While I was in AZ over the holidays, we had some friends give us grocery bags full of citrus fruits off their trees in the backyard. The grapefruit that were humongous, the tangelos were the sweetest I have ever tasted, and the lemons were tart, yellow, and juicy. This fruit makes me anxious to get our backyard finished and plant our own trees! I ended up juicing the lemons before I left so we could freeze the juice and enjoy it throughout the year. I also tried to save the zest, freezing it in an ice-cube tray with a little bit of lemon juice, so we'll see how that goes. Does anyone know if citrus zest stores well?
With our surplus of citrus fruit, I was looking around the internet for a heartier breakfast recipe that I could make for my parents on the morning of their flight. Personally, I hate trying to find a decent meal in an airport, and I thought they could at least start out their day with a full stomach =) I ran across this recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod and it fit perfect. I could use my lemons as well as some of the cream cheese that I had sitting in the fridge from Christmas cookies.
I followed the recipe pretty closely except for adding about 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice to the batter and excluding the Turbinado sugar because I didn't have any. My batter was pretty thick, and it was a little hard to make sure that the cream cheese pocket was surrounded by batter. The cream cheese leaked out to the sides of a few of my muffins, but since I had them in paper cups, it wasn't a big deal. My muffins did need to bake longer than the stated, but I think this was due to my stoneware pan. I love using my stoneware, but I've noticed with other recipes (especially cookies) that sometimes they need to bake just a bit longer because the pans need to heat up. Has anyone else that bakes with stoneware noticed this?
You can see the cream cheese on the inner side of this one...
Overall, the muffins turned out beautifully. My family really enjoyed them, and they must have been a great send-off because there weren't any left. Enjoy!
Blueberry Lemon Cream Cheese Muffins
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
1-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. sugar
zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 c. canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 c. skim milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen, mine were frozen)
Cream cheese filling:
3 Tbsp. cream cheese
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin pan or line with paper liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a small bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest. Rub sugar and zest together until fragrant. Add to the flour mixture and whisk again.
In a separate bowl, mix the canola oil, egg, milk, and vanilla together. Incorporate the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Add slowly and do not over mix. The batter will be lumpy and thick. Muffin batter is best when there are little bits of flour that just hasn't been quite incorporated. Gently fold in the blueberries.
In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, lemon zest, and sugar until smooth. Fill each muffin cup slightly under half way with batter. Add about 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture to the middle of the batter. Top with the remaining batter, attempting to seal the batter around the outside of the cream cheese pocket. Bake muffins for 17-20 minutes (mine baked for 24 minutes), or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let muffins cool on a cooling rack.
Yield: 9 regular-sized muffins