Lemon Almond Ricotta Muffins, An Italian Family Recipe
Ricotta cheese lends these muffins a moist dense texture. Plus, the classic Italian pairing of citrus and almonds comes together delightfully making this a wonderful breakfast, dessert or snack.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, room temp
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, approx. 2 lemons
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 cup granulated or coarse sugar
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 350'F. Grease a normal size 12 cavity muffin pan.
- In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
- In a large bowl use electric beaters to blend the butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy.
- Beat the ricotta into the butter mixture. Now beat in the egg, lemon juice and almond extract.
- Stir in the dry ingredients just until blended. The batter should be very thick and sticky.
- Divide the batter into the twelve muffin spaces. I find it easiest to just get messy and use your hands.
- Sprinkle each muffin with the coarse sugar, then with sliced almonds. Gently press on the almonds to help them stick better during and after baking.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until pale golden. Serve warm or cool. Refrigerate left-overs.
A note on zesting a lemon
Before zesting remember to wash and dry your lemon. It is a myth that this will reduce the lemon flavor in any way.
I find it easiest to use a microplane for this (great for mincing garlic too) but you can also use a traditional zester or even a sharp knife or potato peeler. If anything other than a microplane is used be sure to further chop the zest until it is very fine.
Take care to only remove the zest from the lemon. This is the very outermost yellow layer. The white layer is called pith and is very bitter. Including the pith will cause the muffins to have an underlying bitterness.