foodie fridays: blackberry lemon muffins

{clock reads 1:45am}
“Last call!” shouts the bartender. 
We’ve all heard those famous words a time or two. Sometimes they’re music to our ears, and sometimes they’re like nails on a chalkboard. 
As the Day of Labor approaches, I feel as though those famous words are ringing across the country, from every swimming pool, farmers market, and hiking trail. “Last call for underwater tea parties,” shouts the lifeguard. “Last call for fresh peaches,” shouts the local farmer. “Last call for pictures of wildflowers,” shouts the forest ranger.

To be honest, I’m not ready for last call. I was just getting used to all things summer. Trips to the mountains with highways not packed full of snow. Sunday fundays in the park followed by backyard barbecues. Outdoor concerts, rooftop happy hours, and leisurely walks at sunset. Do I really have to give up all of these things?
Well, if I do, then I’m choosing to say a sweet goodbye to summer. Enter blackberry-lemon muffins. As I was strolling through the farmers market last weekend, I kept thinking all of these fresh berries won’t be around for very much longer. I’ve been eating fresh blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries all summer, but for some reason, I never brought home any blackberries. 

Did you know that of the berry family, blackberries contain the highest level of antioxidants? Seriously – like by 40%. Blackberries were also used as a hair dye back in the olden days, and the Greeks used it to prevent many ailments such as gout and throat cancer. Given all these facts, we probably should be carrying around blackberries like packs of gum. Just pop one in your mouth to keep those nasty free radicals away. 
Back to the muffins.
So, I left the farmers market with 2 pints of blackberries and a readiness to whip up something sweet. I knew I wanted to make muffins, but I needed to kick things up a notch. Of course! Why not add a delicious crumble on top? Duh. Plus, a touch of lemon would keep summer lingering on the taste buds. And!… The best thing about this recipe is that you can swap the blackberries for any other berry. Blueberry would be an excellent substitute, for example.
If you’re not quite ready to make the jump to fall, why not try to prolong summer a few days by whipping up a batch of these tasty, zesty muffins? If anything, you can freeze them and enjoy the memory of summer a few months from now. Hey, who says you can’t enjoy a fruity-citrusy treat while wearing your Fergie Boots? I rest my case. 

Blackberry Lemon Muffins 
(Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit)
Yields 16
Ingredients
for the crumble:
1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
1 large egg yolk
for the muffins:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries, halved
Directions: 
for the crumble: 
In a medium bowl, whisk the first 5 ingredients together. Add butter. Using the best tools you have (your fingertips), rub butter into dry ingredients until pea-size lumps begin form. Add the egg yolk and stir until everything has combined.  Place crumble in a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour.
for the muffins: 
Preheat oven to 325°. Line muffin tins with 16 liners. Probably need two tins. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Add eggs, one at time. Whisk in vanilla. Continuing whisking for a couple more minutes until everything is combined. Slowly add buttermilk and lemon zest. Continue whisking and then add dry ingredients a 1/3 a time. 
In small bowl, toss blackberries with two tablespoons of flour and gently fold into batter. Take a medium size ice cream scooper and fill each muffin cup with about 2/3 of batter. Top each muffin with about two tablespoons of crumble.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until slightly golden on top. Let the muffins cool in pan a for at least 20 minutes. You can serve them warm or at room temperature. Delish!