Test the Recipe: Blueberry Muffins
“Test the Recipe” is a recurring column on PCFG where we test vintage (anything published before 1990) recipes and see if they stand the test of time or need updating. In this post we test the recipe as exactly as possible for the most accurate outcomes. Those recipes that need updating will be featured later in a “We Can Do It Better” post.
It’s been a while since my last Test The Recipe post, but I decided I wanted the next edition to be a breakfast one. After a recent trip to the city, I’ve had blueberry muffins on my mind. So it was off to the old cookbooks to see if I could find an old blueberry muffin recipe to test. I found one in the McCall’s Cook Book from 1963. This book is huge and has pretty much everything in it. It’s actually kind of two recipes since they first offer a basic recipe and then offer variations, one of which, luckily for me, is blueberry. I’m a big fan of muffins because they’re easy to make and can then also provide a breakfast option for the rest of the week.
Gathering all my ingredients was pretty easy. I already had everything on hand and most of the ingredients are pantry staples. The only one that isn’t really is the blueberries, but why would you be making blueberry muffins without blueberries?
Making the muffins was easy enough to put together. It was pretty much just standard muffin making procedure. Mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients and then combine the two.
One thing that was interesting that was different from other times I made blueberry muffins was the recipe telling you to stir the blueberries into the dry ingredients before adding the wet. Previous times I’d just stirred the blueberries in last. I think the idea is that coating the blueberries in flour helps prevent them from sinking to the bottom. It seems to have worked since the blueberries were throughout the whole muffin and not just at the bottom.
I used a ¼ cup measuring cup to dish out the batter into the tins. It definitely made the muffins nice and even in size, but it was a little annoying getting all the batter out of the cup each time.
Cooking time was accurate. I always start things for the shortest amount of time listed and they were done by the end of that.
I opted for the paper liners in the muffin tins because cleaning muffin tins when they haven’t been used is annoying. Also the liners are more fun because you get to unwrap your food like a present.
Even though I used the measuring cup to get the batter into the muffin tin to follow the recipe, I wouldn’t bother in the future. It’s easier just to use a spoon. My muffins may end up slightly uneven, but I’m okay with that.
I only had regular sugar on hand, but if you have any coarse/decorating sugar around that would probably be better to use on top.
The recipe says you’ll get 16-18 muffins, but I’m not sure what size tins they were using because I got a nice even 12. I’m sure like many things muffin tin sizes have changed since the ‘60s.
So how’d they turn out? Pretty good! They had good texture; they weren’t too dry or too soggy. My main issue was that, while good, personally I think they could have used a bit more sugar. They also could have maybe either had more blueberries, or just better blueberry distribution. They didn’t all sink to the bottom, but some muffins did have some blueberry-less patches. Next time I make them I might try cutting the blueberries in half.
Overall I’d say this was an easy, straight forward recipe that yielded good results. While I might tweak the recipe next time a bit for my own tastes, I don’t think it warrants a We Can Do It Better revamp. So go ahead and make some muffins!