Apricot & Goat Cheese Muffins
Ok so, full disclosure, I have absolutely no funny or touching anecdote to tie into this week’s recipe. Sometimes I bake things not because it’s what momma used to make, reminds me of my travels, or a specific era of my life but, frankly because it looks damn good. I tried, I really tried, even attempting to plot a connection between these muffins and the decline of shopping malls in America (not kidding.) But as creative and kooky as I can be, even on my best day, this proved to be a stretch too far even for my mind. And don’t worry, the mall post will happen.
The recipe for these muffins comes from a new (to me) magazine, Eating Well. Passed along by Ash in the throes of my recovery, it sat and sat and sat in a basket by the bed until one day I woke up and my capacity for thinking, dreaming and plotting about food had suddenly returned.
I flipped the pages and many recipes jumped out but no more than one for whole wheat fig muffins stuffed with a mixture of goat cheese, honey and lemon zest. Maybe it was the wholesome ingredients or the gooey goat cheese core that drew me in. Or perhaps, when coming home to a part of yourself from which you’ve been absent too long, it’s best to start with a good breakfast.
The original recipe calls for chopped dried figs but I subbed in dried apricots as I adore the flavor and punch of bright color it lends to the whole wheat interior. I imagine these would also be divine with cranberries or raisins. Be sure to serve these warm or at least room temperature as the goat cheese center tends to lose its goo factor otherwise. For those (crazy) goat cheese averse, cream cheese would work nicely here as well.
Apricot & Goat Cheese Muffins
Adapted from Eating Well Magazine
3/4 cup crumbled soft goat cheese
2 Tbs honey
1 tsp lemon zest
1 1/4 tsps vanilla extract
2 cups white whole-wheat flour (King Arthur makes a great one)
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups dried apricots, chopped
Turbinado/coarse sugar, for sprinkling (I used Sugar in the Raw brand)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese, honey, lemon zest and 1/4 tsp of the vanilla. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat together the eggs, egg white, brown sugar and remaining 1 Tb of vanilla until smooth. Slowly whisk in the buttermilk and oil then pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until combined.
4. Scoop 1 Tb of batter into each muffin cup. Top with a heaping tsp of the goat cheese mixture and scoop remaining batter on top – muffin cups will be fairly full. Make sure goat cheese mixture is completely covered, spreading top batter layer around gently with a knife if necessary. Sprinkle tops with turbinado sugar.
5. Bake 13-15 minutes until the edges and tops are lightly brown. Let cool in the pan 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. Muffins will keep 2-3 days at room temperature or wrap them individually in plastic wrap and freeze. To defrost, remove plastic wrap and microwave for 30-45 seconds.