Monday, May 20, 2013

Muffin Mondays: Lemon Ricotta Blackberry Muffins

Sunday was a day of marathons. Following The Office finale, I began a binge watching session of it on Netflix. It only seemed right to pair this with my favorite and most edible type of marathon- the bake-athon. A trifecta of treats was in order to provide my coworkers with delicious morsels to make it through our Monday meeting and to send Robin a proper care package (and inspiration for future baking/ bakery endeavors). Since I had to devote proper attention to my television duties (especially if I was going to make it through season 2), I decided that a combination of easy to make cookies and muffins would be the best route.

Lemon Ricotta Blackberry Muffins
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 24 muffins

Ridiculously thick batter
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups granulated sugar
Zest of 4 lemons
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups blackberries
Sugar plus lemon zest for topping

I only broke half of the blackberries trying to get them into the batter, a new record!

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mix the sugar and lemon zest together then cream them with the butter using a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the ricotta cheese and mix until smooth.
  5. Stir in the egg, lemon juice and vanilla extract.
  6. Gradually add in the dry ingredients until just blended.
  7. Fill lined muffin tins halfway with batter. 
  8. Place at least 3 blackberries into the batter (try to get it down in there without crushing the blackberries, which will be tricky since this is one thick batter).
  9. Realize you snacked on the remaining blackberries, forcing you to stop at 3 berries per muffin.
  10. Sprinkle the topping on each muffin.
  11. Bake for 18-24 minutes until the tops slightly brown and the toothpick test comes back clean.
  12. Cool the muffins on wire racks.
Sadly, all the blackberries rose to the top, leaving only delicious ricotta lemony bottoms.
Blackberries, while the most delicious of all berries, are also the most neglected when it comes to baking.  I decided I must remedy this post haste. I also wanted to keep up the delightfully refreshing citrusy theme of last week's Grapefruit Buttermilk Muffins, so these lemon ricotta blackberry muffins seemed perfect (and provided yet another opportunity to test my "cheese makes everything better" hypothesis).

Initial batter taste tests had me a little concerned due to their ricotta influenced thick texture, but these fears were quickly assuaged upon tasting the finished product. These muffins hit you with wonderful juicy blackberries, a refreshing lemon backend and an intriguingly awesome hint of cheesecake all wrapped up in one surprisingly moist package. Hopefully, the rousing success of these muffins will help catapult blackberries to their proper place in baking lore.
My table passed initial baking stress tests.
Stay tuned for the ensuing cookie mayhem featuring Reese's Pieces Cookies and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies.

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