Saturday, July 24th, 2010
I’ve had a serious lavender crush for some time now – lavender infused truffles, lavender whipped cream, lavender butter, rosemary lavender shortbread - like I said, it’s a pretty serious crush.
It all started at a wedding and with my dear friend, Amy, who was the mastermind behind a layer of lavender infused wedding cake. I had been dating Brian for just three months at the time, and we danced the night away, not quite knowing yet that it would be us walking down the aisle just three short months later (no, your math is not incorrect, we quite apparently followed this path).
I do not remember any of the other cake layers, or the cake icing, but I remember that layer of lavender cake…
moist, softly sweet, and deliciously infused with just a hint of beautiful, floral lavender.
Amy, being often more daring in her culinary endeavors than myself, and likely simply altogether more sophisticated, has long been infusing lavender into foods, and her list of lavender creations has only grown over time.
It was two winters ago when Amy was visiting that I first tasted these muffins. As former college roommates, Amy and I have always loved cooking together.
Let’s see – on that particular visit we made double chocolate scones (twice), apricot couscous (note to self – must post this recipe!), Romanian chicken and rice (this one too – so simple and comforting), homemade pasta (didn’t we, Amy? – or should I say, didn’t you?), strawberry lavender jam, lavender brownies, and these lemon lavender blueberry muffins.
These are very special little muffins. The base blueberry muffin recipe is courtesy of Alton Brown. It uses cake flour to create a perfectly light texture and fine crumb, and both baking soda and baking powder for a soft interior and lightly crisp crust. Yogurt adds both delicate flavor as well as acidity to leaven and lighten. There are no lack of blueberries within, and each muffin is dotted with additional blueberries, just for flair.
Alone this is a pretty awesome blueberry muffin.
But add the zest of three lemons and three teaspoons of crushed lavender, and what have you? Amazing, succulent, tangy floral berry wonderfulness – that’s what you’ve got. Flavors meant for each other – lemon, lavender and blueberry.
I think this could also easily be made into a loaf or sheet cake… drizzled with a concentrated lemon glaze? Ah, I think that would make Amy proud.
Nevertheless, it is quite amazing as little muffins, just like this, and little Jonathan can’t get enough of them – lucky him for falling for lavender well before his twenties – to think of all the lavender adventures that lie ahead!
Lemon lavender blueberry yogurt muffins
base blueberry muffin recipe found here
12 1/2 ounces cake flour (just under 2 3/4 cup)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
heavy pinch salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup yogurt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
zest of 3 lemons
3 teaspoons lavender buds
2 tablespoons ground pecans mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 380 degrees F. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
In a food processor or mini chopper, pulse sugar and lavender buds together until buds are crushed and dispersed throughout the sugar.
In a separate bowl, whisk together lavender infused sugar, oil, egg, and yogurt and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients, reserving one T of dry ingredients to toss with the blueberries. Stir just until dry ingredients are incorporated, add 1 cup of blueberries, and stir 3 more times. Reserve 1/2 cup of blueberries.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and then dot reserved blueberries on top, pressing down lightly. Sprinkle ground pecan mixture on top if desired.
Place muffins in the oven to bake and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for 15-18 minutes for mini muffins and 20 to 25 minutes for larger muffins, rotating pan halfway through.
Remove from heat and turn over and out, to cool completely. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.