Good Sunday morning!!

It’s the start of the second full day of the London 2012 Olympics and I’ve got a pot of coffee brewed, ready to settle in for a morning of swimming (go Rebecca Addlington!) and men’s volleyball.  The men’s swimming absolutely blew me away yesterday with Ryan Lochte taking the Men’s 400 IM.  I’m hoping that Michael Phelps has a better day in the pool and a better Games, overall. And the women’s soccer – the first UK women’s Olympic soccer team nailed their match against Cameroon yesterday as did the US team against Columbia – both of them with a score of 3-0.  So, yes, I’m cheering for both the Team USA and Team GB, my adopted home.

To celebrate the opening ceremony on Friday, I baked two Summertime Cakes to take to the office as a treat for my company.  A lot of my colleagues have been working their cotton socks off to get ready for the launch of the Games, so I wanted to make something a little celebratory.  Of course, the result is leftover fruit – in this case, a couple of nectarines and some raspberries.  And, as everyone knows, raspberries can go from being lovely and bright and juicy one day to grey and furry the next, the little bastards.  So, before my fridge started looking like an Alexander Fleming experiment gone wrong, I thought I’d use them up.

I had raspberries and nectarines – if you have blueberries, peaches, or strawberries, feel free to substitute them, instead. That’s the fun thing with this kind of recipe – the base of it is a lovely, light and refreshing flavor that complements pretty much any summer fruit.  This makes two dozen muffins, so if you are just feeding the family, it’s easy to halve (or not!).

Midsummer Madness Muffins

  • 1 1/3  cup granulated sugar
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 oz butter, melted
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 nectarines (or peaches or even a few plums), pitted and diced into 1/2″ dice
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups berries

Preheat oven to 400 F and prepare two dozen muffin cups with paper liners.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the sugar with the zest of two lemons until it’s nice and light and lemony.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until thoroughly combined, then pour into a large, wide bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients – the melted butter, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice and vanilla extract, using a whisk to blend until smooth.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and give a couple of stirs before adding the fruit.  Mix only until there is still just a trace of dry ingredients left – it is absolutely crucial that you don’t overmix so that your muffins have a large, irregular crumb.  Put a huge, heaping tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup – it should be about 3/4 full – then pop into the oven and bake about 20 minutes until golden on top.

NOTE:  I know that there are some popular TV chefs who say that you can mix everything before you go to bed, then just pour the batter in the cups and bake in the morning.  Now, I realize that they have a TV show and I don’t, but chemistry is chemistry, regardless of who you are – and the baking powder starts reacting the minute it makes contact with the wet ingredients.  So, if you’d like to do as much prep as possible before you go to bed, measure and mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients, but don’t mix them together (hey, you’ll need something to do while the oven is heating, anyway).  Your family will thank you for lighter and fluffier muffins.

Midsummer madness muffins in the early morning light