Oh y’all – there’s just something about this house and this kitchen that inspires me, makes me want to create and have fun.
Have you ever made a decision that scared the living daylights out of you?
Something life changing and monumental?
We just did that.
In 3 weeks we decided to move, found a house, packed up and moved.
Once the world stopped spinning and I took a breath I felt this overwhelming peace and happiness, the utter rightness of this flows over me and I know that we are HOME.
Whew.. okay, on to what y’all really want to know about.
The Strawberry and Lemon concoction that I teased y’all with via Instagram all day yesterday
Let’s start with the lemon sugar
The first time that I combined Lemon Zest and Sugar was when I made Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Muffins for a baking challenge, the inspiration for which came from my darling and talented friend, Maria and her Lemon Ricotta Blackberry Muffins
Lemon Zested Sugar is a brilliant thing. It smells amazing and adds the lemon flavor to your baked goods in a subtle, but absolutely mouthwatering way.
I will warn y’all right now that if you do zest lemons into sugar and mix them together with your bare hands, you might spend an inordinate amount of time smelling your hands – I think I may zest some more lemons into some sugar and add some olive oil – a sort of DIY hand scrub… I’ll let y’all know.
Back to the muffins.
I made this recipe 3 different times yesterday, and my poor family had to taste test each one
Don’t they have a hard life?
It took me 3 different versions to find the right balance of strawberries, crunchy turbinado sugar topping and lemon. I didn’t want the lemon to be overpowering, but it definitely needed to be there.
When you bite into these muffins, the first thing you notice is that crunchy sugar topping, just like a bakery muffin, but from YOUR kitchen!!
Next you get lemon and strawberries and dense rich yumminess.
These are not some paltry light as air float away muffins. Oh no. These are rich, dense, packed with flavor muffins – these had the kids, the adults, even the new neighbors approval! (YAY – dorky Happy Dance inserted here)
When we tasted the 3rd batch of muffins, I actually did a little happy dance around the kitchen, much to the amusement of my Dad and Nathan 😉 Although Nathan did give me a high five after he tasted them, and I caught Monkey with FOUR muffin wrappers in his pockets! Little stinker.
Don’t be afraid of ricotta, I was a newbie to it once, too and now I’ve come to love it! If you’re feeling really frisky, Shaina has a recipe for homemade Ricotta. I haven’t gotten that frisky … yet 🙂
Make these muffins, y’all. They’re crazy delicious and actually easy to make, promise!
I’m probably going to make another batch today, they’re really THAT good, plus I have more lemons, strawberries and ricotta – so why not! I hope y’all love them as much as we do!
- 2 C all purpose, unbleached flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 C white granulated sugar
- 3 lemons, zested (divided 2 and 1)
- ½ C unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 C ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- Juice of 3 lemons, roughly 3 Tbsp
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 C chopped strawberries
- Turbinado Sugar for topping
- Measure 1 C white granulated sugar and pour into a medium mixing bowl. Zest two lemons into the bowl on top of the sugar. Mix together with your hands, set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350° F
- Spray a muffin tin with baking spray, or line with liners
- In a medium bowl, whisk together: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and lemon sugar until light and fluffy. This takes about 2 minutes, you'll know it when you see it 🙂
- Add the ricotta cheese to the lemon-sugar/butter mixture and beat until smooth.
- Add in the egg, vanilla, almond extract and the lemon juice, beat until smooth.
- Add in the zest of the 3rd lemon, beat until full incorporated.
- Add in the flour mixture 1 C at a time, mixing after each addition. Do this until all the flour mixture has been incorporated completely.
- Take the bowl away from the mixer and gently fold the strawberries into the mix.
- This is a THICK batter.
- Spray an ice cream scoop with baking spray and fill each muffin cup about ¾ full.
- Top each batter filled cup with about 1 heaping Tbsp of Turbinado sugar - this is what gives the muffins the incredible crunchy topping.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes -- the tops will become slightly golden brown and the muffin top will resist slightly when pressed.
I'm still learning my oven and what I found was that 18 minutes was too few, 22 minutes was WAY too long and you do NOT want to overbake these. 20 minutes was just perfect for us.
You can add even more lemon flavor by adding in an additional zested lemon and the juice.
I really want to try this with raspberries, too since Raspberry Lemonade is one of my kids' favorite drinks.
You’ll note in the printable recipe that I state 18 to 20 minutes. It was sort of like Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, but with muffins. 18 minutes was too few, 22 minutes was too long… 20 minutes was just right
Do you have anything wonderful going on in your life? What deliciousness have y’all been creating?
If you want to jump in the way back machine – Check out this post I wrote on Babble about 8 Radical High School Movies From the 80’s!
Share in the comments and use the linky to add your favorite recipes from the past week, or even this week!