I think Jim Gaffigan put it best:
You know the difference between a cupcake and a muffin? NOTHING, a muffin is a bald cupcake.
He’s so right, it’s a cupcake without it’s toupee.
Muffins are right up there with coffee cake, cream cheese Danish and chocolate croissants as my favorite breakfast sweets. I love me a dessert in the early morning, helps me burn it off the rest of the day so I feel better about eating it. Plus, having something sweet with your coffee in the morning just makes wiping dirty butts all day that much easier. I’ll make a batch the night before after the kids have gone to bed, as I do most of my baking, and they’re ready for hungry mouths in the morning. For me, it’s probably my only meal until a very late lunch, so its perfect to last me all those hours of chasing and cleaning.
I found this recipe a few years ago when I was looking up a way to use leftover ricotta I had made. I was looking for something besides pasta recipes or pizza and this fit the bill perfectly. I whipped them up as the recipe was written and they were delightful. They were dense yet soft and no very sweet. The ricotta gives them a nice richness without making them taste buttery or oily like some muffins out there. What’s also great is ricotta has 5g of protein per serving, so you could technically say these are protein muffins. Right? Yeah, I’ll go with blueberry protein muffins. Eat a muffin or two and hit the gym!
For these I changed to make them a little more “healthy” with whole grains. To help boost the flavor I used a bakery emulsion. Have you heard of emulsions? They’re more potent than extracts, the flavor really stays behind and if you’re looking to get that nice buttery flavor without the calories, this will do the trick. I usually don’t like using artificial flavors but I thought I’d try two of them for fun. I got mine at Hobby Lobby but you can find them readily online. This one has notes of citrus in it so it went perfectly with the blueberries. The first time I made these I used vanilla extract but this stuff gives it a lovely citrus flavor while amplifying the butter flavor. If you haven’t tried them, pick one up and see what you think. I added one into a funfetti cake I made and I swear, it tasted just like the boxed stuff.
I love Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour, I love to sub white flour with this stuff because it’s has more nutrition and you can’t tell it’s there. I get mine at Big Lot’s because they have a nice selection of their products at a cheaper price.
After making a few different muffins recipes I’ve learned a few lessons about the process. It’s really like making a cake, having the ingredients at room temperature is best and yields better results if done so. Another thing is the temperature. After trying many recipes, I’ve found that starting at a high temp and then reducing helps get that nice, rounded top we love so much in bakery style muffins.
Seriously, can you tell this was made with whole wheat flour? You could fool anyone who doesn’t like the taste of whole wheat flour with these babies!
Adapted from Patty’s Food
- 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta or low fat, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature*
- 1 teaspoon sweet dough bakery emulsion*
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose flour*
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/3 cups fresh blueberries*
- Sparkling sugar or lemon sugar from original recipe
- Place rack into center position and preheat oven to 425F..
- Line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners or spray with non stick cooking spray.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside one tablespoon for later.
- In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time, making sure to scrape the bowl down the sides after each addition.
- Once eggs are incorporated add in emulsion, ricotta and lemon juice. Mix until well combined.
- Add in flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time, mix until just combined but do not over mix. Batter will be very thick.
- Toss blueberries in reserved flour mixture until evenly coated. Gently fold blueberries into batter.
- Divide the batter among the muffin cups, muffin cups will be nearly full. Sprinkle sparkling sugar evenly over muffins.
- Place pan into oven and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 375F and continue to bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Set muffins on surface to cool for 5 minutes before removing muffins from tin.
*To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, place eggs into cup filled with very warm tap water for 10 minutes. Make sure that there is enough water to cover eggs.
*If you don’t have sweet dough emulsion you can substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and the zest of one lemon.
*If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour but still want the texture you can make your own cake flour: measure out the flour and take out 2 tablespoons of wheat flour and replace with 2 tablespoons of corn starch, sift together with other dry ingredients.
*You can substitute frozen blueberries if you can’t get fresh. Be sure to add them while they are still frozen and work quickly when folding in or else they will bleed into the batter.