Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lemon Muffins with Raspberry Jam Filling


Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between a cook and a chef. To me, a cook is someone who makes delicious food, but isn’t necessarily innovating. A chef, on the other hand, is someone who is inventive, boundary-pushing, and creative. I have always considered myself one of the former. My first instinct when cooking is to find a recipe. But, I find the more I cook, the easier innovation and creativity becomes.

Take this recipe, for example. I wanted to make muffins, but I felt bored by all the recipes I was seeing; banana nut, blueberry crumb, chocolate chip, the same old thing. The Meyer lemon tree in my backyard is in full fruit, so I started thinking citrus. I wanted to pair the citrus with another fruit, but didn’t want to just add frozen blueberries. A few more cookbooks led me to Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s jam filled oat bran muffins. Finally, after amalgamating a few different recipes I landed on these raspberry jam filled lemon muffins. So, while I may not be throwing recipes together with only my brain and my taste buds yet, I’m getting there.

Lemon Muffins with Raspberry Jam Filling

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
6 tablespoons water
1 cup unsweetened non dairy milk
1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Raspberry jam

Heat the oven to 400º F. Prepare your muffin tins with paper cups, or by lightly greasing.

In a small bowl, combine the milk and vinegar. Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. You just made vegan buttermilk!

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Blend together the water and flaxseed until it is thick and frothy. Add to the buttermilk mixture, along with the sugar, oil, vanilla, and lemon zest. Whisk thoroughly.

Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Scoop the batter into the muffin cups, filling each cup about half full. Add 1 teaspoon of jam to the very center of each muffin. Top with batter until each cup is 2/3 full. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Enjoy immediately, or over the next few days.

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