You know what I hate? When I make a recipe that uses only 1/4 cup sour cream, or 3 Tb buttermilk, or 1/3 cup heavy cream, etc. Just small amounts of an ingredient that I have to go out and buy a whole container of for one recipe. Then the rest sits in my fridge. And sits. And sits. And sits. Until finally I go to use it and there it is, curdled and with moldy fur growth. SO! When I use one recipe with a small amount of say, sour cream, I usually try and find another one to immediately use up the remaining container. I have to admit though, I generally drop the ball on those efforts and end up with furry mold growth instead.
Not this last week though! These lemon ricotta muffins were an attempt to use up some leftover ricotta that I had from making the ricotta cookies that I baked up a little while back. I’ve actually made these a lot when I have leftover ricotta, they’re a good staple ricotta recipe. They’re easy and delicious. Plus you can freeze individual scoops of muffin batter and then bake them off fresh as many as you want at a time. Just scoop out the batter right into the muffin cups of a tin, cover, and freeze. Once frozen take them out and put them in a freezer bag, storing there until you want some. I’ve been popping two in the oven each morning since I made them. They bake at the same oven temperature, only about 5 minutes longer. And voila! Fresh muffins. There is nothing worse than a two day old muffin that is dry and crumbly. Freezing the batter and then baking is definitely the way to go with muffins. Unless of course you have a house full of people that can take out a dozen muffins in one morning… In that case, I envy you.
And boy, do I love baking with ricotta… it’s kind of like baking with sour cream, the end result is always so moist. These lemon ricotta muffins are no exception. Super moist. And they have a nice, delicate lemon flavor with a hint of almond. Plus they are not too sweet. In the recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, she actually refers to them as “biscuits”. I don’t want people to get the wrong impression with these so I’ve changed the title to muffins because they are wayyyy more muffin like than biscuit like. I like that they have just a touch of sweetness. Sometimes the decadently rich stuff is just too much. But if you want them to have a little more sweetness you can add a confectionary glaze. You can do a plain glaze or use some fresh lemon juice to emphasize the lemon flavor. I preferred them with just a sprinkle or granulated sugar and some sliced almonds. To each his own though.
Sorry I didn’t get the opportunity to take any “how-to” photos but this was one of those things that I pulled off when the sun had gone down and my baby girl was asleep. It’s a pretty simple creaming process, making a nice thick batter that is easy to scoop! I much prefer thick batters with muffins and cupcakes to the loose, soupy ones. It’s much easier to make muffins and cupcakes with a scoop then pouring the batter into the cups.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar or more as needed for sprinkling
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ⅓ cup thinly sliced almonds
- Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk the flour, 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).
- Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the almonds and then the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar over the muffins. Bake until the muffins just become pale golden on top, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.