[vegan, soy-free, palm oil-free; gluten-free option available]
Berry picking runs in my family. For both of my late grandmothers, it was the thing to do in August. My paternal grandmother made the best berry juice. I don’t know what exactly she put in it, but I’m suspecting it was blackcurrants and redcurrants from her own yard, at least. My maternal grandmother would sneak out alone to a nearby forest to pick blueberries, even when she wasn’t in the best of health. My Mom enjoy blueberry picking, as well, even when surrounded by swarms of mosquitoes. Fresh berries are brilliant ingredients in easy vegan bakes. The late summer’s berries bring just the right amount of tangy freshness to large, soft, and fluffy muffins. That’s what big and very berrylicious muffins are all about.
The Perfect Three-Berry Combo
Basically, you can make big and very berrylicious muffins with any berries. My thinking was with a late-summer sweet treat such as these, I love to use fresh, local berries. It’s not to say that frozen berries wouldn’t work just as well. Just grab and go with what you’ve got.
In my opinion, our big and very berrylicious muffins have just the perfect three-berry combo. There was 2/3 cup blueberries, 2/3 cup raspberries, and 1/3 cup redcurrants in the batter. I used less redcurrants to keep the muffins sweet enough.
Not only were all of our berries local, we picked them ourselves. I’m using the word ‘ourselves’ loosely here, as my Mom was the one who picked the blueberries. Behind my parents’ backyard, there’s a dense forest that’s always full of juicy wild blueberries. It’s more likely that you’ll get tired of the mosquitoes than run out of berries to pick. This year alone, my Mom has already provided us with bucketfuls of blueberries.
The raspberries came from a forest close to our home. It’s an unattended thicket right next to the seashore. It’s also where some of the most impressive summer houses of the city used to be located. They were torn down in the 1960s to make room for new construction. What’s left are the clusters of apple and cherry trees, and the now-wild raspberry and currant bushes. We’ve got currants in our backyard, too. This year, the sun must have favored the redcurrant bush, because it fruited particularly well.
Big and Very Berrylicious Muffins Are Bursting with Fresh Energy
I love baking muffins, because they usually turn out delightfully beautiful. They’re perfect to serve your guests or bring with you when visiting a friend. In the latter case, it’s useful to bake your muffins into paper liners to make packaging and carrying easier. Don’t skip using the muffin pan, though, because in paper liners only, muffins tend to spread too much and rise too little.
That’s not the ideal situation, especially if you’re a friend of large, decadent muffins. Big muffins are my favorite. That’s when I’m definitely not counting calories or looking into the nutrition content too closely. The main thing is to make them look as impressive as possible. The deep, vibrant colors of the berries make the big and very berrylicious muffins particularly beautiful.
So yes, this is a recipe for large bakery-style muffins. The big and very berrylicious muffins seen in the pictures were quite obviously made without paper liners. That’s when you get the beautifully smooth sides. The general idea with bakery-style muffins is for the batter to rise noticeably over the rims of the muffin cups. In order to avoid making a mess in the oven, it’s a good idea to slide a piece of parchment paper between the baking rack and muffin pan.
The recipe makes 12 decent-sized muffins. If you want to go for even bigger ones, leave one line of the muffin pan empty and divide the batter into just nine cups. You could even use a six-cup jumbo muffin pan. Or if you’d rather make slightly smaller muffins this time around, make 1/2–2/3 of the batter and fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full.
How to Make Big and Very Berrylicious Muffins
The big and very berrylicious muffins are a breeze to make. For real! You begin by greasing or spraying the muffin tin or by lining it with paper liners. Then you combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. After that, melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan and stir in the remaining ingredients except for the berries. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix barely to combine, and fold in your berries of choice.
The essential thing about muffin-making is to mix the batter as little as possible. It’s okay to have some lumps and bumps remain in it; it’s not meant to be smooth. The main thing is to even out the biggest flour lumps. The less you mix the batter, the airier and fluffier muffins you’ll get!
Fill the muffin cups all the way to the rim. Although the batter will rise a lot in the oven, the muffins should keep their shape pretty well. Actually, I would’ve liked my muffins to rise even a bit more, to get that big, round top typical of bakery-style muffins.
If you have berries left, top your big and very berrylicious muffins with some extra ones before baking them. That’ll make your muffins even prettier and juicier. When it comes to baking the muffins, I recommend baking them in a slightly higher temperature for a couple of minutes. Depending on the oven, go with 420–430°F. Then drop the temperature to 350°F, keeping the muffins in the oven, and bake for another 25 minutes or so. The muffins are done, when they’re slightly golden, the tops have cracked a bit, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- 3 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- heaping ¼ cup coconut oil
- ⅓ cup sunflower oil
- 6 tbsp aquafaba or chickpea brine
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 ⅓ cup almond or coconut drink
- 1 ⅔ cup blueberries, raspberries, and redcurrants
- Preheat the oven to 420°F/210°C. Grease a 12-muffin pan with vegan butter, sunflower oil, or nonstick spray, or line the pan with paper muffin liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat. Add the sunflower oil, aquafaba, and brown sugar and whisk together until combined. Stir in the plant-based drink and mix until smooth.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine until no flour lumps remain. Avoid overmixing to get fluffy muffins. Fold in the berries. Use either fresh or frozen berries.
- Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Fill each cup all the way to the top. Bake at 420°F for 5 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to bake for 23-28 minutes. The muffins are done, when a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
- Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Store leftover muffins in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for several months. At room temperature, they will keep for up to 5 days.