Today is the Feast of The Immaculate Conception. It is the day that Mary was conceived in her mother’s womb. In Catholic teaching, Mary was the first person born without the stain of original sin. God chose her knowing that she would one day be the Mother of God.
When looking for some inspiration for a fitting breakfast to get this Holy Day of Obligation off to a good start, I wasn’t thrilled with the suggestions. Everything was white, as in Immaculate. White Egg Omelettes and White Grape Juice. So I decided to go in another direction – the color blue.
Colors are symbolic. This is true within the Catholic faith, just as it is true in other faiths and cultural customs. For Catholics, the color blue represents Divinity and Grace. That is not to say Mary was divine, because she wasn’t. However; we believe she brought forth a Divine Son, Jesus Christ. And there is no denying that Mary was full of grace. Those full of grace are full of God. Those full of God are more like God. They bring forth the goodness, the love, the compassion, the mercy and kindness. These are all wonderful qualities to strive for.
I chose Blueberry Muffins for the color blue, and Lemons because they are fresh and clean. Today is a triple Holy Day. It is Sunday, the Lord’s Day. It is the Second Sunday of Advent, a time of Peace, and it is the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception, a day of Holy Obligation within the Catholic Church.
But guess what? You don’t need to be Catholic or believe in any of this to appreciate and enjoy a delicious muffin!
Lemon Zest Streusel Blueberry Muffins
1/4 cup Butter, softened
3/4 cup Sugar
1 large Egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
1/2 cup Milk
2 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
1-1/2 cups Blueberries
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or paper-line muffin cups. Set aside.
In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and extracts; beat well. Beat in milk. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom; add to creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in the blueberries using a soft rubber spatula.
Fill prepared muffin cups three-fourths full. Set aside to make the streusel topping.
Lemon Zest Streusel
2 teaspoons grated Lemon Zest
1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 cup cold Butter, cubed
Zest 2 teaspoons of lemon and place into a small bowl. Add brown sugar, flour and cinnamon; whisk to combine. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.
Bake in the heated over for about 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.