Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tuscan Lemon Muffins... and a poem by Liv!

What's the difference between a muffin and a cupcake??  Snacking on Tuscan Lemon Muffins from Cooking Light's latest issue, I posed that very question to Liv and her friend Piper as we drove to dance a few days ago.

Having recently written a biography on the esteemed Dr. Seuss, Liv phrased her response below:

Lemon Muffins are Something Nobody Can Beat

What's the difference between a muffin and a cupcake?
The Easter Bunny tells me they are pretty easy to make.

Is it the frosting that sets them apart?
Or that a cupcake could be a work of art...

Or is it some muffins are as plain as can be
yet this one is something special, can't you see?

Lemon and sugar are the very best, 
now it's time to put them to the test.

As Piper and I took our very first bite
our eyes were quickly shiny and bright.

The flavor and taste were quite a score
and we found ourselves reaching for more!

That is something nobody can beat
and to think that I tasted it on Valley Middle School Street!

So there you have it, Lemon Muffins that can't be beat!  Filled with lemon juice (hmmm... wonder if I could have used my Limoncello there?? :)  ) and lemon zest, tenderized with a helping of ricotta cheese and made slightly more healthy with a dose of whole grain spelt flour these muffins seem to blur the lines between muffins and cupcakes.  While both girls declared them "most definitely muffins", they are truly a sweet treat.

Happy Easter, my friends!  May your day be filled with love and treats!

Don't forget to check out Becky's, Baking and Cooking a Tale of Two Loves, online bake sale which is set for May 2nd.  We are donating a bottle of our Limoncello along with some of our favorite Lemon Biscotti.

Tuscan Lemon Muffins
adapted from Cooking Light, May 2011
Light and tender with a slight sugary crunch, these Lemony Treat brighten the day! 

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup spelt flour (may sub A/P Flour)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
generous 1 Tbs lemon zest
2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
cooking spray
2 Tbs raw sugar

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, leveling with a knife.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, whisking to combine.

In a smaller bowl, combine the ricotta through egg, again, whisking to mix.  Add the ricotta mixture to the flour mixture, mixing just until moist.
Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.  Spoon the batter into the muffin tin and sprinkle with raw sugar.  Bake at 375º for about 15 minutes, or until a wooden ick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan and place on a wire rack.

Makes 12 full size muffins or 12 mini and 6 full size.

Note:  Did you know that Dr. Suess' first manuscript was rejected 27 times??  As he was walking home to burn it he bumped into an old college friend who just happened to be recently hired at a publishing company.  Vanguard Press accepted his first book, And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street, leading Seuss to popularity and bringing books that many of us grew up with.  What's your favorite Seuss book??


  1. That poem is so adorable. Muffins are breakfast cupcakes :) Your lemon muffins look delicious. Happy Easter Kim!

  2. Happy Easter Kim! Your daughter is so talented: dancer, cook and poet all rolled into one beautiful girl.

    Great muffins. I like that they are unadorned except for the sugary crust.

  3. Your daughter is quite a poet :)! I always asked the same question but now I simply think that cupcakes normally have got icings, unlike muffins.

  4. What perfect muffins...and Liv is right, time to put them to the test~

  5. Beautiful muffins! I prefer muffins to cupcakes as they are healthier. However, I must admit the cupcakes could look much prettier with fancy frosting.

  6. My friend, your Liv is quite the star
    With rhyming words she's well above par
    As for you and your muffins, well I can attest
    Your lemon creation is simply the best!

    Well done :)

  7. Haha! I love it! The muffins sound amazing and your poem is awesome! (p.s... Dr. Seuss was from my hometown!). Happy Easter!

  8. I have a 7:15 AM meeting this week that I told everyone I would bring breakfast to. These will be on the menu.

  9. Love, love lemon! These look just divine and a must try. Happy Easter!!

  10. Lemon is my favorite lately! I would love one of your muffins and a glass of lemoncello :) It has been something I've been thinking of making often lately...I need to just get to it already :) PS: Love the poem and happy Easter :)

  11. Perfect muffins and I love your poem too!Great photos too!

  12. Aaah your daughter is so cute! Love her poem. These muffins look delish, I love lemon flavored anything.

  13. Ha! Love Liv's poem!! She's so talented!

    I saw these muffins in CL and was wondering how they were. Its great to hear you all liked them. They look delicious and so nice and light and summery! I love the picture with the espresso!

  14. These sound wonderful! Everything about them from the lovely color to the ricotta and of course the most important part, the lemon! I would love one of these with some tea :)!

  15. Would definitely try limoncello in this. Spring, lemon, ricotta - it all sings. But the poem sings the sweetest.

  16. I think those 'cuffins' look so divine
    For just one bite, I'd stand in line
    And if I didn't mention it, it would be a crime,
    That your lovely daughter has the gift of rhyme

    :) a really beautiful post... made me smile! Thank you for sharing :)

  17. Happy Easter! And I love Liv's poem. Such a talented daughter you have.

  18. They look so heavenly! I adore citrusy desserts!

  19. Oh my goodness...another lemon sweets (remember I told you how much I love to make your Limoncello Lemon Cake...). I enjoyed reading Liv's poem and she's so talented! I wish I can have a bite right now... great pictures!

