I was still relatively picky about food not too long ago, considering few foods appetizing. Collectively, items I would have willingly consumed as a child would likely not constitute a well-rounded diet, as I shunned most fruits and vegetables--oddly enough, I have always enjoyed spinach--their dehydrated forms automatically despised. I was the little girl who never wanted an oatmeal raisin cookie, relenting only if the treat contained chocolate chips, in which case I would pluck each shriveled fruit from its snug cookie pocket.
Over the last year, I've developed a liking for a variety of dried fruit. I may snack on a small handful of sweet-tart cranberries or mango strips and can even tolerate the occasional raisin. Dried blueberries are another story; I enjoy them fresh and frozen, but they retain an odd, non-berry-like flavor when sweetened and dried. Ironically, I have a substantial store of them on hand at the moment--the undesired residue of a dried fruit blend that included more palatable components. Being averse to avoidable waste, I contemplated tasty means of dwindling the blueberry surplus, wondering whether they could contribute to a decent baked good. A plethora of berry-inclusive recipes exist--many of them classics, such as quick bread--so deciding among them was mostly a matter of narrowing down options.
Scones sounded tempting, but I instead settled upon adapting this muffin recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, replacing the cranberries with blueberries. I also omitted the agave (the dried berries were already sweetened), reduced the sugar to a half cup, and used finely chopped candied orange peel instead of fresh zest. The resulting muffins were tender and of the perfect sweetness. In fact, they are like a typical muffin that uses fresh berries, but without the gooey purple mess. Studded with softened, chewy berries that lost their precooked, off-putting flavor and kissed with the brightness of citrus, the muffins were a delightful snack to enjoy with a hot cup of tea. Based on the success of this dried berry experiment, I may try scones when I next feel the need to reduce the blueberry supply.