Tuesday, May 18, 2010

recipe: lemony muffins with cherries

Ever since Nathan's thesis defense, I have been on a muffin making tear. They're so easy to throw together and, unlike cupcakes (which are just as cute) they require no frosting (which I have no patience for). I meant to make lemon cranberry muffins, but when I pulled out my bag of cranberries I realized - too late - that they were actually dried cherries. Alas, what's a girl to do? In went the cherries, and they were actually pretty good.

I'm proud of this recipe for two reasons. The first is that I veganized a non-vegan recipe, which is usually hit or miss for me. This one was a hit! The second is that DAMN! LOOK AT THESE PHOTOS! It's amazing what the right light can do for a muffin. Maybe there's hope for my picture taking skillz after all?

PS - The secret to these muffins is liberal amounts of lemon zest. If you don't have a zester, invest in one immediately. It is my second most-used kitchen tool, after the garlic press.

Lemony Muffins with Cherries
(adapted from Le Petit Pierogi)

Makes 6 decent sized muffins.
  • 1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 flax egg (that would be: 2 Tbsp flax meal + 3 Tbsp water. Let sit for about two minutes.)
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tablespoons melted Earth Balance
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (cherries or cranberries, whatever you got)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Juice of one lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray your muffin tin with oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flax and water. Let sit for a few minutes.
  3. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Return to the bowl with the flax mixture. Add the almond milk, agave, lemon juice and melted butter. Whisk until well combined.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and add the dried fruit and lemon zest. Fold everything together until just combined.
  6. Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out dry. Cool slightly and move to a wire rack.
  7. Enjoy! 


    1. Your photos are always good - you got nothing to worry about! You're using window light: perfect. Are you diffusing the light in any way? Like putting up a white bedsheet or several pieces of printer paper? That'll soften the light a bit. Which isn't necessarily better, just a different look. The only other thing I'd do is grab a small piece of foam core, printer paper, or small mirror and direct it at the front of the muffins to bounce some light into the front to open up the shadows.

      They look great - not to mention Crohn's friendly. Yeah if I need to bake a dessert for myself, I'm totally coming to your blog, just about everything you post is Crohn's friendly. My only question is, what is Earth Balance?

    2. Thanks Michael! That means a lot coming from you. :) I took most of these by the window in our office, and one on our front porch. My kitchen is on the dark side, so out of the kitchen I go!

      I'm glad to know my recipes are Crohn's friendly! And Earth Balance is a vegan butter substitute. It comes in a stick or in a tub, and works like margarine. It's mostly palm oil, which has a lot of issues (mostly the deforestation tactics http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/borneo/white-text) so I try to limit my use of it. If only it didn't taste so good!

    3. You know, looking at your pics a second time, I almost wouldn't diffuse the light at all - the hard back light is really making the texture pop - you can see all kinds of detail that soft light might cover up. But hey, it's something to try anyway.

      Yeah, palm oil, I think that's ok for me - I'll see if I can find some of that - thanks!