April 15, 2012

Lemon Ricotta Blackberry Muffins

I hate it when I buy an ingredient and plan on using it for one dish and then I don't end up making that dish and I still have the ingredient to use up.  That is what happened a few weeks ago with some Ricotta cheese.  I was going to make some skillet lasagna, but then ended up making regular spaghetti.  Then, I was going to make regular lasagna, but it didn't sound good anymore.  So, there sits this brand-new carton of Ricotta cheese in my fridge that is about to expire.  I try really hard to not waste ingredients, but I had no idea what to use that Ricotta for.

It couldn't have been more perfect timing.  I knew I had seen Giada make desserts using Ricotta before, so why not in a muffin?
I had frozen some fresh blackberries a few months earlier.  Once they had thawed, they were pretty wet and juicy.  You all know how I hate chunky berries in my muffins, so I pressed the blackberries through a fine-mesh strainer and then I swirled the juice into my muffins instead of adding whole chunks.  

These muffins are AMAZING! I would say they are in my top five BERRY muffins, right up there with these Old-Fashioned Blueberry Muffins and The Best Blueberry Muffins Ever.

The first day, they are light and fluffy and have an incredible flavor.  The next few days, they become a little more dense, but they are still moist and still have great flavor.  Adding the zest of two lemons might sound like a lot, but the end result only has a light lemon flavor and I think it is perfect.  
Lemon Ricotta Blackberry Muffins
(Printable Recipe)

2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
grated zest of 2 lemons
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. ricotta cheese (whole or low fat)
1 large egg
1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. fresh blackberries
turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest.  Rub the lemon zest and sugar together with your fingers.  Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar and lemon zest mixture together until light and fluffy.  Add the ricotta cheese and beat until smooth.  Beat in the egg, lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.  Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, fill each muffin cup half way with batter.  Add three blackberries to each muffin cup.  Top the muffins with remaining batter so blackberries are covered.  Generously sprinkle turbinado sugar over each muffin top.  Bake muffins for about 20 minutes or until the tops are slightly golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  Let muffins cool for five minutes and serve.    

Jenn's Notes: Like I said above, I pressed my blackberries through a fine-mesh strainer and swirled the juice into the muffins instead of adding whole berries.  I also combined some cinnamon and granulated sugar and sprinkled that over the top of each muffin instead of turbinado sugar.  You have to fill the muffin cups full in order to only get 12 muffins and not have extra.  I was worried they were going to spread a lot and get crunchy on top, but the top was my favorite part!  I am still eating these, four days later, and they still taste great!    

Adapted from: Two Peas and Their Pod as seen on A Southern Fairy Tale


  1. These look and sound phenomenal. I'm not into berry seeds in my muffins, so the mushing through the mesh strainer is brilliant!!

  2. I haven't tried baking with ricotta. Sounds like I need to try it...these sound yummy! :0)

  3. Oooh, these sound wonderful! Suppose I could use blueberries instead of blackberries?

    1. Blueberries would be fabulous in these! - Jenn

  4. As always another recipe that makes me want to go get all the ingredients right now. These look amazing ;)

  5. Yum! I don't like chunks of berries in my muffins either, so straining them and mixing the liquid into the batter is ideal for me!

  6. These look delicious - great idea to press the berries through a strainer!
    Thanks for sharing at Beautify It Monday!

  7. Oh do these look delicious. I have made her Lemon Ricotta Cake it was fantastic...these won't disappoint for sure. A Saturday morning treat, they will be!!

  8. Oh boy! I love lemon and this is right up my alley!
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. What's not to like about this one? lemon, ricotta, blackberries ~ yummy!

  10. Just so you know ricotta freezes perfectly. And when you defrost it,the texture and taste does not change.

    1. Very good to know! I will have to try it next time.

  11. Hi Jenn,

    Love your site, great job! We have the pleasure of Famous Dave's donates 15 Meals to the Ronald McDonald House of Buffalo frequently for the families of sick children to enjoy. I have been lucky to enjoy those Corn Muffins and so looking forward to trying your recipes! Thank you for your recipes!. I have made these from Giada's suggestion and love them. Something about a moist muffin that gives me that homey family feeling!

    Nanner :)