A few days ago, I asked my facebook followers to help me decide on what kind of muffins to make. I had a definite muffin craving, but no real direction. I got some yummy suggestions, but they all hinged on ingredients that really are at their best during the summer months. So, I stockpiled the suggestions for warmer weather and went on a little Google search to find a recipe that would jump out at me.
I found this recipe. As soon as I saw "Meyer lemon" in the title, I was hooked. Meyer lemons, a sweeter and more mellow variety, have a pretty short season and aren't always easy to find in stores. This time of year is prime citrus season and my mom had just seen Meyer lemons at the grocery store, so I knew I needed to jump. If you can find them, you'll definitely want to make up a batch of these muffins. If not, I think you could use one lemon and two tangerine or Clementines and get a very similar result.
As I read the recipe further, I became even more intrigued. This recipe calls for the whole lemon--skin, pith, seeds, and all. It gets chopped up and processed into a pulpy mixture that infuses every single bite with the perfect balance of sweet and tart. I'll admit, my OCD side just couldn't handle the thought of the seeds going in, so I removed those after I cut the lemon into pieces. Leave them in, if you want; it's highly likely you're less type-A than me. The acidity of that pulpy mixture, combined with milk and baking soda, made for a very light batter and an airy, cakey muffin. With a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and a lemon garnish on top, these muffins were everything I was hoping for--delicate, seasonal, lovely to look at, and exceptionally tasty.
Meyer Lemon Muffins
method slightly adapted from LA Times Food
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. plus 2 TBSP granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 Meyer lemons
1 c. milk (low-fat is fine)
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F and prepare a standard-sized muffin pan with liners, if desired. Lightly spray pan or liners with baking spray or olive oil.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1 c. sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. Cut two lemons into eight pieces each, remove seeds if desired, and pulse in a food processor until finely chopped. In a separate small bowl, lightly beat eggs then stir in milk, butter, and lemon mixture.
4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in lemon mixture. Fold ingredients together until moistened, taking care not to overwork batter. Let sit five minutes.
5. While batter rests, combine remaining 2 TBSP sugar with cinnamon in a small dish. Cut remaining lemon into 9 paper-thin slices, then cut each slice in half.
6. Using a table spoon or large spring-loaded scoop, fills wells of muffin pan 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture, then top with a lemon slice.
7. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan 2-3 minutes. Using a small spatula or dull knife, lift muffins from pan and let cool on a wire rack, 5 minutes more. Serve warm with butter, jam, or plain. Makes 18 muffins.