Monday, 19 March 2012

Muffin Monday: Honey Lemon Olive Oil Muffins

After what feels like an achingly long 2.5 months away from the Muffin Monday community, I have made a comeback this week, joining the crew in making some Honey Lemon Olive Oil muffins with Lemon Glaze. I've missed you guys! 

With a little extra (and rare) downtime on my hands last week, I emailed Anuradha to see what the week's recipe was, and was delighted to see that these muffin contained so many of my favourite things.

There are few flavours I love more than lemon. Lemon anything and I'm in. I typically buy the large lemons at the grocery store, but considering Meyer lemons are still in season in the US right now, I thought I'd give those a try. What a difference! Their juice was much darker, and their flavour that much richer. They were also much softer and easier to squeeze. Considering lemons don't exactly thrive in this part of the world, the Meyers were a wonderful new discovery for me. As if my first (and thus far, last) batch of lemon curd wasn't already good and luscious enough, I couldn't help but wonder how much better it'd taste using Meyers. 

My other addiction? Cranberries. It's why I make that dang Spiced Cranberry Bundt so often. I can't get enough of the tart little beauties, so I threw some into this recipe, too. It was such a bright and sunny flavour combination! In keeping with the theme of using local ingredients in this recipe - lemons aside - I dipped into my frozen stock of cranberries I scored from the Noggins Corner stall at the market back in January.

As for the topping, I was inspired by a dessert F. and I had in Toronto a few weeks back, at a place called Pure Spirits in the Distillery District. We shared some sugar beignets, sitting prettily on a bed of lemon curd and topped with toasted, crispy lemon zest. I had never thought to toast lemon zest before trying it this way, and nearly caught the house on fire in the process! Luckily I had bought a whole bag of lemons, so I started over and managed to get something similar to what we had at Pure Spirits. (Note: If you try this at home, do not - do not - take your eyes off the zest! It can catch in an instant! My first batch had glowing embers when I looked away for 20 seconds!)

As if I didn't already love this recipe enough, I really liked that it was slightly healthier, too. With the additions of honey and olive oil, and significantly less sugar and fat content than is usually found in muffins, it's definitely heading in the right direction. I've been rebuilding my relationship with the gym over the past few weeks, and baking infinitely less than I was in 2011 (much to F.'s dismay!), so any help in the healthy baked goods department is most welcome around here.

While certainly not the prettiest muffins I've ever made (what happened to my domes?), they certainly were a spongey and brightly-flavoured addition to my breakfast this morning. And, honestly, it was really nice to be back in my kitchen baking muffins.

Honey, Cranberry, Lemon & Olive Oil Muffins with Lemon Glaze

Adapted from Pinch My Salt

Makes 12 muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup honey (preferably local)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)

2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 cup frozen cranberries


1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons toasted lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick baking spray or line with paper cups (spray the inside of the cups with baking spray to prevent muffins from sticking to the paper).

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Set aside. In a separate medium bowl, combine honey, sugar, olive oil, buttermilk, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Whisk together until well combined.

Pour liquid ingredients and cranberries into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon just until all of the flour is incorporated. Don’t overmix. Divide batter between muffin cups using a large spoon or mechanical ice cream scoop – the cups should be mostly full.

Bake for 17 – 21 minutes or until the center of a muffin springs back lightly to the touch or a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Check early and watch carefully, they will brown fast.

While muffins are baking, make glaze and toast your lemon zest. WATCH CAREFULLY! It takes very little time and can burn very easily.

Let muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack. Brush the tops of the muffins with glaze while they are still warm and sprinkle with toasted zest. Let cool completely.

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.


  1. WOOHOOO! So glad to have you back Aimee! The MM gang missed you too!

    I love the idea of toasted zest and cranberries. Absolutely divine.

  2. these look yum, domes or no domes. i also have taken a muffin hiatus and its been horrible. both on me and on Ivica:)

  3. welcome back we missed you! toasted lemon zest sounds so brilliant i'm going to have to try this. and i agree with you, put lemon in it and I'm there love lemon!

  4. There you are!!! Where have you been? We've missed you for Muffin Monday :) Your muffins this week look divine! Love the addition of cranberry. Yum! And I've never had toasted lemon zest before.... that's a must try. Great muffins!

  5. Yum! These look delicious! Lemons and cranberries, are two of my fave things too.

  6. You and lemony treats...both so lovely!

  7. I adore citrus! These muffins are terrifiic!

  8. Hello :) I loved having discovered your blog! I love the photos, the way you write :). very cool :).Well, what do you think we can follow each other? tell me something, I liked! kisses and until soon I hope :)

  9. Toasted lemon zest - who would have thought of that?! Got lots of lemons in the fridge at the mo, must try them out! They sound delish! Hope the not so new job's going swell!

  10. ah-mazzzzzing Aimee!! Will be making.