A few weeks ago I was digging through a box of books in my apartment and I came across my Huckleberry cookbook. I bought the cookbook a a few years ago when I was living in D.C. but dreaming of visiting Southern California, where Huckleberry bakery is located.
Flash forward a couple years to me walking down the streets of Santa Monica, getting more and more excited as I approached Huckleberry bakery. It really was a dream come true, as were many parts of that extended Southern California trip in Fall 2017. I spent an hour at Huckleberry eating pastries, drinking tea, and feeling pretty invincible.
Flash forward to this month, when I’m mostly hibernating inside as winter rages on in St. Louis. Today it’s snowing AGAIN, and I’m back to my usual place on the couch with a big flannel blanket over me, contemplating making another cup of chamomile tea.
It’s moments like this when I start dreaming of Southern California, so it’s probably no accident that I found my Huckleberry cookbook earlier this month. When I opened it, the first recipe I saw was one for lemon cornmeal muffins with lemon glaze. Done, I thought. If I can’t bring myself to Santa Monica, I can bring Santa Monica to me.
These muffins are a joy to make and even more fun to eat. They come together quickly and bake up beautifully, so when you take them out of the oven, they’re like little beacons of sunshine. The lemon glaze on top adds some sweetness. The lemon garnish is just a recommended touch, so if you’re not a fan, leave them off. I think they look cute on top though.
A key to making these muffins is not overmixing. If you overmix muffin batter, it will result in muffins that are dryer and harder. Even though the muffins are light and fluffy as a result of the ricotta in the batter, they could become waaay worse if you overmix. A good rule of thumb is to mix until the batter just comes together and then stop.
I brought these into the office earlier this week and they were a big hit. Everyone had a couple, including me, and the first thing that my coworkers noticed besides the bright lemon flavor was the cornmeal. It’s a nice change of pace to have a corn muffins as opposed to a regular muffin. The lemon and corn flavors go well together and the cornmeal balances the acidity of the lemon.
Make these muffins as soon as possible. They’re perfect for snowy winter days when you’re dreaming of sunshine but all you get is snow. They’re also a good reminder that even though winter can be brutal, eventually spring will come.
Here’s a song to get you started on your lemon cornmeal muffin journey.
Lemon Cornmeal Muffins with Lemon Glaze (from Huckleberry)
for the muffins:
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp/190 g unsalted, cubed butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp/190 g granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
zest of 4 lemons, plus 2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 1/2 tbsp/70 ml canola oil
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups/215 g all-purpose flour
3/4 cup/120 g cornmeal
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cup/400 g ricotta
for the glaze:
1 cup/120 g powdered sugar
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp heavy cream
lemon wheels for garnish
To make the muffins: Position a rack near the top of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Line two 12-cup muffins pans with 18 paper liners, spacing them out evenly between the two pans.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar, salt, and zest on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until the butter looks nice and fluffy. Incorporate the eggs slowly, one at a time, beating well after each addition on medium speed. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well.
Slowly pour in the canola oil, maple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla. Scrape the sides again. Add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and ricotta. Mix cautiously, just until incorporated. Please don’t overmix!
Fill the muffin cups three-quarters full. Bake for about 18 minutes, until the muffins just barely spring back to the touch.
When you take the muffins out of the oven, begin to make your glaze: Sift the powdered sugar into a medium mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and whisk until free of lumps. Add the cream and whisk until incorporated.
Spread the glaze on each muffin with an offset spatula or butter knife. This is best to do when they muffin is still warm. Garnish each with a lemon wheel, if desired.
These keep beautifully, wrapped tightly, at room temperature, for up to 2 days.