Monday, November 7, 2011

Tuscan Lemon Muffins

Lemon cakes and muffins have been a longtime favorite in my family. When my sister and I were little, we used to bake my dad his favorite lemon cake whenever my mom would let us make a mess in the kitchen. One day I will post that recipe on here as well, but I keep forgetting to take pictures of it. When I came across this muffin recipe in Cooking Light's Best Baking Recipes I wanted to give it a try. I'd never baked with ricotta cheese before, nor had I tried any sweet baked goods that asked for olive oil.

As I was reading this recipe in the magazine, it explained that olive oil and lemon are typical flavors used in Tuscan baking. Once again, the Italians are on to something. These muffins turned out really moist and slightly more dense than your typical muffin (but not in a bad way). The tasted amazing 3 days after I had baked them, but we ate them all by then, so I'm not sure how much longer you could keep them. The lemons you use for the zest and juice will affect the flavor of you muffin. If you can get your hands on some home grown lemons, these muffins (like all other lemon flavored sweets) will taste even better.

Recipe from Cooking Light's Best Baking Recipes
Makes 12 muffins

7.9 ounces/ 225 grams (about 1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 egg, lightly beaten
cooking spray
2 tablespoons raw sugar (optional)

Preheat your over to 375ºF. Line a muffin pan with muffin-cup liners and lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. In a smaller bowl, mix together the ricotta, water, oil, lemon zest and juice, and egg. Pour into the well of the flour mixture and stir until the batter just becomes moist.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Sprinkle evenly with the raw sugar, if using. Bake for about 16 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (note: this took about 22 minutes in my oven). Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container.

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