monday bites: raspberry lemon buttermilk muffins.

raspberry lemon buttermilk muffins.

I’ve switched obsessions; raspberry is my thing this week, it seems. Call it a mixed berry slump; I feel like I haven’t had decent berries around in forever, and I miss them. Summer berries are my favorite, and although you can find berries in the store right now, they leave a lot to be desired. Thankfully, frozen raspberries are a great substitute, especially when you feel a deep urge to swirl some through ice cream (which you’ll see later this week) or bake them into muffins.

These muffins are my first crack at my new Bouchon Bakery cookbook. My dear friend Jen at Juanita’s Cocina sent this to me as a surprise Christmas gift, and it threw me completely off guard. I’ve finally worked up the nerve to make something from it. Why was I petrified? I practically worship Thomas Keller. He’s a baking genius. And the book is so entirely lovely that I just didn’t want to mangle any of his perfect recipes.

antiqued raspberries. really they just have flour on them.

My recipe for these muffins is based on his blueberry muffins from the book. He’s got a unique technique on muffin-making, and I wanted to try it out because I like the idea behind it: he likes to let his muffin batter “rest” overnight in the fridge so the dry ingredients can hydrate. Normally with muffins and quick breads, instructions read “pour immediately into prepared pan” – a rest period is never mentioned. Makes sense, though, just like resting anything; flavors mingle, liquid blends with dry, beautiful baked goods are produced. Admittedly, it was difficult to wait for muffins. However…

the batter, resting.

Result: Holy goodness. Unless i’m pressed for time, I’m absolutely trying this with every single muffin recipe I have. Why? They’re so, so tender. And dense. And at the same time, fluffy light. I suspect if those big, impossibly poofy cumulus clouds had a flavor (and floating raspberries), they would taste like this. They’re just superior muffins; no dry crumb, no crusty outside and gooey inside, just a perfectly flavored, incredibly soft cloud of a baked good. I’ve never made muffins this good. Ever. The resting period does something magical to the batter; of this I am sure.

It also gave me a chance to work on my “parchment paper as muffin cup” skills. The batter is thick, which let me mess with how best to fill the parchment and get it into the muffin cups without incident. Turns out, all you need is a batter like this, some 5 x 5 squares of parchment paper, and a good ice cream scoop and you’ve got yourself some bakery-looking muffins. The parchment also gives the muffins a little space by suspending them between the muffin pan and the batter, which made them cook more evenly. I tested a few in regular muffin cups, and my parchment muffins were more evenly baked, top to bottom.

practicing my "parchment paper as muffin cup" skills.

This book is probably not for the impatient. If you have the book, you know what I mean. Thomas Keller really cares for his ingredients and his product. He seems to have the patience of a Trappist monk when it comes to baking. Everything is carefully planned and exactly laid out, there are copious amounts of prep, and resting, and it’s pretty steppy. None of this bothered me, save for one thing: the ingredient measurements.

Admittedly, I’m not the most patient person in the world. I will do as I’m told when you ask me to add 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour to something. But I begin to roll my eyes when I need to measure out 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda: why not just 1/2 teaspoon? I lost it a little when I saw that the egg quantity wasn’t listed, but rather the cup size: “1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons eggs.”

raspberry lemon buttermilk muffins.

No, Thomas Keller. I will not do that. If any of you think I’m a sissy, go break yourself an egg, fork-swirl it together, and the you try to measure out slippery, gelatinous eggs with a teaspoon. Get back to me on how it went. Messy? Impossible? Right. Moving on.

I would imagine that to maintain the integrity of his gorgeous bakery’s recipes, they cut them down from commercial-size to personal size, but I just can’t teaspoon out eggs, and I don’t think you should have to either. I’ve adjusted the recipe to try to both maintain the perfection of the original and make it a bit less of a hassle for those of us who just want some awesome muffins, already. I expect a call from Mr. Keller telling me I’m hired just so he can fire me; I hope he would understand that I worked very hard to respect his muffins when I made my adjustments.

raspberry lemon buttermilk muffins.

