If you know any cooks or bakers (or you yourself fall into one of those categories), then you know that often, people describe themselves as either a cook or a baker. Now I’ve known plenty of people who excel at both, but even then, if you ask, they tend to identify more closely with one or the other. As for me, well just look at my blog stats: over 140 recipes, only a few of which are dessert. Baking is, well, just not my thing!
Could I write a mini novel about the reasons for this? You betcha! There would be a chapter about culinary school and my station buddy in pastry class who could form a perfect pie crust in 60 seconds while I fumbled with a crumbled mass of flour and shortening. And another chapter on my inability to tell baking soda and baking powder apart. The fact that I have about two feet of counter space in my kitchen, barely enough room to cool a dozen cookies.
You get the idea.
Yet once in a blue moon, there arises a “perfect storm ” of sorts. I get a little craving for a muffin or a quick bread. I happen to have all the ingredients on hand. I happen to have a spare hour on my hands. And voila, next thing you know I’m pulling warm, melt in your mouth muffins out of the oven on a grey Saturday in February.
A quick note about the skill level needed to make these muffins which, on a scale of 1-10, is about a “2.” There is no creaming, rising, alternating, blah blah blah. Just mix the dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix the “wet” ingredients in another. Combine them (barely). Done. Ok, even I can manage that.
I did change up the original recipe from Cooking Light a bit because I happened to have a bag of Meyer lemons on hand, and I do prefer them for baking (they’re a bit sweeter/more subtle than regular lemons)
I also happened upon a ginormous box of blueberries at Trader Joes, so before my son could devour the entire package, I saved one cup to use in the muffins. Blueberries + lemon = match made in heaven.
The result were incredibly soft, delicate little bits of sunshine. Not overly sweet or heavy. Just perfectly moist and with a beautiful little sugary crunch on top courtesy of the raw sugar. They’re made to go with a cup of tea in the afternoon, with your morning latte or even after dinner with a splash of Limoncello.
Just for the record, I’m still a cook, not a baker. Although for this one afternoon, I admit crossing over to the other side was rather enjoyable.
Meyer Lemon Blueberry Muffins*
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated 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 tablespoon grated Meyer lemon rind <or conventional lemon>
- 2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice <or conventional lemon>
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup fresh blueberries, divided
- Cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons turbinado <aka “sugar in the raw”> sugar
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; make a well in center. Combine ricotta and next 5 ingredients (through egg). Add ricotta mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
- Gently fold in 3/4 cup of the blueberries.
- Place 12 muffin-cup liners in muffin cups; coat with cooking spray. Divide batter among muffin cups. Top each muffin with a few of the remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over batter. Bake at 375° for 16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack.
Yields: 12 muffins
* Recipe adapted from Cooking Light Magazine