Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tuscan Lemon Muffins

Welcome to my Saturday night.  Please try hard not to judge that I am home baking on a Saturday night.  My one defense is that it's been a long rainy South Carolina weekend.  And I just got my May Cooking Light issue yesterday.  And there were muffin recipes.  Does that make me more or less pathetic?

There's not much to report, all went according to recipe.  Mixed the dry ingredients and made a well in the middle.  Whisked together all the wet ones and poured into the well.  Stirred together until just everything gets wet.  Didn't over mix.  Poured into muffin tins with paper cups that have been coated with cooking spray, a step that seemed redundant to me and something I would probably skip if I made it again.  Topped with some Sugar in the Raw (I used 1/2 a tablespoon less than suggested) and popped in the oven. 17 minutes later, out they came. 

Cooking Light promises "tart, rich flavor coming from a favorite Italian combo-olive oil and fresh lemon".  The first warm one I ate out of the oven was good.  Tasty.  Just not as lemony as I expected.  I wanted fresh and zingy and tart and lemon spilling out of the crumbs.  And that just didn't happen, all those flavors were muted.  The aftertaste was pretty good and hinted at lemon, but it just wasn't the lemon muffin I was expecting.  Maybe the lemon I used wasn't fresh enough or lemony enough.  Are lemons even in season right now?  The price at the grocery store seemed to suggest not.  Maybe the freeze down in Florida months ago is to blame.... 

They were easy to make and they still taste good.  They just missed the beat when it came to the lemon I wanted so badly.  I'm hoping it can be chalked up to a not so good lemon; they weren't the prettiest I've ever seen.  I think the recipe deserves at least another chance, although it's only borderline big green cookbook worthy, if the second go round doesn't pick up a hit of lemon.  If you do try them and believe the lemon you used to be a beautiful and worthy specimen, let me know how they taste.  Hopefully you get that fragrant lemony oopmh I was hoping for! 

Tuscan Lemon Muffins
adapted from Cooking Light, May 2010

7.9 ounces all-purpose flour (1 3/4 cups)
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. olive oil
1 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking Spray
2 Tbsp. turbinado sugar (I used less)

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line 12 muffin cups with muffin-cup liners and coat with cooking spray. 

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt); make a well in the center.  Combine ricotta cheese and next 5 ingredients (through egg).  Add ricotta mixture to well in flour mixture.  Mix until just moist.

Divide batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups.  Sprinkle turbinado sugar over top.  Bake at 375F for 16 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

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