So here you are: hassle free, amazingly soft and fluffy raspberry buttermilk lemon muffins. There are still steps, yes, but please do take them, and take care while doing them. I promise your time and efforts will be rewarded.

Adapted from a recipe for blueberry muffins found in the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel.

Raspberry Lemon Buttermilk Muffins

for the batter:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons good-quality honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk + 2 tablespoons (reserved for post-batter rest)

for the raspberry swirl:

  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Note: I promise you that this whole resting the batter thing is miraculous. Please do it. Also, I realize after your long wait for the batter, that you may want to rush through the rest of it. Do not do this. Why? Because every single stir counts when it comes to raspberries in a semi-liquid. Fold them in gently, slowly, and with purpose; make every fold count. You want to get your raspberries evenly distributed, but you don’t want solid pink muffins. A little streaking is perfectly fine; I think it’s pretty like that, and there will be streaking. Just know that going in so you don’t overdo your stirring, because there’s no fixing it.

In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, Beat your butter on medium speed until soft and whipped, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of your bowl. Slowly add the sugar with the mixer on low speed. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes and scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest, and honey and beat again for another minute or so on medium-high speed until everything is incorporated. Scrape down the bowl (yes, do it) again.

Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with half the buttermilk (and ending with the remaining buttermilk), mixing each addition on low speed for about 15 seconds to combine. Scrape down the bowl again, paying special attention to the bottom, as dry ingredients tend to linger there. Beat on low a few seconds more if you find any loose ingredients.

Scrape your batter into a bowl large enough to accommodate it, and seal it tightly; I find my rubber-lidded casserole dishes work well for this. Place in the refrigerator overnight, or for up to 36 hours.

Walk away from the fridge.

When you’re ready to bake your muffins, preheat your oven to 425˚F and either line a muffin pan with paper cups OR try the fancy parchment method, in italics throughout:

Fancy Parchment Method: Take a length of parchment paper at least 20 inches in length (mine is already 15 inches in width: hopefully this is a fairly standard, well…standard). Cut into 5 x 5 inch squares, which should give you 12 squares.

Remove batter from fridge and set on a countertop for 5 minutes to take some of the chill off. Remove your raspberries from the freezer and toss them in a small bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour, making sure to coat them evenly. Place them back in the freezer like this until you’re ready to use.

Stir the remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk into the batter with a rubber spatula, going slowly and using broad strokes to distribute and incorporate the liquid to the cold batter. You’ll see the batter begin to soften and smooth out, making it easier to fold in your raspberries.

Grab your flour-coated raspberries from the freezer and pour evenly over your batter bowl. Using slow, deliberate strokes, fold your raspberries into the batter firmly. I like to take my spatula and work along the perimeter of the bowl, folding up, over, and towards the middle, pressing gently but firmly down to get the raspberries distributed. Repeat this, turning your bowl slightly with each fold, until your raspberries have been evenly incorporated (and watch those streaks!)

Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, scoop out level servings of the batter into the cups.

For the fancy parchment cups, it’s best to hold a square of the parchment in your palm. Place the scoop of batter directly in the center, then transfer the parchment square to the muffin tin. The weight of the batter will help sink the parchment down into the cup. Use your fingers to flatten out the creases as much as you can (see photos above for how mine turned out.)

Place your muffin pan in the oven, reduce the temperature to 325˚F, and bake for about 35 minutes, checking at the 30-minute mark for doneness. Your muffin bake time will depend on your choice of muffin wrapper: my parchment ones took a few minutes longer than the one in the regular paper muffin cup, and my one in the foil muffin cup took even less time; it was done at 30 minutes. Remember; don’t open your oven every five minutes, but do watch them towards the end of their baking journey, and do not overbake. Test with a wooden skewer in the center for doneness.

Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly; berries will scorch you when right out of the oven. If you did the fancy parchment method, transferring these simply involves picking up their tidy little points and lifting them.

Makes 12 standard-size muffins.

