Even though I grew up eating mulberries every summer, I still learned something from making these muffins–namely, a newfound appreciation for fruit harvesting and the people who do it. The bulk of my experiences with mulberries have simply involved picking the berries off the tree and stuffing them directly into my mouth. With this recipe, my goal was a little more ambitious–to pick enough to actually make something. Between straining to reach more than a few low-lying branches, sorting between the perfectly ripe and not-quite-ripe mulberries (which are nearly as purple but don’t easily detach from the tree…not without squishing the berries, anyway), and dodging falling berries, it took me more than 20 minutes to pick just under two cups of berries. Tough work…but well worth it. The creaming, brown sugar, sour cream, and final touch of butter make these super moist, and the dusting of chunky sugar adds a pleasant crunch.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
zest of one orange
1 1/2 cups low-fat sour cream
1 1/2-2 cups fresh mulberries, stemmed
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
rock or turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy. Add orange zest and eggs, one at a time, incorporating thoroughly after each addition. Alternate flour mixture and sour cream in thirds, mixing until almost incorporated. Toss mulberries in 1 tablespoon flour, shaking off any excess. Carefully fold berries into batter.
Line a muffin tin with baking cups. Scoop batter into cups (fill completely); an ice cream scoop makes quick work of this. Top each scoop of batter with a sliver of butter (about 1/4 teaspoon) and sprinkle the tops generously with rock or turbinado sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until muffins are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
If storing in an airtight container, muffins will stay moist for a few days.