I wanted blueberry muffins a couple of weeks ago. Not just any blueberry muffins. I wanted my mom's blueberry muffins, because I have loved them since I was a little girl. So I made a phone call:
Me: "Hi, Mom. Could I have your recipe for blueberry muffins?"
Mom: "Oh, sure, honey." (Sounds of papers shuffling.) "Here it is -- my recipe for Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins."
Me: "Nooooo. I want your recipe for blueberry muffins."
Mom: "Honey, this is my recipe. It's the one from Jordan Marsh. I have been using it for as long as I can remember."
Me: "You mean all these years that I thought I was eating your blueberry muffins, I was actually eating Jordan Marsh's muffins?"
Mom: "I'm afraid so, honey. Do you still want it?"
Me: "Well, of course I still want it. But I won't call them Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins. I'll call them My Mom's Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins."
I gotta tell ya, it wasn't easy discovering my mom's blueberry muffins were actually Jordan Marsh's, the now defunct, but once hugely popular department store. I remember shopping at Jordan Marsh with my mom when I was a kid; it was the place where we bought shoes and handbags and kitchen appliances, but not blueberry muffins. That's because they didn't sell them in Rhode Island. For the beloved Jordan Marsh blueberry muffin -- a moist, cakey, berry-studded delight with an irresistible crunchy sugar topping -- you had to go to Massachusetts.
The iconic Jordan Marsh blueberry muffin was created by baker John Pupek in 1961. Pupek took pride in his muffins, folding in the blueberries by hand and overseeing the baking of each batch. Apparently his muffins were so delicious that they transformed disagreeable children into angels. After Jordan Marsh closed in 1990, Pupek opened his own bake shop where he sold the cherished Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins as well as other sweets made famous by the store. Much to the dismay of his loyal customers, Pupek closed shop in 2004. Physically worn out, the baker needed a rest. Upon his retirement, Pupek swore to never sell the Jordan Marsh muffin name. He told the Boston Globe, ''if people said they had a Jordan Marsh muffin and it was horrible, it would kill me."
Fortunately the treasured Jordan Marsh blueberry muffin recipe is available online and in some cookbooks, such as Nick Malgieri's How to Bake. Since we're in prime blueberry season, now is the perfect time to make a batch (or two) of these blueberry muffins. Just don't be surprised if after making them, you suddenly have a urge to toss your old blueberry muffin recipe, or to go shopping for a new pair of shoes.
My Mom's Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins
Makes 12 regular size muffins
Print recipe only here.
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint blueberries, rinsed and patted dry
1 teaspoon sugar for blueberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon for blueberries
Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-mold regular size muffin pan with paper muffins cups.
Using a hand mixer, cream butter, sugar, and salt until soft. Add eggs, and mix until light and fluffy. Mix the flour and baking powder together, and stir into the batter, alternating with the milk. Stir in the vanilla. Mix until just incorporated.
This is my mom's tip, and it works beautifully: In a small bowl, sprinkle blueberries with 1 teaspoon each sugar and cinnamon. Gently toss until well coated. Fold into the batter. Spoon batter into the 12 muffin cups.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops are light gold and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing each muffin and placing on a wire rack to cool.
You might also like these sweet blueberry treats:
Mom's Blueberry Sweet Rolls with Vanilla Glaze