Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Raspberry-Topped Lemon Muffins
Summertime, to me, is fresh fruit heaven. Are you with me on this one? Peaches, cherries, and oh, the berries. (Please note: I am purposely not mentioning the crown jewel of summer produce – tomatoes – until they come into season here. Once that happens, look out. I’ve been stockpiling tomato recipes all year long, just waiting for farm-fresh tomatoes that taste like the sun rather than those mealy wintertime imposters.) But I digress. Back to the berries. So juicy and sweet it’s merely an added bonus that they are incredibly good for you.
Now you already know I’ve been indulging in blueberries for awhile, but really, I am an equal-opportunity berry eater. You’ll understand, then, why I got so excited when I went grocery shopping this week and raspberries were on sale. Large containers of plump, ripe, jumbo-sized raspberries. I might have swooned. Hopefully not. These raspberries were just begging to be eaten straight from the container.
And while I did eat many just like that (after washing, of course), I could not resist sacrificing some of the berries for a baking project. After tasting the muffins, I can hardly call it a sacrifice anymore. Imagine, if you will, tender, just-sweet-enough, cake-like lemon muffins. Take those muffins and add fresh raspberries baked right into the muffin tops. If your imagination is working well you should end up with muffins that are juicy, sweet, and just a little tangy. They are summertime condensed in muffin form.
They are also utterly delicious – and forgiving. I accidentally forgot to set my timer while baking these muffins. While they were in the oven, I went to take a shower, figuring I’d hear the timer when the muffins were ready. Oops. Fortunately I only over-baked them by a minute or two, and they were still quite moist. The tops were just a tad darker than I would have liked (as you can see in the pictures). The fact that the muffins survived my mental slip made me like them even more. Try them out, and I promise you’ll like them too.
Raspberry-Topped Lemon Muffins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Zest from 2 large lemons
1 cup, plus 2 T., sugar, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 to 36 fresh raspberries (1 or 2 half-pint containers)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a small bowl, add the lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Stir/mash them together using a spoon until the sugar looks moist and they are well combined. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and remaining sugar using an electric hand mixer or a wooden spoon.
When the butter and sugar mixture is light and fluffy, beat in the egg. Then stir in the buttermilk, vanilla, and the lemon-sugar mixture. Stir until thoroughly combined. (Do not be alarmed by the somewhat curdled looking appearance of the batter. That is how it is supposed to look.)
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix them together until just combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
Top each muffin with a few raspberries. (My raspberries were huge so I tried putting 1 berry on some muffins and 3 berries on others. After tasting both, I would advise you to use more berries than less. They are really what make the muffins special.)
Bake the muffins for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins to a cooling rack and cool until room temperature.
Makes 12 muffins.
For Mini Muffins:
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes and use only one raspberry per muffin.
Makes about 56 mini muffins.