Saturday, April 23, 2011
Whole Lemon Muffins with Dried Cherries
Sometimes I think my taste buds have split personality. For example when I made these muffins last October (lured in by a recipe involving pulverizing an entire lemon - skin, pith and all. Woo hoo!) I remember being completely let down by them when they came out of the oven. I'm not much of a baker so after spending the morning dusting my kitchen with flour, I just wanted to throw the whole batch away. BUT because I'm also a serious food hoarder (seeking therapy), I decided to freeze them just in case the aliens should attack or something and we were in a real bind for breakfast.
Cut to six months later. This morning to be exact. We were working (the advertising industry doesn't believe in Easter - or in holidays in general) and I was too busy to make anything. I checked the freezer and found these muffins. Of course I didn't have much hope since I didn't like them the first go around and they'd been in the freezer longer than any sperm on record in a sperm bank. But I thew them on a pan and put them in a 325 oven anyway.
And thank God. They were delicious. In fact I wished I could rewind time and taste them again that first fateful day when I considered throwing them out. What was wrong with me? Was it the weather? The hormones? We'll never know. All I know now is that I love them. Now and forever. Amen.
By the way - Happy Easter to those lucky enough to enjoy it with your families - and to those having to celebrate without them!!!
Whole Lemon Muffins, adapted slightly from Rebecca Rather
1 medium lemon (preferably unwaxed, organic)
1 cup unsalted butter/2 sticks (at room temperature)
1 1/4 cups sugar plus 2 tablespoons (Rebecca uses 1 1/2 cups)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Generous grating of fresh nutmeg, or 1/4 teaspoon from a spice jar (Rebecca doesn't add this)
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups plain whole or reduced fat plain yogurt
1 cup dried tart cherries (Rebecca uses walnuts)
GLAZE, optional (Rebecca uses but I don't)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 freshly squeezed lemons, juice of
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F Grease 12 texas size muffin cups with butter or cooking spray or line with paper muffin wrappers.
2 Wash and dry the lemon. Cut into quarters and remove the seeds. Process the quartered lemon (all of it!) in a food processor fitted with a metal blade for 1 minute or more, until it is completely ground up. Scrape the lemon into a bowl.
3 Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter in a large bowl on medium high speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar and beat on medium high until light and fluffy. Add the eggs all at once and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and nutmeg and beat for about 30 seconds. Mix together the dry ingredients. Beat one third of it into the creamed mixture just until incorporated. Add half the yoghurt and do the same. Repeat, ending with dry ingredients. Gently stir in the lemon mixture then use a spatula to hand fold the dried cherries into the batter.
4 Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (mine took longer) until they are slightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack.
5 Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over the warm muffins. Glaze will harden in about 15 minutes.
6 These are at their very best served warm, but if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap once cooled, they will still taste great for up to 3 days. They can be frozen for up to 3 weeks (or if you're me - 6 months!!)