  20. I love everything lemon and these sound amazing. My absolute favorite Dr. Seuss book is Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. I used to read it to my girls every night.

  21. Liv is so funny! I dunno, some muffins are too cupcakey for my liking, too sweet. Muffins should *seem* healthier, even if they are not. But these lemon muffins look amazing. I am buzzing for sure!

  22. What a cute poem. :) These muffins look so good. I love anything with lemon!

  23. I didn't know it that Liv was also a poet. Lovely poem. What a talented girl! Fantastic looking muffins and lemon is a great idea for Easter. Hm. Forgotten the American comedian but he referred to muffins as bald cupcakes :-) Hope you're all enjoying Easter!

  24. Kim is a poet, on that we agree,
    Her words are as sweet as her muffins,
    Of which I'll confess I'd eat at least three,
    Or two more for a good breakfast stuffin!


  25. Love the muffins with the Limoncello! So Springy.
    Thanks for the shout out about the bake sale. 29 Bakers and counting!

  26. Haha oh Liv, she is just such a sweetie! I love her little poem!

    These muffins look amazing Kim, so refreshing and that lemon just makes me want Spring to be here sooo badly. Lemon just screams Spring to colorful and fresh.

  27. Liv is a dancer AND a poet! How cute! These muffins are so elegant looking. I just know I would love them and just like Liv and Piper my eyes would be shiny and bright after tasting them. :-)

    P.S. I woould be curious about the Limoncello, too. :-)

  28. Oh Kim... You and Liv are such and awesome team! These muffins look great, and Liv I LOVED your poem! You are one super creative girl, just like your Mom!

  29. These lemony muffins are adorable! A truly perfect breakfast treat :)

  30. Ok after reading Liv's poem (and smiling) how can I not try out this muffin recipe? Plus, being called "Tuscan Lemon" makes them irresistible!

  31. These muffins look too good to pass up....yummy!:)

  32. That poem was super cute..and those muffins are just irresistable..congrats on the top 9

  33. These look awesome - can't wait to try them!

  34. Sorry abt double commenting - Congrats on being #1 on Foodbuzz! That's so cool :) :) And thank you for your very thoughtful comment on my post :)

  35. These look so fresh and light and delicious!

  36. Liv is just too cute! That poem definitely brought a smile to my face!

    And these muffins look absolutely stellar! Growing up, I never liked lemon-flavored baked goods. I don't know what I was thinking (maybe they were too "adult" for me!)! Because now that I'm older, I can't get enough of that yellow citrus fruit!

  37. mmm these look sooo good! I will have to try them. I am loving lemon lately! Liv's poem is so sweet! congrats on the top 9

  38. мммм мммм мммм my word...that is a perfect muffin! And what a great poem to go with them! :) Go Liv! You have caught the 'writing bug' from your Mommy!

    Congratulations on making Top 1!!! I'm always so happy to see you up there!

  39. Number 1 on Top 9!!!! Go Liv!!!!!!!!!!! (and Mom!!) Woo hooooo!

  40. Great post, Kim! A beautiful recipe and a fantastic poem by Liv. Thanks to both of you for making my day!

  41. I can see why these made it to the top 9! They look sooo mois and yummy.

  42. They look perfect! I can almost taste them....almost...but I bey they taste even better than they look.

  43. Cute poem! And the muffins look yummy!

  44. Congratulations on your Top 9!!! Love the poem by the way. It sets the mood perfectly!

  45. Oh I sure do wish I had one of these heavenly muffins right now to eat with my green tea! Much deserved on the top nine!

  46. These are such happy little muffins with a happy little poem :) Congrats on top 9! By the way, my kiddo's told me I need to make this muffin since it was #1!

  47. Lovely recipe! You do mean Farenheit, right? And add water, lemon and the rest to ricotta, OK? I'm trying it, thank you!

  48. Too cute! The poem is adorable! And yes, the line is blurred sometimes between muffins and cupcakes. Sounds like these are a must-make and I'm saving this recipe so that I can try them soon. Love your note at the bottom--we can all use reminders that if we keep trying, we will achieve what we want most.

    Congrats on your Foodbuzz Today's Top 9! Well-deserved!

  49. These look so good, and the poem was wonderful too! Thanks for sharing, and congrats on the Top 9!

  50. Loved your poem! Haha, and thanks for the recipe.
    I love lemon muffins and I always love the delicacy that ricotta gives to baked goods. I'll definitely be making this. Thanks again! And you take quite beautiful pictures ;)

  51. Aw, how cute is that poem! And those muffins don't look too bad either! ;)


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