During a recent vacation (sans muffin pan) I discovered that you cook them in a skillet, using the muffin batter the same as you would pancake batter. And the results are outstanding.
Why not just make blueberry pancakes? To answer that, we need to look at the differences between pancake and muffin batters. Though recipes will vary, most pancake and muffin recipes call for equal amounts of flour and eggs. But while pancakes call for more liquid, muffins get more (often way more) sugar, fat and baking powder.
That's why muffins are dense and cake-like, while pancakes are light and fluffy.
So while muffin batter cooked in a skillet may resemble a pancake, the taste is all muffin. I even top the muffins with a blend of cinnamon-sugar (just as you would a muffin); this caramelizes beautifully when you flip them. And while muffins can take half an hour to bake, these pancake-style muffins cook up in just minutes.
Also, this recipe works just as well with white whole-wheat flour as with all-purpose flour, so substitute equally if you want a whole-grain option.
SKILLET BLUEBERRY MUFFIN PANCAKES
Start to finish: 20 minutes
For the muffins:
2 cups all-purpose
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries
For the topping:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and lemon zest. In a separate bowl or 2-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk, egg, oil and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, then stir just until a batter forms. Gently stir in the blueberries. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon.
Heat a large skillet over medium. Coat the skillet with cooking spray, reduce heat to low, then ladle batter into the skillet, using about 1/4 to 1/3 cup per muffin. Do not crowd the pan, as the muffins will spread. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with a bit of the topping. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until risen and browned on the bottom. Use a spatula to flip and cook for another 2 to 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him to great eats on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch or email him at jhirsch(at)ap.org.