the babycakes!

 

oh, me! oh, my! the joys of a baking oven. i must say i’m happily taking full advantage of the facilities de la casa meyer here in wausau, wi.

sunday, we made squash pizza– a beautiful pie with butternut puree as the sauce, graciously topped with caramelized shallots, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, mozzarella, asiago, and dollops of ricotta cheese (i stole the idea of using ricotta from the ever amazing supino pizzeria in eastern market). it was well-loved by all.

but, after all was said and done, the majority of the ricotta container was unused, sitting, waiting, wanting to inspire some other fantastical dish. my mom explained to me that she doesn’t really use ricotta all that much, which motivated my using it even further–no way did i want that container of smooth, creamy potential to go to waste!

and so i found a recipe for “nonna’s lemon ricotta biscuits” a la giada de laurentis. and these babies are just magical. light, fluffy, full of flavor, and the most gorgeous texture–smooth and not heavy, with a brightness only lemon can give. instead of making 12 normal-sized muffins, i made 24 babies, which, i think, adds so much to the perfection of these muffins. the smaller muffin size creates not only cute, pop-in-your-mouth sweet snacks, but it also allows each bite to enjoy the slightly toasted, slightly crispier outside, where the muffin met the tin in the oven. i also made a baby loaf, which went happily into the freezer for future indulgence. hooray for ricotta!

lemon ricotta babycakes
from giada de laurentis’s nonna’s lemon ricotta biscuits

*i used king arthur white flour, and i think it was the key ingredient to produce such light, texturally pleasing muffins!

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
zest from 2 lemons
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
slivered/sliced almonds, for topping muffins

1. pre-heat oven to 350. grease a 24 baby muffin tin and a baby loaf tin.

2. whisk together dry ingredients, flour through salt.

3. in an electric mixer, combine sugar, butter, and zest, beating until light and fluffy. then beat in ricotta. beat in egg, lemon juice, and almond extract.

4. add dry ingredients and stir until just blended.

5. scoop batter into muffin tins/loaf tins and top with slivered almonds and a little sugar. bake for 15-20 minutes (longer for loaf), until batter is cooked through and the tops are just beginning to golden. enjoy!

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