Saturday, February 27, 2010

Blueberry Muffins with Ricotta and Lemon

Not everything I bake is totally unhealthy. Not that I'm saying cupcakes are BAD for you necessarily, but I do bake a lot of healthy items too. I just don't normally add them to my blog since this is mainly a blog about cupcakes. But these were SO good I had to share. I am a huge blueberry muffin fan. In fact I have like 15 different recipes I make and I almost always modify them to make them as healthy as possible. Like all whole wheat flours, less sugar or alternative sweeteners like honey or agave syrup. Sometimes I add in flax or wheat germ, apple sauce instead of oil, etc.
Since I still had my leftover buttermilk I decided to go back to this recipe that I found from  
Week Of Menus blog and I made these yesterday with a few modifications.

I LOVE fresh blueberries. Not in season just yet but I found some at Trader Joe's and they looked too good to pass up. I am so glad I bought them. Even my daughter ate a TON. She is quite the blueberry fiend
The recipe called for a little bit of butter which I kept in. Sometimes if you modify too much the recipe doesn't come out quite right

I used normal lemons this time instead of Meyers and zested and juiced them. There is a huge difference between freshly squeezed juice than bottled but bottled juice and lemon extract can be substituted for the fresh juice and extract if you don't have any fresh lemons on hand
I love my citrus juicer. Another of my kitchen gadgets I use often

The recipe also calls for ricotta cheese and since I loved the way the ricotta turned out in my lemon ricotta cupcakes I knew that it would work great here. When mixing together I was a little worried about the texture it looked almost curdled but I knew it was just the ricotta and not something gone awry. The scent from the lemon zest and juice in the mixture was awesome. I also subbed agave syrup for the sugar. When using a liquid sweetener like honey or agave you sub 2/3 cup for every 1 cup of granulated sugar, decrease your other liquids by 1/4, decrease oven temp by 25 degrees and increase baking time by 6-8%. The liquid sweeteners tend to burn quicker so you want to keep the temp lower for even baking but bake longer so that they aren't gummy inside. The agave also had a part in the texture of the wet ingredients looking a little grainy. It doesn't cream together with the butter quite as well but it is a low glycemic all natural sugar not refined like normal granulated white sugar.
I also used all whole wheat pastry flour instead of half whole wheat and half all purpose. Sometimes when subbing all whole wheat the texture can be heavier and drier. But with the ricotta and juice and buttermilk I knew that I could get away with all whole wheat. I also like using the whole wheat pastry flour better than regular whole wheat. Its a finer grind and acts more like all purpose. My favorite brand to use is 
Bob's Redmill . I use a lot of products from this brand. And no I am not getting paid to talk about it. Just a product I love to use.
Once the wet ingredients were all mixed I added in the dry ingredients by hand not with my mixer. Its very important to not over mix the batter or else they come out stiff and dense.
Folded in those yummy blueberries and I used a little more than the recipe asked for. I LOVE blueberries. Did it tell you that already? ha ha

You can see the pieces of lemon zest in the batter before they went in the oven
And fresh out of the oven
Nice and golden brown
I don't know why but I never use liner or baking cups with muffins. I always just spray the pan with cooking spray. I always use them with cupcakes but not muffins. I can't tell you why but its just what I have always done!

Blueberry Muffins with Ricotta and Lemon 
Adapted from Week of Menus blog

Makes 18 standard size muffins

3/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 large eggs room temp
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp unsalted butter softened
2/3 cup agave syrup
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 1/2 cup blueberries fresh or frozen ( if frozen don't thaw before using - they will turn the batter blue!)

Preheat oven to 350 deg, rack in middle of oven. Line pans with 18 muffins liners/baking papers or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray.

In a stand mixer or bowl using a hand mixer cream together the softened butter and agave syrup. It won't get super creamy like butter and granulated sugar. Just make sure the butter is soft enough so it mixes together well. Add the ricotta cheese then the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice and zest.

In another bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Gently fold in the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing just to get it all incorporated and don't over mix. Gently fold in the blueberries. Divide the batter evenly among the 18 muffin cups

Bake for 20-30 minutes ( mine took 25 minutes) or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven to cool for 5 min. Then gently remove muffins from tin and cool on wire rack.

1 comment:

  1. I love the combination of ricotta and lemon. These look fabulous!