Lemon Muffins with Strawberry Jam Centers

September 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

You may not believe this, but I have been baking and cooking a lot over the past few days. The problem is, all of my recipes have either turned out only okay (not good enough to pass along) or extremely unphotogenic (like these brownies, which tasted about a million times better than they looked). The chocolate chip pumpkin muffins I made were beloved by everyone who tried them, but I thought they were too dense, so I went on a research mission to make a light, fluffy muffin.

Apparently, there are a couple of things that make muffins dense, and both have to do with gluten. I’m sure you’ve heard about gluten-free diets, and yes, we are talking about the same kind of gluten, but gluten is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a protein in wheat that helps hold everything together and is activated by kneading or mixing dough. When I made the pumpkin muffins, I used all-purpose flour and ended up mixing the shit out of that batter, which is why I ended up with dense muffins. After some research, I knew I was going to change a few things for my next muffin adventure: 1) use a mixture of all-purpose flour and oat flour, because oat flour has a lower gluten content, and 2) fold the batter gently and as minimally as possible.

After deciding upon the technique, I had to choose what type of muffin to make. I’m pretty sure Brad is sick of pumpkin, so that was out. He doesn’t like nuts or seeds in his bread either, so no banana nut or morning glory. I made apple cinnamon muffins not long ago, so none of that, and I’m not really a fan of blueberry-infused baked goods either. I decided upon lemon muffins, but wanted to add something to make them a little more interesting.

Enter, my sister.

Disguised to protect the innocent.

My sister is amazing. She is one of my favorite people, and she would be yours too if you met her. Aside from being hilarious and able to charm everyone she meets, she takes care of developmentally challenged adults for a living, can give you the scientific name of a plant just by looking at a picture of it, and takes care of a robust garden of fruits and vegetables. A couple of weeks ago she gave me a jar of homemade strawberry jam, made of strawberries picked from her garden. Move over, Smuckers, you ain’t got shit on this girl.

Naturally, I deduced that adding the best strawberry jam ever to fluffy lemon muffins would be an excellent idea. And it was. Oh, how it was.

Lemon Muffins with Strawberry Jam Center
makes 12
adapted from allrecipes.com

Lemon on the outside, strawberry on the inside.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup oat flour (rolled oats processed into a powder in a blender)
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups yogurt (I used honey Greek)
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 grated lemon peel of 2 lemons
1 juice  of 2 lemons
1 tsp lemon extract
strawberry jam

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a larger bowl, stir the remaining ingredients (except the jam!) until well combined. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and fold together until just combined. Do not over-stir. Lumps are okay.

Spoon half the batter into a greased (or sprayed or filled-with-liners) 12 well muffin tin. Next, drop a spoonful of jam into each muffin. Distribute the remaining batter evenly between the muffins, on top of the jam. Bake at 375° for 15-18 minutes.

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