Ricotta-Lemon Muffins

Preparation time: 10 minutes to prepare; 20 to 25 minutes to bake
Yield: About a dozen 2 1/2-inch muffins

My children love these easy, delicious, high-protein muffins as a quick breakfast "grab" on a rushed school morning. They also love finding these in their lunch bag or as an after-school snack. I make several batches of muffins, then store them in sealed plastic bags in the freezer. This way, I can pull out a muffin (or several) as needed. They defrost quickly, and are great split and toasted.

PROTEIN NOTE: To make these even higher in protein, you can substitute a good-tasting protein powder for 1/2 cup of the flour.

FLOUR NOTE: This recipe calls for part unbleached white flour and part whole wheat pastry flour, which is a very light, finely-milled whole wheat flour. If you can't find it, use all white flour.

Oil, butter, or oil-spray for the pans
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon minced lemon zest (heaping measure)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
5 to 6 tablespoons sugar
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F oven. Lightly oil, butter, or oil-spray 12 2-inch muffin cups.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, milk, melted butter, vanilla extract, lemon zest and juice, and sugar, and beat together until well-blended.
  3. In a second medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the wet mixture. Mix from the bottom of the bowl with just a few strokes until thoroughly combined. (Don't overmix.)
  4. Use a 1/3-cup measure with a handle– two soup spoons– scoop batter from the bowl into the prepared muffin cups. The cups should each be about 3/4-full.
  5. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted all the way into the center of a muffin in the middle of the pan.
  6. Remove from the oven, and cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing. Eat the muffins hot, warm or at room temperature.
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