Friday, February 20, 2015

Lemon-Cranberry Ricotta Mini Muffins

Sorry guys, but I have lots of Ricotta cheese leftover from the hearty Vegetable Lasagna I made the other week, as well as the spicy, flavorful Stuffed Shells dish I made over the weekend. We don't waste ingredients in our house, so I had to find another recipe to use the Ricotta in. I love me some Italian comfort food, so this is happy news for me!! But I did run out of pasta sauce, so I decided my leftover Ricotta had to go into something other than a cheesy, baked noodle dish. I searched and found a recipe for Tuscan Lemon Muffins from Cookinglight.com. What makes the muffins "Tuscan" you ask? Good question... I asked the same thing. Well, if you can believe it or not, this recipe uses lemon, Ricotta cheese AND olive oil! Three very Italian flavors in one muffin. Of course I had to try it...


All I have to say about these mini muffins is, wow.... just WOW. I am going to use Ricotta cheese in my baked goods way more often. Using Ricotta cheese makes these muffins SUPER moist and chewy... just the way I like my baked goods!


To mix up the original recipe a bit, I added dried cranberries to the batter for some extra tartness and reduced the amount of sugar. And instead of making regular-sized muffins, I decided to go to mini-muffin route. I like not having to commit to a whole muffin... although these Lemon-Cranberry Ricotta Mini Muffins are so delicious, I end up eating the equivalent (or more) of a regular-size muffin. YUM!

Super moist and chewy, lemony and tart (with a hint of sweetness), and bite-size; this muffin recipe is a keeper! Not to mention, these muffins are great way to use up that leftover Ricotta cheese...

Lemon-Cranberry Ricotta Mini Muffins
based on a recipe from www.myrecipes.com
makes 24 mini muffins

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups ounces all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup dried cranberries
Cooking spray
1-2 tablespoons sugar (for topping)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt); make a well in center. Combine ricotta and next 5 ingredients (through egg). Add ricotta mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in dried cranberries.

3. Spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Divide batter among muffin cups. Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp. sugar over batter. 


4. Bake at 375° for 11-13 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack.


These mini muffins are so good, I ate about 4 right out of the oven!! I stored the muffins in an airtight container in the fridge, but found they were much better at room temperature (probably due to the amount of olive oil in them).


YUMMMMMMMMM! I love this Lemon-Cranberry Ricotta Mini Muffins recipe I created. Bite-size and portable, they make a great grab-and-go breakfast or snack! They might be small in size, but these muffins are BIG in lemony, tart flavor.

Go here for another version of this recipe that uses yogurt and applesauce (instead of ricotta and olive oil). My recipe for Lemon Cranberry Yogurt Mini-Muffins is similar in flavor and texture, but lower in calories and fat.

Enjoy!

Janel

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