That’s not enough? Fine. Two lemons worth of grated peel are muddled into a paste with sugar, and that sugar is used to bake a simple buttermilk and vanilla muffin that is topped with a whole fresh raspberry. If it sounds simple, that’s because it is, but the flavor is anything but. The lemon peel gives what should be a sweet, harmless muffin a bitter, intense edge, and the raspberry, an almost sour contrast whose impact rivals the best blueberry muffin you’ve ever had. What I once thought was my favorite approach to lemon cake is no longer. There’s a new muffin in town.
Deb, you sound a little rushed today. Oh, you can tell? It’s true. Work has been very… work-like this week, which I wholly resent. Next week I’ll be spending three days in a nine acre glass-enclosed pod, and I’ve decided it’s more fun to see which of you figures out what I’m talking about first than to just tell you outright: it’s not an asylum. (Hm, or isn’t as far as I’ve been told… Actually, I should verify.) And finally, our families are coming over on Sunday for a Mother’s Day Brunch (hence all these wee muffins), and while we all know how much I adore cooking for crowds, I actually hate organizing the grocery shopping that precedes it. Surely, Alex is taking bets on how many times he’ll be sent back to the store for forgotten items (my money is on two); feel free to weigh in. Which reminds me: yogurt! Gah, gotta run.
Raspberry-Topped Lemon Muffins
Adapted from Susan Elizabeth Fallon via Bon Appetit, July 2006
Yield: 14 large or 56 miniature muffins
1 1/8 cups sugar, divided
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel (from two large lemons)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 1/2-pint containers (about) fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 14 standard muffin cups (or 56 minis) with paper liners. Mash 1/8 cup sugar and lemon peel in small bowl until sugar is slightly moist. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat remaining 1 cup sugar and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg. Beat in buttermilk, then vanilla and lemon sugar. Beat in flour mixture.
Divide batter among muffin cups (the 2/3-3/4 level worked well for minis). Top each large muffin with 4 raspberries (or mini muffins with one each). Bake muffins until lightly browned on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes (baking time was on the shy side of 20 minutes for mini muffins).