Orange Ricotta Poppy Seed MuffinsAfter making homemade ricotta the other day, I needed to find a way to use.  Normally I would make lasagna or ravioli but you kind of have to be ready to make those and I wasn’t.  Planning on making another batch soon and making my homemade ravioli that gets rave reviews (maybe I’ll consider sharing it with you!).

Ingredients for Orange Ricotta Poppy seed MuffinsIt’s feeling like spring outside and a cheerful light bird was singing on my balcony railing when I came across a recipe for Orange Ricotta Poppy Seed Muffins from Cookie Monster Cooking.  Her pictures were wonderful and her recipe sounded great.  So I decided it would be an awesome way to use my fresh ricotta.

Orange Ricotta Poppy Seed DoughI altered the recipe to work for high altitude and to make it a little healthier.  There’s a few more changes I’ll make the next time I make it to lighten it up some more and will share those changes in the future when I make them.  For this time, I switched out half the all-purpose for whole wheat pastry flour and reduced the butter a little.

Ready for the OvenIf you want to lighten it more yourself, you should be able to switch half the butter for applesauce without hurting the integrity of the muffins but I haven’t tried it yet, since I was out of applesauce.  By adding applesauce, you can cut the sugar another quarter of a cup as well.  If anyone tries it before I get to it, please let me know how it turns out for you.

Out of the OvenI did get a little worried at one point because the batter was so thick that I had to roll spoonfuls into the muffin cups, sort of like you would do cookies but they settled out fine during the baking and puffed up beautifully.  So don’t get worried if it seems thick, it’s not a problem.

Glazing the MuffinsI also found the orange glaze for the top too sweet, so I added in fresh lemon juice to get a nice slightly sour tangy glaze to pair with the orange and poppy-seed flavors of the muffin.  It was perfecto!

Yummy Little BitesI made mini-muffins because I like the small ones for portion control (it makes my brain think it’s getting more than it did just because it finished a “whole” muffin).  I ended up having about 60 minis, which got shared with three of my neighbors and the last dozen and a half went with my husband to work.  I have to find out if he shared or decided to eat them all himself.

Orange Ricotta Poppy Seed Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 Tbsp. poppy seeds ( I used Dutch Blue from my favorite spice store, Savory.  You can use your favorite kind)

1 3/4 tsp. double action baking powder (1 1/4 tsp. and regular for lower altitude)

1/2 tsp. baking soda (1/4 tsp. for lower altitude)

1/2 tsp. salt

7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs (2 for lower altitude)

1 1/2 Tbsp. orange zest

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup ricotta cheese

Glaze

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

3 Tbsp. fresh orange juice

1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line muffin pan with paper cups or grease well.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the butter and sugar to another large bowl (use a stand mixer if you have one) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.  Add in the orange zest and vanilla, mixing well before adding half the flour mixture.  Mix until incorporated and add half the ricotta.  Repeat with the other half of flour mix and ricotta.

Pour the batter into muffin pan, filling a little less than 3/4 of the way full.  Bake for 19 to 20 minutes for large muffins and 10 to 12 minutes for minis or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Don’t over bake or you’ll have dry muffins and no one likes dry muffins.

Remove the muffins to a wire rack or plate to cool.

While muffins are cooling, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, orange juice and lemon juice to make the glaze.

To glaze, dip the tops of each muffin into the glaze mixture and allow time to set before serving.

Makes 12 large muffins or about 60 minis.

More fun recipes using poppy seeds and ricotta:

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