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35 Comments on "monday bites: raspberry lemon buttermilk muffins."

  1. Ashley says:

    Seriously, do you live inside my head? I pulled an oatmeal blueberry lemon pancake recipe for this week because I was craving berries and better breakfast food. These look insanely good. And thank you for working to keep our sanity. I’ll back you should Mr. Keller come crashing down on your measurement system (which I totally prefer).

    • shannon says:

      secret = out; i DO live inside your head! Maybe it’s a regional/similar tastes thing. we probably go through the same weather patterns…could that be it? Berry-filled breakfasts just seem so right right now.

      you know, i’d love to have that sort of monastic patience about measuring things. And yet…not yet. It’s lovely and very zen, but it can be so intimidating.

  2. Brianne says:

    I wish I could send you some of my blueberries. I still have 10 lbs hanging out in the freezer! Also, you might live in my head, too–I’m posting a muffin recipe tomorrow. Whoa!

    I think I would die trying to use parchment squares as muffin liners. Mad props, girl, mad props. And teaspoons of eggs?? Ugh. Have you read through Carol Blymire’s old blog, French Laundry at Home? Her adventures cooking through a Thomas Keller book were both frightening and hilarious.

    • shannon says:

      i’m not going to lie: i’ve thought about maine blueberries more than once since your work on the blueberry reserve this summer. :) muffins are the best right now, right? we all need a little something to keep us warm, i think.

      with these muffins (and their thick batter) it was so much easier than i thought: i think portioning them into your hand is the key there; i would have lost it had i tried to do it directly into the tin – too much room for error. And no, i haven’t read her old blog! I should (i’m bookmarking it as we speak here)…i’d be interested to read her thoughts on him and his style, for sure.

  3. You’ve just given me the courage to crack open the Bouchon Bakery cookbook and actually bake something. Isn’t it just the most intimidating book ever? The recipes look so amazing, though.
    Oh, and the eggs? I went to see Keller do a Q&A when the cookbook first came out, and when someone asked about this, he responded that baking is an exact science, and that he doesn’t believe in rounding up or down when it comes to the exact specific amounts needed to achieve the right results – especially since it can become an issue when you scale up the recipe to the size they use at the bakery. (Also, he swears by using weight rather than volume.)
    So yeah, that’s what happens when an uber-perfectionist writes a baking book. :)

    • shannon says:

      Isabelle, YES! it really, truly is the most intimidating book I think i have in my collection. By a long shot, i think. Before that, i thought my Sarabeth’s bakery (similar in regard to exactness of ingredients) was difficult, but this is a new beast entirely. And it’s so beautiful that it just makes it that much more scary (because they’re not just muffins, they’re ART). :)
      That’s interesting to hear! I guessed that, just in reading through some of the other recipes and how they are laid out. I agree with that in a perfect world. If i owned a magical bakery and was Thomas Keller, i would learn how to measure out eggs also, and probably do it happily. I need to work on using weight versus volume, although i’m not entirely sold on that theory; so many different takes on that in the baking world, it seems.
      TK, why do you have to be so perfect?!? *shakes fist* :)

  4. So, the measuring thing is my cryptonite. Like, I can’t get past needing to measure eggs and add 1/4 tsp. to a tbs. and stuff. It’s a barrier that I need to work through…because I need these muffins and all.

    • shannon says:

      Jennifer. YOU GOT ME THE BOOK AND YOU GOT YOURSELF THE BOOK. We must do this! :) It’s hard though, right? I did put forth a valiant effort, truly, with the eggs. Next time, i may do a video; it was comedy. Someday i’m going to work up my nerve and do a spot-on TK version and then my version, and have a bunch of people over for blind taste testing. So you’re all invited. :)

  5. I haven’t had a good muffin in SO long…and these sound amazing. I’ll have to try letting my batter rest the next time I make some muffins, but like you I lack patience in the kitchen. And I’m with you on measuring eggs. Does it really make THAT big of a difference to have an extra 1/4 tsp?? Baking soda or powder I could maybe understand, but not eggs.

