to the beach. We licked every crumb in our muffin basket before setting out for our lazy days on the beach with piles of books and magazines.
When Steve and I came home, we began experimenting with muffin recipes, determined to continue the muffin magic in our New York brownstone apartment. One thousand years later, lazy beach days are a distant memory but muffins still feel like summer magic. I whip up this dough and fill it with whatever fruit speaks to me that morning, from raspberries to coconut and mango. But I can confess to a favorite: peaches and wild blueberries. That blue and gold combo is a muffin marriage made in heaven.
- 1 ¾ cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup of frozen wild blueberries
- 1 cup of coarsely chopped and peeled peaches
- ¾ cup milk (preferably whole)
- ¼ cup of yogurt (I sometimes use strawberry yogurt)
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter or spray 18 muffin cups or line them with paper bake cups. I like those silicone muffin trays, but still generously spray them with non-stick baking spray.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Remove a couple tablespoons of the dry ingredients and toss with the blueberries and peaches, to keep the blueberries from bleeding and making the dough all blue.
- In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until pale and white, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture no longer feels grainy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the paddle and the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs and yolk and beat until mixture is fluffy about 2 minutes. Finally, add the yogurt, vanilla, and milk.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in half the dry ingredients, mixing with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining dry ingredients and fold in only until just mixed. Pour over the peaches and blueberries and fold a couple of times to combine.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin wells, filling each cup at least ⅔ full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the tops which will be flat are golden and spring back when lightly pressed. Turn the muffins out onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.