20 June 2010

Lemon-Cherry Muffins

Sunday morning baking is a not-so-secret pleasure of mine. Apart from lazily leafing through books and magaines for an inspriational recipe, there's a sense of calm that comes from weighing out flour, grating zest and whisking eggs with milk.

This is the time when I play with ingredients and flavours, tweak an old favourite and dare I say it...gild the lily. Sometimes things work, sometimes things don't. And sometimes things are so elusively close to where I want them to be, they become an obession of sorts.

Lemon-cherry muffins are my latest obsession. The recipes I've tried have been too cakey, too sweet, too lemony. Normally I can easily doctor or tweak something an get *exactly* what I want.

Operative word is "normally."

This quest is far from normal...I've been *this* close a few times but each subsequent attempt, although good, leaves me thinking "next time I'll just try this" or "next time I need to decrease this or increase that."

I'll revisit and tweak some more. When they are at that seemingly elusive happy point, I'll let you know, but for now here they are.

Far from perfect, they are perfectly serviceable. They may not proffer poofy domes that other recipes do but then again they aren't meant to be miniature cakes like the glaze-dipped offerings at chain coffee shops. They are sweet, but not overly so; they are moist, but not overly so. Since I'm looking for something that's closer to an old-fashioned muffin, with a heartier texture with warm nooks and crannies where lashings of butter melt into at breakfast or at afternoon tea.

Lemon-Cherry Muffins
Yield 18

150g (1.5c) sugar
grated zest and juice of one lemon
220ml (1c less 2Tbsp) buttermilk
60g (4Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
2dspn (1.5Tbsp) flavourless oil
2 eggs
280g (2c) ap flour
1dspn (2tsp) baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1pinch salt
200g (1 heaping c) cherries with their stones removed

Preheat oven to 190C/375F. Paper the muffin-tin bowls.

Rub the lemon zest into the sugar and set aside. Mix the buttermilk and lemon juice in a measuring jug and let sit. Sift flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt together.

Beat sugar, butter, buttermilk mixture, oil and eggs.

Quickly incorporate the dry ingredients, leaving some pockets of flour. Fold in the cherries until it all just comes together--you aren't looking for a smooth batter.

Fill prepared muffin tins and bake for 20-30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out cleanish.



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Jannett said...

The muffins looks delicious...the lemon and cherry in perfect harmony.... It has me thinking would rhubarb be good as well??

Joanne said...

There are some foods that we can almost taste so well that it's hard to fully mimic that ideal that's imprinted in our taste buds. At least you got a close approximation. sometimes even that is impossible to do. These sound fabulous.

Angelina said...

Those muffins look delicious! I am going to have to save that recipe! = )

Sweet Kitchen said...

Love the way they sink down in the centre - almost like a little pillow. It makes them look very inviting!

Sharylin said...

The directions say to "Beat sugar, butter, buttermilk mixture, oil and eggs" yet there is no butter in the list of ingredients can you please clarify this I'm anxious to ry this recipe :)