    • shannon says:

      Amy, I feel like we all just let our muffins go over the holidays or something, right? Because all the sudden, i see a bunch of muffin posts popping up, and they all share the same sentiment: I MISS MUFFINS. :) Did we all just forsake them for holiday cookies? Maybe. But now it’s time to change that.
      And that’s my thing: i get like, chemical reactions and that too much baking powder and muffins can turn to rocks, but a teaspoon of eggs in a whole batch? Maybe. someday, i side-by-side compare. I promise. First i need to figure out how to make gloopy eggs stay in my HALF TEASPOON. :) the phrase “how do you hold a moonbeam in your hand” comes to mind.

  6. natalie says:

    OMG MUFFINS! AND BOUCHON! THESE LOOK SO GOOD!

    I didn’t know you could do that with the parchment!! That would save me like A BAJILLION DOLLARS… at LEAST! But cutting out squares of parchment sounds hard. Most things sound hard at 7:30 in the morning though.

    REALLY? 1/4 cup + 1.5 teaspoons? Might as well have been in ounces. Come on TK… Unless we use eggbeaters, but does that even count?!?

    I have so many frozen berries in the freezer right now… maybe I’ll make these next!

    • shannon says:

      dang right, muffins! These were SO BERRY FILLED AND DELICIOUS. and this whole batter resting thing? Ah-mazing. And i don’t misspell my “amazings” for any old muffin. :)

      I never knew either, and then it occurred to me that there had to be some decent way to do this, or you wouldn’t see it from time to time. I would never try it with say, cupcake batter, but thick batter works just fine, and i’m not sure it took me any longer than trying to scoop it into normal muffin cups and then having to clean up where i dripped.

      too…hard. i’m going to figure out this egg bit, but for now? too…hard. just try it sometime when you’re in a good mood and you’ll laugh at yourself. It’s like a slapstick act.

      you should! i think buttermilk muffins work for any berry; i just like the tang with the sweet. although i was thinking about trying these again when the peaches come to town…just saying…peaches *drool*

  7. I am an incredibly impatient baker and prefer to measure “eyeball it” style so I probably will not be tackling these delicious looking muffins but will instead oogle and admire yours!

    • shannon says:

      Elizabeth, i have the odd combination of impatience and patience (depending on what i’m doing), so I completely understand that. Was it difficult to wait overnight to bake these? short answer: yes. :) maybe now that i know what they taste like, i won’t be so antsy.

  8. Emma says:

    From my cabin deep in the woods, I am envious of the gorgeous muffins. They sound phenomenal, and when the weekend comes, I hope it finds me making some yummy muffins like these – and letting them rest overnight!

    No way would I measure out egg teaspoons. I would measure by weight though, that seems much less hard:)

    • shannon says:

      girl, muffins in the middle of winter inside a deep-in-the-woods cabin? THE BEST.

      i need to work on measuring by weight. First, i probably need to buy myself a decent scale. i have one, but it’s sort of the “hey i’m just a scale, sort of” scale. not a proper one.

  9. Amrita says:

    Oh yay! I’m glad you got these muffins out because I bought the book recently and haven’t tried anything yet. Now that you swear by these pillowy muffins, I’ll have to get my hands on some of the recipes in the book too.

    And I’m totally with you on the summer berries. I love them so much that I’ll even buy the tasteless ones we get at the store now. I’m addicted to them. I can never walk past the aisle without tossing a couple of pints in. And I was going to make ice cream with them but I will try these muffins too :D

    • shannon says:

      Amrita, i was so terrified to crack open this book and make something, i can’t even explain it. It’s all so perfect, and TK is so perfect, and his standards are just so high, that…eek. you know? But break out your book and go for it, girl! I tried these because a muffin is one of the easiest things (aside from a cookie) for me to bake. I like to start easy and work up.

      Do you miss summer fruits right now? I do. i was good until january hit, and then so did the longing. It makes me appreciate the good stuff once it gets here, for sure.

