Friday, May 21, 2010

Raspberry-Drop Lemon Muffins

Hi friends,
Well, this is my very first blog post...and I want to talk about muffins.

When my friend Lauren Carmen San Diego, adventurer and world-traveler, lover of all things raspberry and lemon, said that she was coming to visit me and David in San Diego for one night only, I knew exactly what I wanted to make for her: tiny lemon muffins with a single raspberry plopped into the middle. Not that she wanted or asked for muffins - it's just that when I saw the recipe, I immediately thought of Lauren and how much I wanted to shove five or six of them into her mouth. (Side note: In the past five months, I've accumulated five or six more recipes involving lemons and raspberries in my mental Rolodex for the next time she visits.)

What I love about these muffins is that it's so easy to change up the flavors. The lemon zest can be replaced with the zest of just about any other citrus, and the raspberries can be replaced with any other berry (though if you want to use strawberries, you should probably quarter them). The muffins are pretty darn tasty as-written, but I'm still looking forward to playing around with the seemingly infinite number of possible flavor variations. Blood orange and blackberries. Lime and strawberries. Meyer lemon and blueberries (though I'm not really a fan of blueberries, so you're going to have to try that one out for me). I might even go crazy and try some grapefruit zest.

I'm not sure how long the muffins last, as ours were gone by the next night, but I think they could probably keep for a few days in the fridge.

Raspberry-Drop Lemon Muffins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 14 large or 56 mini muffins

1 1/8 cup sugar, divided
4 teaspoons lemon zest (I used 2 large lemons)
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (at room temperature)*
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk**
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
56 fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or line muffin tins.

Mash 1/8 cup sugar and the lemon zest until it forms a sort of lemon-sugar paste.

Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl until combined. In a large bowl, beat butter and remaining 1 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in egg, then buttermilk, then vanilla and lemon-sugar paste. Beat in flour mixture until combined and no traces of flour remain.

Divide batter among muffin cups. Top each large muffin with four raspberries or each mini muffin with one raspberry. Bake large muffins for about 35 minutes or mini muffins for 17-20 minutes.

* If you only have salted butter, omit 1/4 teaspoon salt.

** If you don't have buttermilk, it's simple to make your own. Put 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a measuring cup, and fill up to the one cup line with whole milk. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and you have buttermilk!

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