The Real Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffin Recipe
If you read my last post you know that for me, memories, places and food have always gone hand in hand. Many years ago, I visited a friend’s home on Wellfleet, Cape Cod for the weekend. After making the long trip from Boston (complete with bumper-to-bumper traffic), we awoke to a brilliant, blue-sky Saturday. This house had a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean. Breakfast, served on the deck, was comprised of some good strong coffee, freshly scrambled eggs, sausage and the most delicious blueberry muffins. My hostess shared that the recipe was supposedly based upon the legendary Jordan Marsh blueberry muffin recipe. The “secret” was the addition of mashed up blueberries to the batter.
Maybe it was the sea air, the in-season, local blueberries or maybe it really was the recipe. Fast forward many years, and I have recently found myself on a hunt to know all about these amazing muffins named after the now closed, but once famed Jordan Marsh department store.
What is Jordan Marsh?
Jordan Marsh was a department store, founded in 1841, with a flagship in Boston’s downtown crossing. The store is deeply engrained in my memory. My aunt Mae always bought my Christmas present from “Jordans” when I was a kid. Usually, the gift was a very high-quality wool skirt and matching Shetland sweater (both in a size or two too big with the idea I could grow into it:).
Occasionally my sisters, mom and I would venture into Boston to shop Filenes Basement as well as Jordans. Jordans sadly closed in the early nineties. But the lore of one of the first American department stores and those muffins lives on today.
The legendary Jordan Marsh blueberry muffin recipe was once a coveted and secret recipe. Now there are variations all around the web and dozens of other muffin recipes of course. In fact, I recently made some fresh blueberry muffins for friends joining us for the weekend.
My muffin was well received. My friend bit into the home- made muffin and affirmed that a real blueberry muffin tastes sooo good. Homemade is nothing like the overly sweet, often greasy, tinny, minimal on the blueberries sort of muffin you tend to find at the supermarket.
While my muffin was very good, it was not “twenty years later I still remember it while looking out at the Atlantic Ocean good.” I recalled how so many years ago my friend had said that the mashed blueberries made all of the difference. But there had to be more, so I decided to do some research.
Secrets from the original Jordan Marsh baker
First, the baker, John Pupek, who originally created the recipe was interviewed on TV! John explains, that yes, you want to mash up some of the blueberries. You also use a blend of flours – one is pastry flour (I found the Bob’s brand on Amazon). The interview also indicates that John likely used shortening instead of butter (or maybe a blend). I could not personally bring myself to use shortening knowing all of the adverse health effects. A good sprinkle of sugar on top gives it a crunchy dome as well.
So here is what I think is pretty close to the real Jordan Marsh blueberry muffin recipe. Grab a cup of your favorite tea or coffee, spread with some good butter and enjoy!
The Real Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffin Recipe
- 1 Stand or electric mixer This recipe is very easy with a stand mixer outfitted with the paddle attachment. You can use an electric hand mixer if you don't have a stand version
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar plus extra for topping
- 2 extra large eggs John Pupek refers to fortified eggs. These could be Eggland’s Best. I used farm fresh eggs instead and the muffins came out perfectly
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1¼ cup bread flour spoon and leveled (substitute with all-purpose flour if not available)
- ¾ cup pastry flour spooned and leveled (substitute with cake flour if not available)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup whole milk
- 2 ½ cups fresh blueberries divided
- 2 Tablespoons flour used to coat 2 cups of blueberries (can be any flour)
- Preheat oven to 400°F, position oven rack in the center. Spray a muffin tin with non stick spray including the top of the pan. Line with muffin paper liners (due to blueberries, these muffins can stick to the pan)
- In a stand-alone mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter (if you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use an electric hand mixer). With the mixer on low, gradually add 1 cup granulated sugar. Scrape the sides down then beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
- Gradually add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until blended. Add the vanilla extract. Beat for a few minutes on medium until light and fluffy.
- Spoon and level 1¼ cups of bread flour (substitute all-purpose flour) and ¾ cup cake flour (substitute pastry flour), 2 teaspoons baking power and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Sift together over a mixing bowl and whisk to combine all the ingredients.
- Add the dry and wet ingredients to the creamed mixture alternating between flour and milk, starting and ending with flour and scraping down the sides as you go. Beat on low just to combined. Don’t over mix (or you will have tough chewy muffins)
- Remove the mixing bowl from the stand-alone mixer and scrape off any batter from the paddle attachment.
- In a small bowl, mash ½ cup of blueberries. Fold into the batter with a spatula. In a separate bowl, coat and toss whole blueberries with 2 Tablespoons of flour and fold into the batter.
- Generously fill each muffin cup to the top. Sprinkle a teaspoon or so of granulated sugar over each muffin.
- Note: I used 1 teaspoon of sugar as a measuring unit, but in the original recipe, enough sugar was spread over the top to completely cover.
- Bake at 400°F for 5 minutes. Lower temperature to 375 and bake for another 20. Muffins may need another five minutes for a total of 30 minutes. Tops should be lightly golden.
- Insert a toothpick to test for doneness. If it comes out clean, remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 30 minutes.
- Remove and finish cooling on wire rack.
- For me the best way to eat these is right out of the oven with some good quality butter. Enjoy!