The best muffins you'll ever have (ie lemon ricotta ones)
Ok, I admit I totally stole that heading from the blog where I found this recipe. With a title like that, you'd be interested too? I can't remember how I found it, but I think I was looking for ways to use up some fresh ricotta in the fridge and I found this recipe for lemon & ricotta muffins, that would be apparently the best things I'll ever have.
The recipe comes from the Italian-American TV chef, Giada de Laurentiis, who looks totally like a catwalk model. I was pretty dubious of her when I first caught her show, "Everyday Italian". How could somebody who looked like a stick figure fashion plate know anything about good food? My Italo-American tv chef tastes run more toward the grandmotherly Lidia Bastianich. However, after just one episode of Giada's show I had to eat my words. This girl knows what she's doing, and I picked up a swag of tips and new info in a single episode. So, when I saw this recipe was from one of her shows, I knew it'd be a good one.
The combination of ricotta and lemon juice & zest makes these muffins really light. I substitued 1/2 cup of the flour for ground almonds, because I had them, and I thought they'd make them even more light and moist. That worked really well, but I don't think it's essential. The almond essence gives it that aromatic whiff of something very European. Kind of like the smell you get when you walk past a Continental cakeshop. I reckon these would be the perfect thing to take to a women's-only morning tea or brunch. We all know that women want something sweet, but don't want to be seen tucking into something over the top (hmm, at least that's what I've noticed). Well, these look and taste really light and healthy, which I think would be a big attraction for the girls.
I made these to have on hand at breakfasts for my Danish visitors this week. I didn't have time in the days just before their arrival, so I whipped them up a week earlier and stuck them in the freezer. They freeze beautifully, so they're great for making in advance. The Danes enjoyed them very much. :-)
Read on for the recipe:
Nonna's Lemon Ricotta Biscuits (muffins)
from Giada de Laurentiis
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins
1.5 cups plain flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (or extra 1/2 cup flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar or more as needed for sprinkling
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup thinly sliced almonds (optional)
Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/ 175 degrees C.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup sugar, butter, and lemon zest in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the ricotta. Beat in the egg, lemon juice, and almond extract. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended (the batter will be thick and fluffy).
Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the almonds and then the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar over the muffins. Bake until the muffins just become pale golden on top, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tagged with muffins