Last week was teacher appreciation week at my children’s school. We have some pretty incredible teachers in our lives so it was important for me to let them know how much we appreciate them in a special and personal way.
No, I did not painstakingly craft and then artfully frame their initials in crayons. It’s all over Pinterest, you should check it out. That is over the top, even for me.
Nope, I baked (and stuck in a gift card on the side).
Each teacher received a dreamy lemon blueberry muffin, made extra special by the rich and velvety lemon cream cheese icing piped on top. I had a little fun and packaged the muffins in colorful plastic bowls and tied on a note of appreciation with some colorful ribbon.
Just one muffin but a perfect muffin made and presented with appreciation and care.
I love homemade gifts.
And gift cards.
I’ve been working on this recipe for a while now,
obsessed with determined with getting just the right tart and tangy lemon flavor and dense but moist muffin texture; and now, finally, I am in love and happy, no eager to share.
Happy and eager. I hope you love them.
Especially since it will take me untold hours on the elliptical machine to burn off all of lemon blueberry muffin taste testing that was necessary. My husband was kind enough to recently fix the once broken elliptical and now I have no excuses. Although I still seem to find one or two.
Lemon Blueberry Muffins with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp lemon extract
- 2 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1 cup blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin or line with cupcake papers.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the sugar to the dry ingredients and mix together with a whisk.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, milk, lemon juice, beaten eggs, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon zest.
Note: I was hesitant to use the lemon extract because for some reason, it feels like cheating to me. Especially when I have fresh lemons in abundance. But I just wasn’t getting the depth of lemon flavor that I wanted so I tried the lemon extract and it was just what I was looking for. Sometimes you just gotta’ go with your gut!
Make a well (an indentation in the center) in the dry ingredients and then pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients.
Mix until just fully combined.
Coat blueberries with a sprinkling of flour which will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins as they bake.
Gently fold the blueberries into the batter.
Fill the muffin cups using a standard ice cream scoop for consistency.
Bake for 20 minutes (25 minutes for the jumbo muffins I made). Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 12 regular muffins, 9 jumbo muffins or 24 mini-muffins.
Eat them hot out of the oven, just as they are or let them cool completely and then frost them with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing for an extra special touch.
Lemon Cream Cheese Icing
- 8oz. Cream Cheese
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 pound powdered sugar
Cream the cream cheese and butter together for several minutes. Mix in the vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add the powdered sugar slowly and on low-speed. Once the powdered sugar is mixed in, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat the mixture on high-speed for 3-5 minutes until you have a smooth and creamy icing.
Spread or pipe onto cupcakes …
A large star tip fitted into a disposable piping bag will give you a fancy swirled design.
Or for a simpler look, just fill the piping bag, snip the end and pipe a smooth swirl of icing.
Top with a few fresh blueberries.
Cream cheese icing is very soft so be sure to refrigerate the muffins for an hour or more to set the icing, especially if you will be travelling with them or giving them as gifts.
Because my muffins were gifts, I did a little fancy packaging.
I found these little bright-colored plastic bowls in sets of four at the grocery store.
The perfect size for a muffin. I was very excited!
I made a simple little note of appreciation on the computer and then punched two holes for the ribbon to thread through. I also mentioned that the muffin recipe could be found on my blog. You know, just in case. And thankfully now, five days later, it can be.
I gathered a piece of cellophane wrap around each cupcake.
And secured it with a piece of ribbon knotted with enough room to keep the muffin from getting squished.
I threaded each end of the ribbon through the holes in the note and then tied it off, finishing with a decorative snip on the ends.
Pretty simple stuff but a fun, delicious homemade gift from the heart.
I’m off now to make about a million cupcakes for Cub Scouts tomorrow. After I hit the elliptical machine, of course.