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Recipe of the Week: Lemon Tuscan Sun Muffins

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For me citrus and spring just go together. I love a nice citrus fruit salad, shish kabobs with pineapple, or a tangy margarita. Now I have new favorite citrus recipe- Lemon Tuscan Sun Muffins. These muffins are super moist, and since there is no power mixers a little dense. The ricotta cheese adds a great flavor and texture to the muffin while giving it a bump up on the nutritional scale. Olive oil instead of butter also helps here. Then there is the lemon. Recipe calls for a whole lemon using the juice and the zest but if you are nuts about lemon you could definitely add more. As is you still get a nice creamy lemon flavor that is great with tea sitting out on the deck enjoying a sunny spring afternoon.

Lemon Tuscan Sun Muffins

1 ¾ cups flour
¾ cups sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
½ cup water
¼ cup olive oil
1 egg
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
Raw/turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour muffin tins or line with paper liners and lightly coat with cooking spray.

In large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl mix together ricotta cheese, water, oil, egg, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add wet ingredients to dry, folding together until just moist.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins filling ¾ full. Bake for 10 minutes and then sprinkle tops of muffins with raw sugar. Return to oven for another 5-10 minutes until fully cooked. (Muffin top should spring back when lightly pressed with finger)

Tips- You can add raw sugar before baking but it will melt into muffin, will still taste great just won’t look as pretty. For a raspberry lemon muffin spoon in a small amount of raspberry jam on top of muffins before cooking. Muffin will rise around jam creating a delicious raspberry center. If lemon isn’t your thing, I think this recipe would also be great with lime, orange or grapefruit.