  10. Wow, that last picture really makes me want to try one of these things. And I’m with you on your adaptation–I can’t even sift flour (I whisk it instead), let alone measure gloopy eggs. Given how hard it is to get a little shell out of a cracked egg, I can’t even imagine what a pain that is.

    Have you made overnight waffles, by the way? Unbelievably good. Knowing how good they are (and now hearing this about the muffins) makes me excited to overnight just about everything!

    I love the way you write recipes, Shannon. “Walk away from the fridge” really captures one’s actual actions while cooking, unlike so many terms of art that crop up in recipes. I went to a recipe writing seminar by Virginia Willis last year and she was like “why do people say ‘season with salt and pepper,”” when what they really mean is “TASTE IT, and add salt and pepper if you think it needs it.” Like hers, your recipes contain such great REAL descriptions of things.

    • shannon says:

      These muffins are crazy berry-filled. And also with that tart buttermilk thing going on, so it’s not like eating a “sweet” dessert muffin (and I like that about them.) I need you and scott up here to film me trying to work eggs into teaspoons; seriously. short film. Cannes. Sundance.

      NO! and now i’m googling overnight waffles…i wonder if it’s the same idea of hydrating the dry ingredients for extra special results? yum. and so much less work early in the morning (always a plus.)

      Sheesh…*blush* thank you! True, though, right? I feel like i’m not stiff in my posts, so why make the recipes any different? Doesn’t have to be all formal to work; in fact, i think if you’re following a line-by-line recipe, it’s nice to have a little break in the monotony. Or something to let you know you’re not the only one who wants to wait by the fridge or take something out too early. I like “real” writing, so I hope i’m doing okay at passing that along. :)

  11. I gave this book to my daughter, but it was too big for her to carry back with her so I’m supposed to mail it to her. I can’t bear to let go of it!—I might have to order her another and keep this one. When I saw that this recipe has the muffin batter resting overnight I got so excited, I want nothing more than to wake up and immediately pop muffins in the oven! And thank you for ‘fixing’ the recipe so it makes more sense…

    • shannon says:

      That made me giggle: it’s SUUUUUCH a heavy book! It reminds me of our Encyclopaedia Brittanica collection we had when we were little; we could barely carry them off the shelf. Give yourself a present and order a duplicate.

      Don’t let TK hear you say “fixing” or he really is going to hunt me down. :) I’m sorry, Mr. Thomas Keller; you are a better person than I for patiently measuring things in a very precise way.

  12. These look wonderful! I love a good muffin recipe. I grew up making those deydrated blueberry-from-a-tin-can muffin mixes but there’s nothing like a good homemade muffin, straight from the oven. I like the idea of lemon, as well as parchment paper cups. And I know Keller knows his stuff, but I sure as hell am not teaspooning out egg either :)

    And congrats on your RFT win, again! :)

    • shannon says:

      aw, i sort of miss those little canned blueberry muffin mixes, right? Some of them i have fond memories of; some, not so much. There really isn’t any comparison to a homemade muffin, for sure.
      You know, TK is evidently (because i follow him on twitter) participating in the Boucuse d’or right now. Anyone who’s crazy-perfect enough to do that is absolutely making you teaspoon out eggs. Thankfully, i am not that crazy.

      thanks! like, so many times over i can’t even say. It was pretty exciting for me, and i’m looking forward to getting out more around st. louis this year! Definitely gave me a little confidence, and i got to meet (virtually) all of you! win/win. :)

  13. A friend just lent me the Bouchon cookbook! It. Is. Amazing. And also? It makes me feel inadequate. But still, amazing. I’ve been trying to decide on a recipe to try, and now I’m thinking I might have to give the muffins a go. Also, my mother gave me some wild cranberries which are sitting in the freezer next to some raspberries from my favourite farm. They need a home…

    We have a rule at baking school – always round up on eggs. Just throw any extra egg in there. Egg makes stuff awesome. Maybe no one told Thomas Keller that? Because if we even suggested measuring 1.5 teaspoons of egg? We’d probably be tossed from the kitchen. (See? You’re a baking school natural.) Of course, we only weigh ingredients, so we’d get in trouble for whipping out measuring spoons too…

