Did You Know? Ricotta, meaning twice-cooked, is made from the whey that is drained off while making cheeses such as mozzarella and provolone, and is technically not a cheese at all.
I first made these muffins a few years ago, when my sister, best friend, and I were creating a full on lemon-inspired meal. We had a flavorful lemon spaghetti for dinner, accompanied by a lemon dressed salad, and finished off with these fluffy biscuits. The whole meal, courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis, was so tasty, and these Lemon Ricotta Muffins were definately our favorite part. I love what ricotta cheese does to baked goods. It lightens, and fluffs, and imparts such a lovely consistency to the batter. I had had a lot of success adding it to our favorite pancake recipe, so I was almost positive this recipe would prevail. And whatever you do, don't substitute for the almond extract. The intense flavor it provides works so beautifully with the fresh lemon.
When I decided to dedicate a week or so to the seasonal Meyer lemon, I immediately thought of these, and the flavor that this hybrid citrus of sorts would provide. They were a favorite of my sisters, so I thought I would surprise her with this fresh and fluffy breakfast treat...
They turned out to be a huge hit with my whole family, especially the girls. There's just something about a tiny cupcake, wrapped in pale pink paper, and sprinkled with sugar crystals. These would be perfect for a Mother's Day brunch, or just a get-together with girlfriends. And that doesn't mean the men in your lives won't love them just the same, I just don't think they'll appreciate the delicate daintiness of them.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar for sprinkling
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fresh Meyer lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup thinly sliced almonds
Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk the flours, 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).
Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with almonds and then the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar. Bake until the muffins just become pale golden on top, about 22-24 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Don't forget to send me your links for all those lemon recipes you have stashed away! I've already received so many, and I can't wait to show you all. Thanks again to everyone who has participated, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, read the end of this post.