As a dessert feign and avid baker, I am always trying to intensify flavors and add complicity to classic desserts (i.e., Browned Butter Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt, Nutella and Dulce de Leche Stuffed Double Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt, Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart with Caramel-Dipped Hazelnuts, etc.). I love overly sweet things and I tend to cram as much as I can into one single dessert and I tend to lose sight of the beauty of simplicity when it comes to desserts.
Tony and I made a quick trip to Amsterdam this past weekend and stopped by our favorite coffeehouse, Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters, like an actual coffee shop not a pseudo-Amsterdam-coffeeshop. I discovered Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters before our first trip to Amsterdam on Instagram believe it or not. I can’t tell you how many different restaurants, cafes, and bakeries I’ve discovered by stalking Instagram and hashtags; it’s almost sad, but definitely worth it. Anyway, after scrolling through hundreds of photos of this coffeehouse, I knew I had to make it a priority to get to this place and order a flat white and a chocolate chip cookie.
On our first trip to Amsterdam and Lot Sixty One, we were fortunate enough to meet the owner, Adam, an expat from Australia who travels the world and opens the most amazing coffeehouses that are designed and operated to perfection. As we walked in the door, Adam was walking up the stairs with a baking sheet of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I almost tumbled over in pure delight right then.
As Adam graciously answered our 100+ questions about his experience and different shops, I tasted quite possibly the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had in my life. I stopped him in mid-sentence and asked if he made these himself and where he got the recipe… Of course, he couldn’t give away all of his secrets, but he was willing to offer me the ingredient list and to my surprise, it was nothing out of the ordinary… He used a high quality butter, granulated sugar, eggs, baking soda, flour, and high-quality chocolate chips. No special tips or tricks. He simply used the highest-quality of ordinary ingredients and made something truly extraordinary.
Our most recent visit back to Lot Sixty One was no exception. We arrived to Lot Sixty One as soon as they opened and we were greeted by the overwhelming aroma of fresh wild blueberry muffins hot from the oven. Since we were slightly early, the chocolate chip cookies were still baking, but Tony was unwilling to pass up on the Blueberry Muffins… As we waited for the chocolate chip cookies to bake, my baking talents were stomped all over once again by this simple and classic blueberry muffin. Like their chocolate chip cookies, these Blueberry Muffins were simply sensational, emphasis on simply. They only used the highest ingredients available and didn’t mess around with any special gimmicks; no browned butter or crumble topping to speak of. They were so good that we ordered two more flat whites and another muffin to go along with my cookie.
After listening to Tony rave about how amazing these Blueberry Muffins were and how they were the best baked good he’s ever tasted, I decided it was time to make a classic Blueberry Muffin recipe using Italy’s seasonal wild blueberries and the highest-quality ingredients I could find.
Even while looking for a classic Blueberry Muffin recipe, I was tempted by the lemon sugar, brown butter crumble, and jam swirling additions of other recipes, and kept having to remind myself to stick to the goal! Simple and classic! This recipe is an old New York Times favorite and I fell in love with it because of its simplicity and ordinary ingredient list.
Although these muffins weren’t comparable to Lot Sixty One’s because they were much lighter than Lot Sixty One’s dense muffins, they were still a huge hit. I used Lurpak butter, which is a delicious salted Danish butter– quite frankly I can eat it plain and I also found a special blend of organic flour for sweets and desserts to use as a substitute for the cake flour. It is a super-light crumb, almost cupcake like, moist, subtly sweet, and full of flavor with blueberries bursting throughout each bite! Delightful.
Until next time, Amsterdam!
Classic Blueberry Muffins from The New York Times, originally published with On Blueberry Hill:
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ cups fresh blueberries, cleaned
½ cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using an electric mixer, combine the butter and lemon zest. Add 1 cup of sugar and beat until light. Mix in the egg and then the vanilla.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Place the blueberries in a bowl and toss with ¼ cup of the flour mixture. Add the remaining flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just to combine. Gently fold in the blueberries.
- Line a muffin pan with paper muffin cups. Spoon the batter into the cups, filling them about ¾ full. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining sugar. Bake until muffins are lightly browned and spring back when touched in the center, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.