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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Moist Lemon Muffins

When we were out shopping the other day I noticed some scrumptious looking lemon muffins in the bakery at Sunflower Market. Immediately, my lemon taste buds began to salivate. Luckily, I managed to resist the temptation to buy a box, but as I was contemplating something slightly sweet for my Sunday baking project those muffins came to mind.

I wanted something that was going to be rather moist but with lots of lemon tartness. They also needed to be slightly "cakey" without the hard shell that many muffins tend to get but also without being crumbly or too light.

So, I glanced through a dozen or so lemon muffin recipes online and off and finally pulled together this variation using some bits and pieces from here and there. The result was better than I could have expected. The lemon flavor is wonderfully tart and the muffins are moist and cake-like without being too crumbly.

These will be a perfect morning pick-me-up! The recipe makes 6 jumbo muffins or 12 regular muffins.

1/2 cup sugar
6 tbs. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
zest of one large lemon, finely grated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 1/4 tsp. lemon extract
2-4 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
1/4 cup sugar (for topping)
1 tbs. butter, melted (for topping)

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease muffin tin.

Sift together flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix together lemon juice and lemon extract in measuring cup.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, and sour cream until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. Add lemon zest and mix. If using food coloring, add with lemon zest.

Alternate flour and lemon juice mixtures in thirds, beginning and ending with flour. Mix just until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula and make sure all ingredients are well incorporated.

Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes until tops are lightly browned and cake tester inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

Allow to cool in muffin tin on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from tins and allow to cool until just warm.

Melt 1 tbs. of butter and brush top of each muffin with butter. Place 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in a small bowl and roll each muffin top in sugar.

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