The muffins I'm going to tell you about today are my son's muffins of choice. These Tuscan Lemon Muffins are definitely a top contender for best of this week's muffins. They're delicately sweet, fluffy from the addition of ricotta cheese, and just tart enough to be refreshingly lemony.
Just like with the Chocolate-Pomegranate Muffins from yesterday, I had to make a couple small changes. First, I reduced the amount of granulated sugar in the batter (which turned out to be a wise decision for us; my son doesn't like things terribly sweet and these were just perfect), and then I also reduced the amount of olive oil by just a tablespoon. I find that if I shave off the amount of fat in a recipe just slightly, the results are still strong and I've saved us a couple calories at the same time. I wouldn't go omitting the oil altogether here, because I think the muffins do need some. Though these muffins are delicious, in the future I would definitely increase the amount of lemon zest in the batter. They're great, but I do wish the lemon flavor had provided more of a punch than it did. It's a small complaint, though! Otherwise I would make them again exactly as I did this time; they're already long gone!
Tuscan Lemon Muffins
adapted from Cooking Light
makes 12 muffins
7.9 oz. all-purpose flour (1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (the original recipe called for 3/4 cup)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp. olive oil (the original recipe called for 1/4 cup)
1 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Nonstick cooking spray
2 Tbsp. turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 3 ingredients (through salt); make a well in the center.
2. Combine the ricotta and the next 5 ingredients (through egg). Add ricotta mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
3. Place 12 muffin-cup liners in muffin cups and coat with cooking spray (I simply sprayed my muffin tins with cooking spray, with no liners, and it worked fine). Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle turbinado sugar evenly over the batter. Bake at 375 for 16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pans before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.