Bake: Lemon-Cardamom Muffins

The idea for this recipe started in Florence.  My friend Julia made some lemon-cardamom cookies while we were there (which is quite a feat, since one cannot find baking soda or baking powder anywhere in Florence).  I found a recipe for make-ahead lemon-poppy seed muffins from Cooks Illustrated, and with a few substitutions, I had moist and savory lemon-cardamom muffins!  I had some leftover lemon curd (recipe courtesy of Joy of Baking) from a lemon layer cake I made over the weekend for J's birthday, so I used that as a topping.

Lemon-Cardamom Muffins
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour (plus chilling overnight)
Yield: 12 muffins

5 eggs (3 eggs + 2 eggs)
juice of 3 lemons
2.5 tbsp lemon zest (1 tbsp + 1.5 tbsp)
1.75 c sugar (0.75 c + 1 c)
14 tbsp unsalted butter (4 tbsp + 10 tbsp)
3 tsp fresh-ground cardamom (about 0.33 c cardamom pods)
15 oz all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1.5 c plain low-fat yogurt
0.5 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder

(1) In a double boiler over low heat, mix the lemon juice, 3 eggs, and 0.75 c sugar

(2) Stirring constantly, heat mixture until it thickens and sticks to the back of a spoon (about 15 minutes)

(3) Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer

(4) Stir in 1 tbsp zest and 4 tbsp butter, cut into small-ish squares, until melted

(5) Cover and refrigerate until fully chilled

(6) Remove cardamom seeds from pods

(7) Grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle; repeat steps 6 and 7 as needed, until you have a 3 tsp of ground cardamom

(8) Whisk together flour, cardamom, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 1.5 tsp zest

(9) In a separate bowl, beat, at medium-high speed, 10 tbsp butter with 1 c sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes

(10) Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg

(11) Reduce mixer speed to medium-low; add one-third of the flour, followed by one-third of the yogurt, etc. until all flour and yogurt incorporated - **mix only enough to be incorporated - do not over-mix!**

(12) Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray

(13) Evenly portion the batter into the muffin tin

(14) Coat plastic wrap with non-stick spray; wrap muffin tin and refrigerate until morning

(15) In the morning: preheat oven to 375 degrees, with rack in the middle-low position

(16) Remove muffins from refrigerator, unwrap, and bake for 25 minutes

(17) Let cool in pan for 5-10 minutes

(18) Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack (don't worry, you can eat them when they're still warm too)

(19) Serve with lemon curd

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What was cooking this time last year?

Notes: In step (11) it is very important to not over-mix the batter.  Over-mixing will cause too much gluten to develop and make the muffins tough.  For portioning the muffins into the tin, I find that an ice cream scoop works best.  The lemon curd can be made up to 3 days in advance.  You'll have plenty leftover, which can be used as a topping for toast, made into lemon bars, a filling for a lemon meringue pie, a topping for ice cream, etc.


lpruzansky said...

The muffins were amazing and the lemon curd was delicious!

Anonymous said...

looks wonderful. would love to try one.
posted a recipe for bread pudding the other day.

NergySaver said...

This sounds wonderful. Has anyone made these gluten free?

MJX said...

@NergySaver -- not to my knowledge. However, I recommend Mr. Ritt's Gluten Free Flour Mix for a cup-for-cup substitution in baking. I've made cake/cupcakes with that flour before without issue (see here and here). The muffins are quite moist already, but you may want to up the yogurt by 1/4 cup just to be safe.

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