BLUEBERRY SLAB-MUFFIN FRENCH TOAST
Actually… I was saving this post for another time. Because first of all, something borderline “sweet” and similarly “French-toasty” had already taken the space next door. And secondly, it hasn’t exactly left yet. Yeah, so to avoid the suspicion of repetition, I was going to let this one ferment in my draft-box for a bit until you turn bubbly and matured for it.
However… shit happened.
Real-life solid shit as in, my 13-year-old Maltese aka Dumpling who, inspired by the Grinch no doubt, felt so much love during this Christmas that his otherwise bitter heart grew three sizes bigger as well. Yeah, shit… little did he know that in Real-ville, such condition would be called a congestive heart failure… not very Dr. Seussy after all. In a nutshell, one midnight emergency session, couple days of hell-storms and a still ongoing critical condition later, this is all I got for ya.
Not that I, nor you, will be sorry about it.
Who could be sorry for warm, blueberry muffin French toasts? Jason isn’t exactly sold on the idea, like… he needs justification for sliced muffins that are dipped, moistened in custard and pan-fried to golden browned obscenity then money-shot with a cool drop of blueberry whipped cream cheese… But do you? Don’t lie. I know that there’s still space in your greedy, normal-sized heart for it.
Still not sold? Perhaps the final confirmation code you need to hear is… Perfect. Brunch. Item. You can of course use your common day-old muffins that direly need some resuscitation to begin with, but I would argue that for this particular purpose, a “slab muffin” proves to be a much better thing. Four surface-area to be dipped in custard VS just two (as in a round muffin sliced in half). No cupping, scooping or dividing, just one clean and swift dump of a batter into a pan. Plus zero discrimination against whatever type of sick muffins you folks like to bake up in privacy. Told you. No sorry business.
Here, if I were to bake a muffin just to make a point, it’d be this one. A blueberry muffin recipe from the reliable Bouchon Bakery Cookbook, a fatty shoulder you can always lean on for 20% more butter than everywhere else, and 50% better-tasting as promised. An already exceedingly rich and flavourful muffin with boosters such as molasses and honey, that’s then further treated with… browned butter eggy-ness, plus a creamy dollop of whipped blueberry cream cheese as finale.
Moist on moist. Blue on blue. You are a hot skillet-away from being fork-deep into something as under-popularized as a warm cake. Seriously, whatever happened to warm cake?
Makes: 9 square muffin french toasts
This muffin can be made the night before a brunch party or something, and French-toasted before serving. I happen to have cake flour on hand so I followed the recipe as needed. But if you only have all-purpose flour at home, I suspect that using purely all-purpose flour (like most other recipes) wouldn’t ruin your muffins either (which will be 1 1/2 cup (210 grams) of all-purpose flour). The Cookbook also “rests” the batter overnight, which of course, I did not. And the muffins made no complaints. I suppose one could argue that they could be even better if rested overnight. Well, you tell me.
Ingredients: inspired by a random episode on Diners, Drive-in and Dives
- Blueberry muffin batter: adapted slightly from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook
- Approx 1 cup (180 grams) of frozen/fresh blueberries
- 1 tbsp (10 grams) of all-purpose flour
- 6 1/2 tbsp (93 grams) of unsalted butter, room-temperature
- 1/3 cup (66 grams) of granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsp (54 grams) of honey
- 2 tbsp (40 grams) of molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (105 grams) of all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (105 grams) of cake flour
- 3/4 tsp of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda
- 3/4 tsp of salt
- 1/3 cup of plain yogurt
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) of all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) of almond flour, or blanched almond flakes
- 2 1/2 tbsp (33 grams) of sugar
- 1/8 tsp of salt
- 3 tbsp (43 grams) of unsalted butter, cold
- Blueberry cream cheese whip:
- 1 cup (250 grams) of cream cheese
- 1/4 cup (78 grams) of fresh/thawed blueberries
- 1/3 cup (43 grams) of powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp (30 grams) of honey
- 1 tbsp of whole milk
- For frying:
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup of whole milk
- Unsalted butter for the pan
To make the blueberry muffin batter: (can be made the day ahead)
Mix the frozen, or fresh blueberries with 1 tbsp of flour then keep them in the freezer until needed. Cream the unsalted butter and sugar together in a stand-mixer with pedal attachment on medium-high speed, stopping and scraping the bottom of the bowl a few times in between, until the mixture is light, fluffy and creamy like mayonnaise. Add the honey and molasses, and mix again until evenly combined. Then add the egg and vanilla extract, beating the mixture on medium-high speed until velvety and thick with trails of ribbons. Sift together the flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt directly into the mixer bowl. Mix on low-speed until roughly combined, then add the plain yogurt and mix on low again until the batter is evenly mixed (scrape the bottom of the bowl once to be sure). But be careful not to over mix the batter. Keep the batter in the fridge for 1 hour while prepping for streusels and cream cheese whip.
To make the streusels: Combine every ingredients in the food-processor, and run until the mixture resembles coarse meal, but be careful not to do it for too long that the butter heats up. Transfer to a bowl, plastic-wrapped and refrigerated until needed.
To make the blueberry cream cheese whip: Combine every ingredients in the food-processor (no washing needed, just wiped clean is fine) and run until smoothly pureed. Transfer to a bowl, plastic-wrapped and refrigerated until needed.
To bake the slab muffin: Preheat the oven on 400ºF/200ºC (this temperature will be lowered once the muffin is in the oven).
Fold the flour-coated blueberries into the batter just until evenly distributed. Lightly butter and flour a 9″ square-pan, then pour and smooth out the batter inside the pan. Apply a generous and even layer of streusels on top, and place it in the middle rack inside the oven. Lower the temperature down to 325ºF/165ºC, and bake until the the entire slab-muffin is puffed up and a wooden skewer comes out clean from the center of the muffin, approx 40 ~ 45 min. If the top streusel doesn’t look like it’s going to get enough color near the end of baking, increase the temperature to 400ºF/200ºC (switch to top-heat if available) for the last 5 min.
Let the slab-muffin cool down completely inside the pan before doing anything else. If being made the night before, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room-temperature.
To French-toast the slab-muffin: Beat the egg and whole milk together to make the custard. Cut the slab-muffin into 9 equal squares. Heat up a non-stick skillet with a little bit of unsalted butter (about 1 tsp for each) over medium-heat. Careful dip the muffin-squares in the custard on all 4 sides, allowing the muffin a few seconds on each side to absorb custard. Then cook the muffin-squares inside the skillet until nice and golden browned on all sides.
Serve the muffin French toast warm with blueberry cream cheese whip (if some blueberry juice has seeped out, just whisk it back into the cream cheese).