High Altitude Blueberry-Sour Cream Muffins

blueberry sour cream muffin - 1Well, I’ve been gone a long time. This is what happens when you a) build a new house, b) get your old house ready to sell, c) move, and d) just deal with the rest of life. I finally baked my first loaf of bread this entire year just last week. Cooking has fallen by the wayside.

But, I’m back! If you live at sea level, this recipe isn’t helpful. I adapted a high altitude recipe (3500-6500 ft, so Boulder/Denver is included) for my new even higher elevation of 8600 ft. Adapting recipes is kind of a crapshoot. There are a few things you can try and then you hope for the best. In this case, my small modifications produced perfect muffins first time out. Yay!

The original recipe came from High Altitude Baking by Patricia Kendall, from Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. These folks know more about baking at altitude then, well, me. And that’s saying something. šŸ˜‰ Highly recommend the book.

Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins
makes 12 muffins
(original for 3500-6500 ft, my modification for 8600 ft, many ski town elevations, in [])

2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar [3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons]
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour [2 cups – 1 Tablespoon]
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder [1/2 teaspoon]
1 cup sour cream
1 cup fresh blueberries or raspberries

Preheat oven to 400Ā°F [425Ā°F]. Grease and flour a standard 12 cup muffin pan.

In a large bowl, beat eggs on low until whites and yolks are combined. With mixer running, slowly add sugar, oil, and vanilla. Scrape down sides of bowl.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

Add 1/3 of flour mixture to large bowl, mixing to combine and scraping down bowl. Add 1/3 of sour cream, mix and scrap. Repeat 2 more times. Mix on medium speed for a moment at the end to make sure there are no lumps of sour cream. Fold in blueberries. Portion into muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Original recipe says you can use frozen unthawed berries but you’ll need to bake the muffins 5-8 minutes longer. I used fresh berries so can’t tell you how to modify this with certainty. Probably need to add a little more time and turn down the oven at the end to keep the tops from over-browning.


Sausage and Potato Breakfast Casserole

This is a great dish for a brunch. It’s like hash browns with sausage gravy.

Sausage and Potato Breakfast Casserole
(serves 6)

8 oz. chopped broccoli
1 lb. Bulk Breakfast Sausage
2 TablespoonĀ All Purpose Flour
Ā¾Ā teaspoonĀ garlic powder
1 Tablespoon dried onion
1 Ā½Ā cups WholeĀ Milk
1 1- lb. Package Frozen Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes
1 Ā½Ā cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350Ā°F. GreaseĀ 9″ x 9″ x 2″ glass baking dish.

If using fresh broccoli, steam or boil for 4 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain well. If using frozen broccoli, thaw completely.

Cook sausage in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until brown, breaking into small pieces with back of spoon. Mix in flour, garlic power, and dried onion. Stir inĀ milk. Cook until mixture thickens and comes to boil, stirring to scrape up browned bits on the pan. Remove from heat.

Arrange potatoes in prepared dish. Top with broccoli. Sprinkle lightly withĀ salt and Ā pepper. Cover with 1 cup cheese, Ā then theĀ sausage mixture.Ā 

Bake casserole for 50Ā minutes. Top with remainingĀ Ā½ cup cheese. Return to the oven to melt cheese and finish cooking, about 10 minutes.

Roasted Corn and Peach Pancakes

Peach and corn season is drawing to a close here in Colorado. I will miss them. Here’s a great brunch recipe for summer, during peach and corn season, so if you want to make it, get going. You can make it year round, with frozen peaches and kernel corn that you’ve roasted in a heavy skillet. But, it’s not quite the same. There are small chunks of peach and roasted corn in the pancakes, and it’s excellent served with more peach slices sweetened with a bit of maple syrup. The batter contains cornmeal, further boosting the corny flavor.

Peach and Roasted Corn Pancakes
(serves 4-6)

1 Ā½ cups all purpose flour
Ā½ cup yellow cornmeal
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder (1 Ā¼ teaspoons if at mile-high altitude)
Ā½ teaspoon baking soda
Ā¼ teaspoon salt
1 Ā½ cups buttermilk
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg, separated
2 egg whites
1 peach, peeled and cut into small dice
1 ear of corn, roasted and kernels cut from the cob (about 1 cup kernels)

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour through salt). In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, oil and egg yolk. Whisk to blend. Add liquid to dry ingredients, stirring just to combine and eliminate lumps. In a clean bowl, beat the 3 egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Fold into the batter. Fold in peach pieces and corn kernels.

Spray a skillet or griddle with non-stick cooking spray or brush with melted butter. Heat over medium heat until hot. Drop about 3-4 Tablespoons of batter onto griddle. Cook until bottom is golden-brown and bubbles form and pop on the top side. Flip and cook other side until golden-brown. Respray or brush griddle with more butter between batches. Serve with peach slices and maple syrup.

Adapted from Great Grains by Linda Drachman and Peter Wynne, Simon & Schuster, 1990.