It’s been pretty well established around these parts that I’m a crack baker—and modest to boot!—but there are times when I even amaze myself with a recipe and OHMYGOD THIS IS ONE OF THOSE TIMES THESE LEMON MUFFINS YOU GUYS. These lemon muffins are a goddamned revelation, is what they are.
These lemon muffins are stupid easy, and stupid easy is one of my requirements for summer baking. Look, if I’m going to turn the oven on, I’m not going to futz around with forethought (AHEM SOFTENING THE BUTTER AHEM) nor with a whole bunch of dishes that need washing up, thanks. Also there will be no “12 easy steps” here. Three steps. Maybe four. Because COME ON it’s SUMMER and I’ve got important sweating to do and a torrid affair with various forms of ice to rekindle and a whole iPod full of Bob Marley to listen to. IMPORTANT THINGS. TORRID AFFAIRS. PRIORITIES. ETC.
You’ll basically need a bowl, a spoon and a muffin tin for this bad boy. Bowl & spoon recipes are kind of the best thing going, aren’t they? They are, that wasn’t even really a question. Okay, so let’s get our bowl and our spoon and some sort of measuring device out and get going. Hut hut, bikinis on, everyone in the pool!
Step 1. WET THINGS! Melt a stick of butter and stir it into 1 cup of sugar. Grate in the zest of one lemon, then stir in 2 eggs until fully incorporated and when you’re done with that stir in ½ cup of milk (any type—full, 2%, skim, cow, goat, soy, thistle, whatever).
Step 2. DRY THINGS! Stir this stuff into your Wet Things: 1½ cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and a ½ teaspoon of salt.
Step 3. OPERATIONS THINGS! Do you have paper liners for your muffin tin? Fantastic, cuts down on cleaning. No? Git yer Pam out and spray them thar cups down. (Why am I Yosemite Sam all of a sudden?) Fill the muffin cups about ¾ of the way full with batter—this will be enough for 12 muffins. (You can also make the recipe as a loaf but I have to impress upon you that it really shines in muffin form.) Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes (50-60 minutes for a loaf)—the 22 minute mark is my stopping point for whatever that’s worth. Cool for five minutes and then poke holes (the bigger the better! The tighter the sweater, the boys etc. etc.) on the top of the muffins/loaf. I use the end of a wooden spoon but I think you’re grown up enough now that you can find a utensil that suits you just fine.
Step 4. OKAY FINE YES THERE IS A FOURTH STEP! The reason you poked holes in the muffins is because you’re going to pour a lemon syrup over the top of them, which will go into the holes and infuse the whole shebang with lemony, sugary awesomeness. To make the lemon syrup, heat ¼ cup sugar with the juice of one lemon until the sugar has dissolved. I like to use the BIGGEST LEMON I CAN FIND so that there’s a lot a lot of zest in the batter and lemon juice in the syrup, and so if you only have small lemons I would say to use two of ‘em, both for zesting purposes and for your syruping needs. Oh and since this is The Awl and around these parts we like our booze, if you would like to substitute ¼ cup of Limoncello I am certainly not going to dissuade you from doing so.
Okay that’s all really! Oh my God these lemon muffins are so freaking great. These lemon muffins manage to be light and rich all at the same time. Your people will love you for these lemon muffins.
THESE LEMON MUFFINS.
Jolie Kerr really shines in muffin form.
Photo by notahipster, from Flickr.