It’s. so. COLD.
It snowed in London last night; The one time it snows this winter and it’s on a Saturday. Yeah, well done Weather, snow on the weekend, not during the week; Now I don’t get a snow-day, thanks a lot.
To brighten up this cold weekend, I decided to head in a lemony direction!
I’ve already confessed my obsession with lemon, it must be the sweet and sour aspect that has me hooked. I find my satisfaction in making lemon muffins. However, making the most lemon filled muffin you can, I’ve found, is not an easy feat! I’ve tried loads of different things: extra lemon icing, more lemon zest, lemon extract, lemon curd, but it’s never quite enough (I have learned though that extra lemon icing is always a good thing!).
But I think I’ve finally found the answer: candied lemon zest*. I made it in small pieces, and rolled them in a mixture of fine sugar and citric acid (for extra zing), then stirred them into the batter. They dispersed throughout the muffin perfectly giving little bursts of flavour in every bite! The great thing is that once you’ve made a batch of it, you can keep it in a sealed container for your next batch of muffins, without having to make it again.
Plus it makes these muffins look so pretty.
The muffin batter is a really simple recipe. It can be made super easily in a food processor by literally throwing all the ingredients in and blending together, so it comes together in a mater of minutes. I added a little bit of oat bran too, to get some fibre and texture in. I find it nicer to use than wholemeal flour because the oat bran is pretty much visually undetectable, so the muffins keep their bright colour. I also used lemon juice, zest and extract for a good boost of flavour.
The last steps to these perfect lemon muffins are: make sure you drizzle on plenty of lemon icing, then sprinkle on some candied lemon zest.
7 tbsp (3.5 oz / 100g) butter
3/4 cup (6 oz / 170g) sugar
2 cups (9.25 oz / 260g) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (1 oz / 28g) oat bran
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon zest
3 tbsp fine candied lemon zest*
1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice
1-2 tsp lemon extract
1 cup (250 ml) milk
1/2 cup (125 ml) buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cases.
If you have a food processor or stand mixer: mix together the butter, sugar and eggs until fully mixed. Add in the rest of the ingredients and ‘pulse’ in until just mixed.
If not: In a medum bowl, stir together the flour, oat bran, baking powder and soda, salt and fresh and candied lemon zests. In a measuring jug, stir together the lemon juice and extract, milk and buttermilk In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, then mix in the eggs. Stir in half the flour mixture, then half the milk mixture, then the rest of the flour mixture, and lastly the rest of the milk mixture. Stir until just mixed.
Take your batter and divide equally among the muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden brown on top. Leave the muffins in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to cooling rack.
2/3 – 1 cup (2.5-3.5 oz / 65-100g) powdered sugar
2-4 tbsp lemon juice
In a small bowl, add the lemon juice, 1 tbsp at a time, to the powdered sugar, stirring until you get a smooth, slightly thick icing. Spoon over the cooled muffins, whilst the icing is still wet, sprinkle on some candied lemon zest* for decoration.
*For the Candied Lemon zest:
I used this recipe from Epicurious, with these adaptations:
- Using 1/3 cup lemon zest instead of the ‘1 organic lemon’ called for.
- Cutting the lemon zest (using scissors) into little squares.
- Adding the juice of 1 lemon with the sugar and water.
- Coating the lemon zest in a mixture of 1 tbsp citric acid and 3 tbsp fine sugar.