Raspberry Lemon Muffins


Fresh raspberries usually cost the earth, so I don’t even look at them in the grocery store most of the time. This week they were on sale for a dollar a package. I couldn’t pass up that deal. Then I was faced with how to use them, other than just eating them.

I mentioned raspberry lemon muffins as a possibility to Rich and Calvin and they jumped on it. My decision was made. Of course, I didn’t have a recipe for raspberry lemon muffins. I decided to start with my go-to blueberry muffin recipe and tweak it a bit.

I substituted raspberries for blueberries, of course. I upped the amount a bit, to match up with the volume of one six ounce package of raspberries. I added the zest and juice of one lemon to really give the muffins a citrus zing. I then increased the sugar just a bit to offset the tang of the lemon.

They baked up beautifully – tender cake surrounding tart, bright red raspberries, topped with a shattering sugar crust. I like the bursts of tartness from the berries, contrasting with the barely sweet muffin. If you like things sweeter, follow the directions in the head note of the recipe, or add a sprinkling of sugar at the table. As is, they are light, bright and refreshing –the muffin version of a glass of cold lemonade on a hot day.

Download or print recipe here.

Raspberry Lemon Muffins
From The Cook’s Life
Makes 12 muffins

These are not very sweet. If you like your muffins on the sweeter side, you may want to increase the granulated sugar by 1-2 tablespoons.

One small lemon
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour, if you prefer)
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup granulated sugar (see head note)
1 egg
¾ cup milk
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1½ cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
Granulated or coarse sugar for sprinkling, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan and set aside.

Zest the lemon into a large bowl. I Iike to use a microplane for this, but the finest holes on any grater will work.  Add the white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir and set aside. Juice the lemon and set aside.

Beat egg, milk and oil together until well combined. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Add egg mixture and lemon juice and stir gently. When just a few streaks of flour remain, add raspberries. Gently mix just until there is no more dry flour. Let batter sit for about five minutes to let the whole wheat flour absorb more of the liquid.

Divide batter among the greased muffin cups, filling each about three quarters full. Make sure each muffin has at least a couple of raspberries – redistribute the berries if necessary.

Sprinkle the each muffin with about ½ teaspoon of sugar, if desired.

Bake muffins for 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are firm and light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

The muffins are tender – let them cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

Muffins keep at room temperature for a couple of days. Freeze for longer storage.


Chocolate Almond Custard


Rich and Calvin requested a chocolate version of custard when I was testing batches of vanilla custard a few weeks ago. I was perfectly happy with the simple flavors of the vanilla recipe, but they wanted something with more complexity.

I started with the vanilla recipe as a stepping off point. I wanted to add chocolate, but I wasn’t sure what textural issues I would have if I used melted chocolate. When I adapted my vanilla ice cream recipe to make it chocolate, I used cocoa powder with great success. I figured custard wasn’t that different from ice cream, so I decided to go with cocoa powder. Then it was a simple matter of replacing some of the vanilla extract with almond and I had chocolate almond custard.

I wasn’t sure if the cocoa would affect the texture of the custard once it was baked. I was pleased that it didn’t – the custard was still creamy and velvety. It was sweet, without being too sweet, and rich with dark chocolate and almond. I opted not to sprinkle any spices on top to avoid adding any flavors that might compete with the chocolate and almond.

I seem to be on a roll lately, giving you recipes for desserts and then offering you a chocolate version later. I guess there’s nothing wrong with bringing a few more chocolate desserts to the world.

Download or print the recipe here.

Chocolate Almond Custard
From The Cook’s Life
Makes 4-6 servings

Use any kind of milk you have on hand – the richer the milk, the richer the custard. This is not a sweet dessert. You can increase the sugar to ½ cup if you like, with no other changes to the recipe. Or sprinkle sugar on top when serving for added sweetness and crunch.

2 cups milk
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
dash salt
⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup cocoa
sugar, for serving (optional)

Custard cups or ramekins
9 by 13 inch baking pan, or equivalent
boiling water for a water bath

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot or teakettle of water to a boil and keep hot. Lightly grease 4-6 custard cups or small ramekins. I used 6 ounce custard cups and needed five of them. Place ramekins in a 9 by 13 inch baking pan or other pan large enough to hold them without crowding. Set aside, preferably near the oven.


Heat milk in a 2-3 quart saucepan over medium heat until very hot. The milk will be steaming and there will be bubbles all around the edges when it is hot enough. Don’t let it boil. Stir occasionally at the beginning and more often as it gets hotter. It should take 5-7 minutes to get hot enough, depending on your stove and the size of your pan. The larger the pan, the faster the milk will heat (and the closer you need to watch it).

While milk heats, beat or whisk eggs, extracts and salt together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir cocoa and sugar together well mixed. Add cocoa mixture to egg mixture and beat until sugar is no longer gritty.

When milk is hot, beat it gradually into the egg mixture. Add the hot milk very slowly so you don’t scramble the eggs. When all the milk is mixed in, pour the custard into the prepared ramekins, filling them almost full.

Pour boiling water into the larger pan, trying to get the water to the same level as the custard in the cups. Carefully transfer the filled pan to the oven.

Bake custard 25-30 minutes, or until the centers barely jiggle when you move the pan. Remove the pan from the oven. Remove ramekins from the hot water and place on a rack to cool. When cool, cover and refrigerate. Let custards come to room temperature for a few minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge for two or three days, covered.