When I set out to make muffins, I want a muffin. Not some wimpy, under-flavored piece of cake trying to be a muffin. My ideal muffin has got to be to boldly flavored. It’s got to have a soft crumb. And Lord knows, it’s got to have a meaty muffin top. Essentially, The Pastry Queen has got my ideal muffin covered and it was just my luck to be able to choose this recipe this week. With the addition of an entire lemon (yes, skin, pith, juice, and pulp), these aptly named Whole Lemon Muffins have got the boldly flavored requirement covered while miraculously not being overly tart, as I feared they might be. With little pieces of lemon floating around the muffin, they are the perfectly flavored lemon muffin. The addition of yogurt yields a soft crumb, and the fact that you’ll fill the batter up to the top of the muffin cup will leave you with a great big muffin top (my favorite part!) even though I made the muffins in a standard-size muffin tin. There were very few changes I made to the recipe aside from halving it (which yielded 9 muffins):
- I omitted the nuts from the recipe
- I added 3 tsp of poppy seeds [to the halved recipe]
- Next time, I would consider adding some coarse sugar to the muffin tops for a little sparkle and crunch in place of the glaze
Whole Lemon Muffins
source, Rebecca Rather, The Pastry Queen
For the muffins:
1 medium lemon, preferably organic
1 cup walnuts or pecans
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups (16 oz) plain whole-milk yogurt
For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
Freshly squeezed juice of 2 small lemons
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
To make the muffins:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 8 Texas-size (3 1/2 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep) muffin cups with butter or cooking spray or line them with muffin wrappers.
Wash and dry the lemon, cut it into quarters, and remove the seeds. Process the quartered lemon (skin, pith, and all) 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 medium bowl. Without washing the food processor, add the walnuts and pulse 10 to 12 times. (The nuts will clean the processor bowl.) Add the walnuts to the processed lemon and stir to combine. Set the lemon-nut mixture aside to be used later.
Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter in a large bowl on medium-high speed about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar and mix on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs all at once and beat on medium speed about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and beat on medium for about 30 seconds, until well incorporated. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the batter and beat on medium-low speed just until it is incorporated. Add half of the yogurt and beat on medium speed until it is just incorporated. Continue to add the flour mixture and yogurt alternatively, beat just long enough to incorporate. (End with the dry ingredients.)
Gently stir in the lemon-nut mixture. Spoon the batter into the muffin pans, filling each cup just to the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (or 18 to 25 minutes for standard-size muffin tins), until they are slightly browned and a toothpick inserted in to the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in their pans about 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pans.
To make the glaze:
Combine the sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Drizzle the glaze over the warm muffins. The glaze will harden in about 15 minutes. These are at their very best served warm, but if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap once completely cool they will still taste great for about 3 days. They can be frozen up to 3 weeks.
Tip: Most standard muffin recipes will tell you to fill muffin cups two-thirds of the way to the top. This makes a neat, perfectly rounded muffin. I like to fill mine just to the top of the pan. As the muffins bake, they rise and spill over the edges of the muffin cups to create delectable crunchy edges. (Don’t worry; the batter will not spill over the muffin pans, creating a mess on the bottom of your oven. This method will not work with cupcake batter, which rises more and likely will end up dripping onto your oven floor.)