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Those Baking Blues--Blueberries

They're wonderful for breakfast treats.

July 18, 2001|ABBY MANDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

I like to bake with blueberries. They're wonderful in these breakfast favorites--pancakes, lemon muffins and a cake that's best served warm.

If you buy a bunch of blueberries but don't get to baking right away, that's OK. As long as they're firm, blueberries freeze extremely well. Just pop the cartons into the freezer wrapped in airtight plastic bags. You can use the berries while still frozen in all of these recipes. Just add a few more minutes to the baking and cooking times.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Active Work Time: 20 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour 10 minutes plus 30 minutes cooling

This cake goes way beyond breakfast and brunch. It also makes a great dessert; serve it warm with ice cream.

TOPPING

6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Dash salt

Place the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a food processor; process until crumbly. Set the topping aside in the refrigerator.

CAKE

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

2/3 cup sour cream (light or regular)

1 1/2 cups flour, divided

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups blueberries

Place a rack in the center of the oven; heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch springform pan and set it aside.

Use a mixer to cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the cinnamon, vanilla and eggs. Mix until smooth. Add the sour cream. Mix well. Add the flour, reserving 2 tablespoons, then add the baking soda and salt. Mix the batter until smooth. Toss the blueberries with the remaining flour and stir them into the batter. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading evenly.

Bake the cake 25 minutes. Carefully bring the cake pan to the edge of the rack. Scatter the topping evenly over the cake. Continue to bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes more.

Cool the cake on a wire rack at least 30 minutes before serving. (This can be made a day ahead and kept at room temperature, covered. To serve warm, reheat in a 300-degree oven until warm, about 12 minutes.) Use a sharp, flexible knife to separate the cake from the sides of the pan. Remove the ring. Serve in wedges.

8 to 12 servings. Each of 12 servings: 318 calories; 194 mg sodium; 76 mg cholesterol; 17 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 39 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 1.15 grams fiber.

Lemon Blueberry Muffin-Cakes

Active Work Time: 15 minutes

Total Preparation Time: 1 hour 15 minutes plus 30 minutes cooling

These muffin-cakes are sweet and light, a cross between a muffin and a cupcake. With sweet blueberries, the sugar can be decreased by 2 tablespoons.

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup oil

1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken well

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1 cup flour, divided

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar

Place a rack in the center of the oven; heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 8 muffin cups with paper liners or grease the cups.

Whisk together the zest, sugar, oil, buttermilk and lemon extract in a mixing bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon of flour; add the rest to the bowl along with the baking soda and salt. Mix well. Toss the blueberries with the tablespoon of flour, then stir them into the batter. Fill the cups 3/4 full with batter.

Bake the muffins until well-browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Gently brush the lemon juice mixture over each. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

8 muffins. Each muffin: 205 calories; 165 mg sodium; 1 mg cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 34 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0.95 gram fiber.

Blueberry Pancakes

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk, shaken well

3 tablespoons sugar

1 cup cake flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sour cream (light or regular)

3/4 cup blueberries

Butter, for cooking

Warm maple syrup, for serving

Melt the butter in the microwave in a 4-quart bowl. Add the egg, buttermilk and sugar and whisk until well mixed. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk well. Stir in the sour cream. (This can be mixed a day ahead and refrigerated. Stir well before using.)

Lightly butter a nonstick griddle set over medium-high heat. When hot, spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter for each pancake onto the griddle. Scatter 4 to 5 blueberries on each. When the batter is set and the undersides are brown, about 2 minutes, flip, then brown the other sides. The pancakes can be kept warm in a 200-degree oven while the remaining pancakes are cooking.

Serve hot with warm maple syrup.

2 to 3 servings. Each of 3 servings: 373 calories; 667 mg sodium; 94 mg cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 58 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams protein; 1.76 grams fiber.

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