Ricotta Muffins

Muffins are pretty much my favorite food. Well, make that all breakfast baked goods. But muffins, my friend, top the charts.

I’ve had my eye on these muffins for a while now, and I’m glad I finally made them! The flavor is rather mild, but the hint of spices and the pecans on top give each bite something special, and occasionally reminded me a little bit of pecan pie. Because of the yogurt and absence of eggs, these muffins are dense, like a bakery muffin with half the fat. But by far and away the best things about these muffins is the sweet, crunchy cap and the subtle, creamy filling.

The main drawback to these muffins is that they are not the simplest breakfast food in the world (unlike oh, say…almost any other muffin). They require a lot of hands-on effort, and while none of the components are actually tricky, these are definitely best for  a plan-ahead or weekend breakfast treat.

First, toast up a large handful of pecans. In the oven, this takes just a few minutes and also allows you to do other things at the same time!

Sift together the dry ingredients. Yes, sifting is actually important here. Because these muffins are so dense, and the main thing holding them together is yogurt, they need a little extra help not to get tough or chewy.

Add in the yogurt and oil. I use plain Greek yogurt, which is thicker than regular yogurt, and I really liked the result, but if you want a lighter muffin, go ahead and use regular, low-fat yogurt. Stir until everything is well combined. Do not try to use a whisk to stir in the wet ingredients, as the yogurt will mainly get stuck inside the whisk rather than distributing through the batter.

Butter or oil each cup in a muffin tin. Using a large cookie scoop, fill each cup about halfway. The scoops will probably retain their shape, so press down until the entire bottom of each cup is covered and there is a little well in the center.

Stir together the ricotta and sour cream until smooth. Spoon a dollop into each muffin cup.

Top each muffin with the remaining batter. Flatten the tops slightly to cover the ricotta mixture better.

Sprinkle brown sugar and pecans over the tops of the muffins.

Bake for 25–30 minutes. The muffins will expand a lot and brown on the tops. They should be firm to the touch. Let them cool for 5 minutes before removing; you should be able to pull them right out of the tin with your hands.

Ricotta-Filled Muffins

adapted from SmittenKitchen
makes 12

Ingredients:
½ cup pecans
3 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
scant ¼ tsp. cinnamon
⅛ tsp. ground cloves
1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
¾ cup vegetable oil
½ cup whole milk ricotta
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup brown sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325°.
Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Shake the pan halfway through to ensure that the nuts toast evenly. Cool and chop for later.
Turn the oven up to 350°.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together to combine.
Make a large well in the center and pour in the yogurt and oil. Stir together the liquids and gradually draw in the dry ingredients, mixing until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, stir together the ricotta and sour cream.
Butter or oil a standard muffin tin. Using a 1″ scoop or a large spoon, fill each muffin cup just over halfway. Press down to spread the batter across the entire bottom of the cup, making sure to leave a little well in the center.
Spoon the ricotta mixture into the wells in the batter. Scoop the remaining muffin batter over the ricotta mixture and use the back of the scoop or spoon to spread it evenly.
Top each muffin with a little sprinkle of light brown sugar, followed by a small amount of the chopped nuts.
Bake for 25–30 minutes, until lightly brown and firm to the touch.

Enjoy!

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