    • shannon says:

      that’s a perfect description: it’s incredible. a sight to behold. like an art book of food. and it makes me feel so, so stupid. i can’t even find so much as a TYPO in this book, that’s how perfect it is (and i can ALWAYS find a typo in a cookbook to make me feel better.)

      you just said the magic words: cranberry buttermilk muffins.

      so that just made me feel way better, because if Official Baking School people say it’s okay, then yes; it’s FINE. truly, can you really have too many eggs? probably, because at some point everything would be wet, but you know what i mean. I need to work on my weights versus ‘freedom measurements’…(sigh). i’m putting “decent kitchen scale” on my list.

  14. Nanette says:

    I need more details on the resting thing, cause you sold me on the “rest every muffin” idea!! I am about to make banana bread muffins, so do I combine everything BUT the bananas & then let it rest? Or because bananas aren’t finicky (unlike raspberries), do I make the whole recipe & then let it rest? What do you think?!

    • shannon says:

      Hi Nanette!
      So i just did a little research for you, because I liked and agreed with your reasoning on the whole “bananas aren’t as finicky as berries are” thing. Thomas Keller’s banana muffin recipe in Bouchon does indeed throw the bananas in PRIOR to resting, so go ahead and make the whole thing and let it rest. Good call!
      Make sure before you bake them you let them sit out for a few minutes to take the chill off. If it seems too thick to you (very thick-pasty versus thick but still a little creamy) add a tablespoon or so of milk or cream to the mixture and stir/fold in to smooth it out a bit and loosen it up prior to filling your muffins. I’d love to hear your results!

      • Nanette says:

        So I made both the banana bread muffins (my usual recipe) as well as this buttermilk recipe. I LOVED making the muffins the day ahead & not baking them right away. I can’t tell you how many nights I have stayed up WAY too late while something was in the oven. This technique is quite free-ing!
        My taste-testers (i.e. kids!) didn’t find any difference between these banana muffins and the non-rested version I usually make, but I think they cooked more evenly. I didn’t add any milk after getting them out of the fridge because I thought the batter was creamy enough, but next time I think I will try adding a bit, just to see. (I use a lot of whole wheat flour & some ground flax, so maybe that makes a difference.)
        The big surprise was the buttermilk recipe (I substituted frozen cherries for the raspberries) which the kids LOVED – they don’t usually like buttermilk in anything but biscuits – which was a little disappointing for me, since I was thinking I would get to enjoy those!!
        I will defnitely make these again. And I will use the resting technique again too.
        Thanks for all the specifics – it really helped.

        • shannon says:

          Nanette, i’m so thrilled! I can’t wait to experiment with some other recipes, so it’s great to hear yours were successful! Isn’t that lovely to be able to make something ahead and then wait until later/the next day to cook it? I like that about some cookie recipes too; it’s like you never spent any time making them to begin with when you can walk away and come back at your leisure. :) And it really does unburden you from having to be in the kitchen for large amounts of time.
          kids are the best taste-testers sometimes (because they’ll tell you exactly what they think, no filter.) And i think the milk addition is really if your batter just feels stiff, so good call there, along with frozen cherries instead of the raspberries; that’s inspired!
          Can’t say it enough; i really love when people try things and take the time to let me know how it went; i’m so happy you’ll be making these again. Good job! You’re very welcome; i enjoy helping when i can.

  15. Nanette says:

    Thanks for the quick reply & leg work! I will definitely let you know.

  16. natalie says:

    Mine are in the oven now! The house smells so good…. I’m going to have to send the lot to work with Aaron tomorrow to keep them out of my reach!

  17. I just made these!

    Well, kind of. I made the straight-up blueberry, and some without blueberries–just with walnuts. DELICIOUS. I also made some minis and they were fantastic because the outside gets a delicate little crust since I didn’t use mini muffin liners.

    I’m so glad you put this up here because it was to die for.

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