Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easy Morning

It feels like I haven't blogged in forever! I know it hasn't been that long, but it seems like it, and I am afraid you are going to have to put up with me being a bit wordy. I have so many things I want to write recipes, old recipes, recipes I had forgotten about and recipes I really, really want to share. We have moved, and while we were getting settled into our new place we were without the Internet. So, instead of checking every body's facebook status or watching Netflix, I have been reading cookbooks and writing out recipes. I have a lot of recipes. Since we last talked I made a delicious chocolate cake, perfected my fried rice, made egg rolls, made lasagna for the first time, found all my long-lost recipes and saved them forever in cyberspace, tweaked a potato recipe, re-discovered a chicken recipe, convinced my 5-year old that he likes asparagus (FINALLY), made some amazing muffins...maybe I should stop there. I really wanted to write about this potato recipe, but I think the muffins should come first.
I really like muffins, along with just about any other food item, but I have discovered that a lot of muffin recipes are strange. The muffins are dry, horrible little things that should be given to the children to play with, not eaten with coffee to start a lovely spring day. Or, the recipe turns out ok, but calls for something I can't swap out without compromising the consistency, such as a juice or sour cream. And, I know it probably sounds funny but I usually don't have sour cream. It's not that I don't buy it, its just that it goes really fast. But, if I buy a lot we don't use know how that is.
Anyway, this is another of those common items that I just can't seem to find a stand-by, basic recipe for. Until now. This is another one from the Art and Soul of Baking, a book I highly recommend. I use it weekly, if not more. Sometimes I look through this book and feel like I need to exercise.
There is a great muffin recipe in here, and you can make all sorts of substitutions. The muffins I made the other day were the suggested Lemon Raspberry. A lovely combination, and really just the tip of the iceberg. Lemon Blueberry, Poppy seed, Orange Cranberry, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Peanut could make anything! The recipe uses butter, and you zest the lemon and infuse the melted butter with the zest. This allows the flavor to permeate all the batter, and you could get creative with the raspberry. I happened to have some frozen raspberries in my freezer, but I would think you could drop a bit of raspberry or blackberry jam into each muffin cup and swirl it with the batter, or just leave it as a jellied center. Dried cranberries, fresh cranberries, blueberries or any other fruit you like (think: dried apricot, dark chocolate and coconut...hmm...) I don't see why you couldn't mash up a banana or two and add that to the batter with a hand full of chopped walnuts. This is that recipe. Its the only muffin recipe I will ever use. I will make all my modifications on this one. I really love it. There is even a little bit about a streusel topping you can add (can?) so this is definitely a keeper.

Lemon Raspberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

For the muffins:
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
3/4 stick butter
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 half-pint basket raspberries, or 1 1/4 cups frozen (do not thaw)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 and position an oven rack in the center. Line a muffin tin and lightly spray the top with cooking spray. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to blend thoroughly. Melt the butter in a medium glass dish in the microwave and add the lemon zest. Add the buttermilk and let the mixture sit for 1 or 2 minutes, or until the mixture is tepid. Add the eggs and vanilla, and whisk until well blended.
Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir gently. Mix only until there are no more streaks of flour or pools of liquid and the batter looks fairly smooth. Gently fold in the raspberries.
Divide the batter evenly between prepared muffin cups.

For the streusel:
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter

Combine in a bowl and sprinkle over muffin batter.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until inserted cake tester comes out clean. Transfer muffin tin to a rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes before lifting the muffins out. Transfer to a rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or hot.


  1. I am looking forward to hearing about the fried rice and egg rolls! Muffins sound delish! I will have to make them soon.

  2. Can you freeze these?? Sounds delicious!

    1. You can freeze these, of course their texture will be a little denser, but they are still delicious!


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