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meyer lemons + muffins

February 15 2009 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Breakfast,Recipe » 17 comments


Meyer lemons seem to be everywhere these days.  Splashed across food blogs, heaped into bins at the market, even tucked unexpectedly into a ridiculously delicious squid salad that I ate on Friday night (at a restaurant that was, in a word, perfect).  And a trio of the small, sunny lovelies were tucked into a bowl full of citrus on our kitchen counter, throwing off their gentle perfume, for almost a week before I figured out just how I would use them.


I considered letting them stand in for standard lemons in a bundt cake or a tart or lbars, but in the end I settled on a breakfast option: muffins.  I hadn’t made muffins in a while and I’ll tell you why: Kevin’s been sneaking one into his order at the shop across the street, when he goes to pick up coffee on Sunday mornings.  And these little treats he smuggles home are so good I just hadn’t bothered trying my own for a couple months.



Until yesterday.  That’s when I put my homemade muffin hiatus to an end and put my meyer lemons to work.  I did take a couple tricks from the Vella muffins I’ve come to love—I used a sturdy, basic recipe and punched it up with the faint spice of fresh and ground ginger and the sweet zip of meyer lemon juice and zest.  I also tucked a tiny nugget of chilled cream cheese into the center of each muffin (another Vella trick, which lends a creamy tang to each bite) and topped each muffin with a spicy-sweet sprinkle of sugar, cinnamon and ground ginger.


The result was a moist, fragrant muffin that has me wondering how I went so long without homemade muffins.  And how I let those meyer lemons languish on the counter for so long!  What about you all?  Have you been making use of meyer lemons while they briefly grace us with their presence?  How so?

Meyer Lemon-Ginger Muffins, Stuffed with Cream Cheese

Printable Recipe

For the Muffins:
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 12 equal pieces
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon meyer lemon, zest
2/3 cup plain yogurt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup freshly-squeezed meyer lemon juice
2 teaspoons freshly-grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla

For the Topping:
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger

Preheat oven to 375.  Line 12-cup muffin tin with muffin/cupcake liners.  Place the cream cheese in the freezer.

In one large bowl, whisk together the flour through lemon zest.  In another large bowl, whisk together the yogurt through vanilla.  Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.

Fill each of the 12 muffin liners about 1/3 full.  Nestle one piece of the chilled cream cheese into each partially-filled muffin cup.  Cover the cream cheese pieces in each muffin cup with the remaining batter.

Mix the sugar, cinnamon and ginger to create the topping.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly between the 12 muffins.

Bake 17 to 19 minutes, until puffed and golden.  Transfer to a wire wrack to cool.

17 comments so far. »
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  1. Whitney Merritt says on February 15 2009 at 9:26 pm:

    I am so jealous that you went to The Publican. I walked by it once when I was over on Fulton market and it looks so cool inside and I can imagine that the food is wonderful.

    What else did you try?

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, I bet the cream cheese centers are fantastic.

  2. Karen says on February 16 2009 at 2:39 am:

    Yes! I have been baking with meyer lemons every chance I get – I am addicted! Besides lots of lemon bars, I’ve made a wonderful Martha Stewart cake that calls for sliced lemons in the middle (brilliant), delicious cranberry-meyer lemon scones from Smitten Kitchen which I served with meyer lemon curd from Recipe Girl (so good we ate it by the spoonful). And I’m waiting for an occasion to make Smitten Kitchen’s whole lemon tart with meyers as well. Meanwhile I put the zest and/or juice in all kinds of goodies (pancakes, cookies, tea, etc.) whether or not they call for it. I’ll put some of the links here in case anyone is interested. And will make your muffins asap!

  3. Mia says on February 16 2009 at 9:43 am:

    Those muffins look so cute and tasty. Made muffins for breakfast myself yesterday – not meyer lemon, but still good! Speaking of citrus, I made blood orange marmalade for the first time today, and it was so good that I’m thinking about making another batch with meyers…it was shockingly easy to do and just made my morning toast seem a whole lot more exciting!

  4. Julia says on February 16 2009 at 10:22 am:

    I don’t know where to get Meyer lemons, but this recipe looks too good to pass up! Can I substitute normal lemons?

  5. Dawn in CA says on February 16 2009 at 11:35 am:

    These muffins look delicious. We have a tree full of (regular) lemons right now, almost more than I know what to do with. I made the easiest, most delicious for Valentine’s day, and am planning on jarring up a bunch of lemon curd… one of these weekends! Oh, and I just had to have homemade hollandaise on my eggs benedict recently. Heaven.

  6. Dawn in CA says on February 16 2009 at 11:37 am:

    Oops, that should have read, “most delicious lemon cookies…” The recipe link did not show in my post. Here it is:


  7. grace says on February 16 2009 at 1:29 pm:

    “stuffed with cream cheese” is a good phrase to describe me as well… :)

  8. Andrea says on February 16 2009 at 2:53 pm:

    These look lovely! I have a few Meyer lemons that I’ve been wanting to use…after the week of work I’ve had I think they may wind up in a lemon drop martini…! :)

  9. Kevin says on February 16 2009 at 3:30 pm:

    Hmmm didn’t know it was sneaking when your wife asks! However you define it, I’d say these were way better anyway!

  10. amy says on February 16 2009 at 7:14 pm:

    oh wow, a little nugget of cream cheese in the middle of each muffin? Heavenly. I have a bag of meyer lemons that I’m going to make lemon curd with…then perhaps some meyer lemon scones to spread the meyer lemon curd on….oh yes, i can’t get enough of them either. :)

  11. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on February 17 2009 at 1:44 pm:

    Whitney: It is SO cool inside. From the lights that look like big white gumballs, to the mismatched plates, to the pig artwork, to the cool booths. I adored it. We also tried the pickles (mmm), fried chicken (w/ fries and summer sausage) and the ribs (cut more like pork chops). So, so delicious.

    Karen: You’ve been busy! Thanks for the links.

    Mia: Ooh! I like the idea of marmalade. Meyer lemon curd is good for the morning toast too.

    Julia: Absolutely. If the lemons are particularly tart, consider bumping up the sugar a bit.

    Dawn: Too jealous of your lemon tree to respond. : )

    grace: I let out a hoot when I read that. At work. Whoops.

    Andrea: That sounds like a worthy use. : ) Hang in there.

    Kevin: Shhhhh.

    amy: I think meyers are really nice in curds. And paired with meyer lemon scones? Heaven.

  12. Betsy says on February 18 2009 at 1:12 pm:

    Yum, those look good!

  13. The Duo Dishes says on February 18 2009 at 3:56 pm:

    The cream cheese takes them over the top!

  14. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on February 20 2009 at 4:57 pm:

    Betsy: Thank you!

    The Duo Dishes: I know! I couldn’t resist.

  15. Jenni says on February 20 2009 at 10:13 pm:

    The muffins look great, and I just love Meyer lemons. At an out of the way farmer’s market in Yalaha, Florida years ago, a lady was selling some 12 for a dollar! So, I bought them all. Meyer lemon curd is heavenly :D

  16. vanessa says on April 24 2010 at 3:42 pm:

    i had really bad luck with these muffins…i followed the recipe exactly, but the crumb was dense and gummy, not light and fluffy at all. i think maybe there’s too much yogurt in relation to the flour content? the cream cheese was a cool touch though…but it seems like the proportions aren’t quite right. i love the ginger sugar mix on top, though

  17. Raminta says on January 19 2013 at 3:24 pm:

    I didn’t have enough yoghurt, but they turned out perfectly! Wow, so light and fluffy. Bookmarking!

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