afternoon blueberry muffins

Something about the beautiful windswept afternoon called for a summer’s end treat: warm, toasty blueberry muffins. It’s certainly not fall yet here in Nara, but my internal clock has already made the shift and my palette reflects the turn of the seasons, albeit a mental one. I’ve been lucky enough to see blueberries in the local supermarket every visit since my arrival here in August, and even now, mid-September, they still decorate the produce shelves.

Late afternoons always feel a little nostalgic to me, filled with waning sunlight, a reluctance to let go of the unhurried morning, and restlessness to start dinner despite knowing it’s far too early to wisely start a meal. And with any small does of nostalgia are the makings of full-fledged homesickness, which I’ve been able to put off with surprising success until now. It would have been easy, I admit, to give into loneliness and lament my humble single existence here, but I knew I’d have no one to blame but myself for spiraling into an incurable bad mood. Thank goodness I had the clarity of mind to remember that baking solves every unhappy problem! So before even a sniffle of sadness escaped me, I had whipped out bowls, measuring cups, flour, sugar, salt, and set the fresh blueberries to rinse in a bowl of cold water.


It was such a relief to focus entirely on carefully spooning out baking powder, throw in a decisive pinch of salt, determinedly cream softened butter and sugar into a fluffy mass by hand. The batter came together beautifully, glowing in the last rays of sunlight pouring in from the west-facing window, and tasting of summer with the sour bite of lemon zest, tangy yogurt, and tart blueberries. With a generous dollop of dough into a six-cup silicone muffin sheet, in went the muffins for a full 25 minutes. And oh, the smell of sweet and sour berries bursting to cooked perfection! Call me peculiar, but I can think of no better fix to a lonely heart than a handsome baked treat. I ate one (okay, two) with the happiest sentiments just out of the oven, and the satisfaction of baking just for myself was unparalleled :)

Blueberry Muffins

adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Perfect Blueberry Muffins
3/4 Cup fresh blueberries (or frozen)
1 TB lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 TB oil
3 TB butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 Cup sugar
1 1/2 Cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375 Degrees Fahrenheit, or 190 Degrees Celsius. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a spatula, or a hand mixer, until light and fluffy. Add yogurt, oil, lemon juice, and zest. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour dry ingredients over wet ingredients, and gently fold into batter until just combined. The batter should be the consistency of a sticky cookie dough. Spoon by heaping Tablespoon into a greased muffin tin or silicone sheet, and bake for 25 minutes or until golden and tester comes out clean. Remove from oven, let sit in muffin tin for 1 minutes, and then let cool completely on wire rack. Serve warm. Makes 10-11 muffins

2 thoughts on “afternoon blueberry muffins

    • About 3/4 of a cup. I seem to have forgotten to put that in the recipe, whoops! Hope they turn out well for you :)

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