In search of the razza-za-zoo

Raspberries are sacred to me. They are. They really really are. I don’t just throw them into anything (except my mouth). And it takes a lot for me to bake a raspberry. Baking a raspberry is like melting ice cream. Sure it still tastes good, but why wouldn’t you just eat it in its original and perfect form? WHY? WHY WOULDN’T YOU DO THAT?

lemon raspberry muffins 1

Well, I baked some. A lot of them. I just closed my eyes and did it, because I need to learn how to function like a normal human being (allegedly) and not someone who Just Can’t Bake That Raspberry No Don’t Make Me Do It. Because people like that end up in crazy houses, screaming about how the lamp has been taunting them for the past 3 hours.

lemon raspberry muffins 2

Plus this recipe, on paper, really spoke to me. It doesn’t MESS with the raspberry, it just bakes it. At least I didn’t have to muddle them, or mix them with sugar, or otherwise taint their inherent perfection. I just warmed them and then cooled them. No harm no foul, right?

lemon raspberry muffins 3

And I was really looking forward to them in combination with what I thought was going to be the most lemony muffin ever. In practice this muffin was lemony, sure, but it wasn’t LEMONY. I don’t have any theories on how to fix the issue (except, surprise, add more lemon!), I just want to complain about it, because it’s that kind of day.

Because I put 4 tsps of lemon zest in there like it told me to, and internet, that is a lot of lemon. It was 2.5 whole lemons’ worth of zest. Maybe I’m just expecting too much of this recipe (probably). Maybe I just feel like, if you have to cook the raspberry, the supporting cast should be fucking PHENOMENAL. And I thought it was a decent muffin. I mean, I ate like 18 of them, so clearly my Discerning Taste didn’t find many issues. I just wanted to be wowed. Zazzed. PaPOWed.

lemon raspberry muffins 4

My [anonymous] friend is starting her own blog about her dating exploits. We were brainstorming about possible titles (for the record, if I started one it would be called How to React Appropriately When the 35 Year Old Man You Just Made Out With Says You Taste Like a Bacon-Wrapped Hotdog And Other Dating Tips) and she mentioned this scene from Sex in the City where Carrie is explaining what she’s looking for. That spark. That somethin somethin. That za-za-zoo. THAT’S what I wanted.

As much as I hate to take advice from Carrie-fucking-Bradshaw (hate that lady), she’s onto something. As it applies to baking. Show me the motherlovin za-za-zoo. And while I’m being all asky, if you want to show it to me in the dating world, I wouldn’t be opposed to that either.

Raspberry-Topped Lemon Muffins
via SmittenKitchen who adapted it from Susan Elizabeth Fallon via Bon Appetit, July 2006

Yield: 14 large or 56 miniature muffins

1 1/8 cups sugar, divided
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel (from two large lemons)  <–kat used 2 and a HALF, yo
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 1/2-pint containers (about) fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 14 standard muffin cups (or 56 minis) with paper liners. Mash 1/8 cup sugar and lemon peel in small bowl until sugar is slightly moist. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat remaining 1 cup sugar and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg. Beat in buttermilk, then vanilla and lemon sugar. Beat in flour mixture.

Divide batter among muffin cups (the 2/3-3/4 level worked well for minis). Top each large muffin with 4 raspberries (or mini muffins with one each). Bake muffins until lightly browned on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes (baking time was on the shy side of 20 minutes for mini muffins).

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