Happy July! You know what that means? The internet will drown in red, white, and blue foods for a week and Jason will sprain his side-eye before the holiday weekend at my obnoxious, overuse of the phrase “birthday month.” But it is my birthday month.
And if you’re already tired of looking at “patriotic” food that’s “absolutely perfect” for your weekend cookout, then you’re in luck. Because food can’t be patriotic. And muffins wouldn’t be my first choice to bring to a cookout either. (What would be? Banana pudding.)
But breakfast? TOTALLY DIFFERENT STORY.
Fresh cherries (I think I only have 10 lbs left!), blueberries, white chocolate chips, and fragrant lemon zest are mixed up into my favorite muffin batter for one of those could-go-either-way dessert-breakfast hybrids.
The base muffin recipe has been my favorite for years. The batter bakes up into beautiful domes and the addition of nonfat Greek yogurt keeps the muffin tender, moist for days, and lower in fat.
So go bake these muffins and do something *truly* patriotic this weekend – like making hot dogs and setting off small explosives!
Cherry, Blueberry, and White Chocolate Muffins
A tender, moist muffin bursting with fresh cherries, blueberries, and white chocolate.
21 muffin liners
3 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use fat-free Greek yogurt)
1 cup roughly chopped, pitted cherries (~3 dozen cherries)
1 cup blueberries
1 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 400.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in medium bowl; set aside.
Cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition followed by the vanilla.
Beat in half of dry ingredients, followed by a third of the yogurt.
Add remaining dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the yogurt, until incorporated.
Toss cherries, blueberries, and white chocolate chips with the remaining 2 Tbsp flour and then add to the mixer, mixing for just a few more seconds to distribute evenly (the batter will be very, very thick).
Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray or line with paper liners.
Divide the batter evenly among cups using a large cookie scoop (my scoop is ~2.25 inches across).
Bake for 10 minutes and then decrease oven temperature to 375 and bake for ~10-12 more minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing and cooling completely.
Will keep ~4 days in a covered cake plate, can be frozen.
Yields: ~21 muffins
Base muffin recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Let’s be honest here – anything more than salt, lemon, a little lime, and avocado isn’t really necessary to make guacamole. It’s pretty perfect, just like that. But that doesn’t mean you have to – or should – stop there. I know I almost never do.
For this year’s Cinco (Cuatro) de Mayo Bash, I was thinking of doing a “guacamole bar” al a my friend Josie with bowls of fun toppings for guests to top their own smashed perfection, things like:
Because I’ve yet to discover that line where “too much cilantro” is actually too much cilantro. (As long as chocolate isn’t involved, I’m not sure that line exists.)
For this batch, I took three of those ingredients: The kernels cut from two Mexican grilled corn cobs, some tangy goat cheese, and a couple slices of salty, smokey, crispy bacony bacon. And I made what was quite possibly the best guacamole combo ever. (You know, aside from “best guacamole ever” that is simply the bare minimum.)
Guacamole with Grilled Corn, Bacon, and Goat Cheese
Guacamole studded with grilled Mexican corn, tangy goat cheese, and smokey bacon.
My week to host Project Pastry Queen fell during Christmas so I picked the most Christmasy recipe I could find: Glazed Lemon-Cranberry Loaf Cake.
It’s “just” a small loaf cake scented with lemon zest, studded with fresh cranberries, and topped with a lemon syrup that soaks into the cake. I brought the cake to Christmas Eve dinner and it “just” went over really well.
I stayed true to the recipe but have no doubt it would work as beautifully with orange instead of lemon.
Glazed Lemon-Cranberry Loaf Cake
A moist lemony cake studded with fresh cranberries and glazed with a lemon syrup.
For the cake:
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 2/3 cup flour + 1 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup butter, at room temp
1 cup sugar (I reduced to 2/3 cup)
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk (I used 0% fage)
For the glaze:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 350.
Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
Toss the cranberries with 1 Tbsp flour and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
Add the eggs and lemon zest and beat until thoroughly combined.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half of the mixture and mix on low speed just until combined.
Add half of the milk and mix on low speed just until combined.
Add the remaining flour, mixing just until combined, and then the remaining milk.
Add cranberries and mix a few seconds longer.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake 45-60 minutes, until a skewer comes out with moist crumbs attached.
Cool the cake for 15 minutes and then remove it from the pan.
To make the lemon glaze, combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a boil for 30 seconds.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Gently pierce the top of the loaf cake many times with a toothpick.
Use a pastry brush to apply the warm glaze evenly over the top of the loaf.
Slice into ~10 slices to serve.
Store leftovers tightly wrapped, will keep ~3 days.
Citrus curd is one of those things that brings me absolute joy to make. 4 ingredients combined to make something so simple and beautiful. Patience isn’t really my thing – and Lord knows manual labor isn’t – but there’s something about the whole custard process and 10 minutes of whisking that I find very fulfilling. And then quite filling.
Meyer lemons aren’t as tart as “normal” lemons. This isn’t the lemon I put in my sweet tea. This isn’t the lemon I crack open for a tablespoon of juice in a recipe with a laundry list of ingredients. Meyers are special. They’re the lemons I use when the lemon is the star.
I absolutely love this recipe. It’s unique in that it uses the whole egg. It’s also easily adaptable for other citrus curds – it makes a mean grapefruit and key lime curd. We actually have a dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree but if you can’t get your hands on Meyer lemons – they’ve actually just shown up in my grocery store – “normal” lemons work just fine!
Its uses are almost limitless: spread it on toast, angel food cake, a cream scone, or use it to fill a white cake or a tart shell. The bright flavors can push those storm clouds away in a single bite. It really is something special.
Meyer Lemon Curd
A lemon curd recipe that uses the whole egg! Its uses are almost limitless: spread it on toast, angel food cake, a cream scone, or use it to fill a white cake or a tart shell.
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice (~4 lemons)
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 stick butter, cut into 4 pieces
Whisk the zest, juice, sugar, and eggs in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Add butter and whisk constantly, until thickened and smooth (a thermometer should read 160-170F).
Strain curd through a fine sieve set over another bowl. Serve warm or cover surface of curd with plastic wrap and cool completely.
Curd will keep over a week in the fridge in a jar.