March 1, 2007

lemon muffins

Anyone eagerly awaiting early signs of springtime will certainly appreciate and welcome the burst of fresh lemon flavor in these muffins. Light and not overly sweet, they seem to remind me of one favorite bakeshop item in Manila called "taisan" which I would simply describe as a very light lemon sponge loaf cake. Although there's a difference with the texture of the cake, ( these muffins are denser than the taisan ) the similarity lies in the sugary topping, which is made by generously spreading the top of the cake with butter as soon as it comes out of the oven and dipping or sprinkling it with sugar. I was browsing around the foodblog world when I saw the recipe for this great idea. I altered it slightly to make a thinner batter and to make it easier to spoon into the paper-lined muffin pan.

Lemon Muffins

1/2 cup plain yoghurt or buttermilk
3 tbsps. oil or melted butter
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp lemon extract ( optional )
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
grated zest of 1-2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper cups. Mix together the yoghurt, oil, lemon juice, eggs & lemon extract. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt. Stir in the lemon zest. Add the yoghurt mixture to the dry ingredients and gently mix or fold until just blended. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. As soon as the muffins come out of the oven, spread the tops with butter and dip in granulated sugar.

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