An epic fail: lemon ginger blueberry muffins.

I wish there was more time in the day. I always drag my butt out of bed in the morning at the last possible second because I am so not a morning person. I get dressed, put on my makeup and eat breakfast at a break neck speed, then gas it to work so that I’m there on time at 9 a.m. Lucky for me, my bosses are huge believers in work/life balance and unless there’s a big trial to prep for, we’re usually out of the office around 5 p.m. I get home at 6 which is totally reasonable and probably way earlier than a lot of other people do. But seriously, by the time I’ve gone for a workout, prepped and cooked dinner, and cleaned, I’m bloody exhausted and it’s time for bed.

Unacceptable!

Unfortunately, there’s nothing to be done about it besides bitching and moaning. I was super tired last night so opted to make a simple dinner: veggies and wings that were thrown on the grill.

From top left, we had avocado and cherry tomato salad, chicken wings, grilled bell peppers and zucchini, and corn.


As no-fuss as our meal was, we weren’t finished eating until almost 8 p.m. and I was determined to get some baking done. It feels like forever since I’ve baked something and I’m going a bit stir-crazy.

I pack lunch for me and the Husband almost every day. We hate having to go out for lunch so the more we can bring with us, the better. That applies to my snacks too – I need to eat all day long and I don’t want to be buying useless fillers like giant calorie laden scones or doughnuts (as much as I love giant calorie laden scones or doughnuts). I’m constantly grazing on food. This is a flaw charming quirk that I’ve always had. I would eat on the hour during law school, prompting a friend to liken me to a hobbit.

But I digress.

So what did I bake last? Muffins! Not just any muffins. Lemon blueberry muffins with my own twist – ginger. I just bought fresh local blueberries and was dying to utilize them in a baked good.

I searched for a new recipe to try and discovered a new blog, Alexandra’s Kitchen. In 2009, she made a lemon blueberry muffin that she adapted from the New York Times. Her photos were amazing – showing muffins that were perfectly crusty, bursting with blueberries, with a lovely crumb. I was inspired. It was decided – I was going to make these tantalizing muffins.

Lemon Ginger Blueberry Muffins (adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen & the New York Times)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
zest of one lemon
tablespoon fresh lemon juice
teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 cup & 1 tbsp sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 generous tsp vanilla (I always free pour vanilla, I figure the more the better!)
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp kosher salt (aside: I used the only kosher salt I had in my pantry and the crystals were huge. I hesitated for a moment, wondering if I should use normal table salt, fearing that the kosher salt wouldn’t dissolve and I’d end up with salt-chunk laden muffins. I then shrugged and said, what the hell, and dumped in my kosher salt. I was totally right and should’ve listened to my instincts. When I tasted the finished muffin, I’d be chewing away and end up with a huge chunk of salt. It totally threw me off and was pretty unappetizing)
2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen would probably work just as well)
1/2 cup milk

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Cream butter with the lemon zest and 1 cup of sugar until it’s light and fluffy.

I don’t like my baked goods too sweet so I used less than half a cup of white sugar and half a cup of my organic coconut palm sugar.


Add the egg and vanilla, beat until combined. Add tablepoon of lemon juice and beat further.

In the meantime, toss the blueberries with 1/4 cup of the flour.

Sift the remaining 1 3/4 cup flour with baking powder, salt, and ground ginger.

Add the flour mixture to the batter alternating with the milk (finishing with the flour mixture).

Fold in the blueberries.

The original recipe is for jumbo muffins, so you can use a buttered jumbo muffin tin. I used a normal 12 muffin tin and paper cups (what can I say, I’m too lazy to wash the tin out afterwards). Distribute batter among muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.


Bake for approximately 30 minutes (test with a tooth pick for doneness. Bake for longer if necessary). Let muffins cool 7 minutes (Alexandra was very emphatic about this number) before serving.


Verdict? Epic fail!

Why? The muffins were hideous to behold, blueberry juice had squirted everywhere. Sadly, mine looked nothing like the beauties that Alexandra had created.

Here’s a pic of the only pretty muffin.


The muffins were soggy and gummy because of all the juice that excreted from the blueberries. How in the hell do people get such perfectly cakey crumbly baked goods when baking with fruit? I always seem to have this problem.

And the salt, the salt! Every bite yielded a crispy nugget of salty-not-so-goodness.

The only positive was the winning flavour combo of lemon, ginger and blueberry. Next time I’ll amp up the ginger taste by adding more of it.

So, I was rewarded for my efforts with a batch of devastating muffins and a counter stacked with dirty dishes. Oh well, tomorrow’s another day!

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11 thoughts on “An epic fail: lemon ginger blueberry muffins.

  1. Aww too bad. I am going to try anyways and I will let you know how it works with 1/2 more ginger. I just love your site Nancy. Don’t know how you have all the time with working. Any site with pictures and yours are wonderful is my kind of site.

    thanks mona

    • Thanks for all the love ‘n support, Monica! It’s been a super fun journey so far working on this blog. If you try this recipe, I hope it turns out better for you than it did me. I’m going to try it again but with some changes next time. I’ll definitely use normal table salt, decrease the amount of blueberries and increase the ginger. Happy baking!

  2. oh no! i hate muffin failures. i have done the exact same thing with the salt. a lot of martha stewart recipes call for kosher salt so once i decided to just go with it, and ended up with cookies that had big salt chunks. never again!!! the only thing i’d say about salt is if you use table salt when kosher is called for maybe use a bit less. i think your muffins look really good! maybe they look a bit different because you used cake flour instead of all purpose flour? i think maybe there were too many berries and that’s why it was soggy. i made these before (http://www.eatmedelicious.com/2008/01/twd-orange-berry-muffins.html) and they were really good and not soggy, and have 1/2 the blueberries. these berry muffins are also delicious (http://www.eatmedelicious.com/2011/10/bakery-style-berry-muffins.html).

    • I’m with you on the kosher salt – I’m never using it again! Good ol’ table salt all the way. Maybe I’ll try my recipe again but use AP flour and half the blueberries (I also suspect the sogginess comes from my heavy handedness). I’ll definitely try your recipes out – they look great!

  3. Your verdict of the recipe made me laugh! “Epic fail!”, “salty-not-so-goodness”, and especially “…the only pretty muffin” photo description. Despite that, you had a delicious looking dinner. If you put the flour-covered blueberries in the freezer as the first step, it might help with the sogginess. Try adding lemon zest next time for a more lemony flavour – perfect pairing with blueberries.

  4. This totally made me laugh! And instantly reminded me of today when i dropped the cambro of poppy seeds and burned the french bread in class! Whoops.

    • Thanks, Megan! I aim to please and entertain. Besides, no one’s perfect – it’s these epic failures that keep life interesting. We’ve got to be able to laugh at ourselves, right?

  5. I have been baking a bit more than normal, and I love blueberry muffins, one thing about blueberries and baking.pancakes, bigger is not always better, the bigger the berry the bigger the juicy mess, I love using tiny frozen berries, they always seem to work the best.. but hey that is just my 2 cents, will be trying your recipe as I have some fresh ginger that I want to use up, if i have time before my children devour them I will take a few photos and try and share them with you.

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