Saturday, January 12, 2013

Blueberry, Lemon, Cream Cheese Muffins - Bringing the sunshine back

I was poised in front of the kitchen window this morning drinking in the sunlight spilling in. I've been a bit blue this week.  It's been cold, dark, and rainy as of late, not really a combination I enjoy one bit. Maybe it's all the work I did over the holidays catching up to me or finally having a few quite moments of reflection.

I'll heard good news and it brings my smile back quickly.  Then I hear bad news and it rips off the band-aid to a wound that hasn't quite yet healed.  I try not to let it all keep me down, but sometimes I just need to stop for a moment and really let it all soak in.

I let this week be a blue week, but next week I'm bringing back the sunshine.  I'm looking ahead and switching course.  It's a new year and it's time for new memories, hopefully more new friends and who knows what else is possible.    

I for one have so many things already on my want-to-do list.  Furniture yet to find and redesign, recipes already sketched out in my mind, parties I want to throw, crafts to glitter and bedazzle, places I want to visit. (Seriously, you have no idea how bad I need a vacation?  In fact so much so I've solicited a Heavy Metal band to be their roadie just so I can get a free European vacation.) (You thinking I'm kidding here, huh?)  I find looking ahead is my way out of where I'm stuck at.

I decided to change up this coffee cake recipe from Sunset just for kicks!

Blueberry layer:
12 ounces frozen blueberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut up into 1/2" sized pieces
Zest from one lemon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 large eggs

Cream cheese mixture:
5 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Also needed:
1/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted, salted almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1) In a sauce pan over medium heat bring blueberries, sugar, and water to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for about 3 minutes.  In a small bowl blend cornstarch and water.  Add cornstarch mixture to pan, stir until thickened.  Let cool.

2)  In a food processor add flour, sugar, butter, and lemon zest.  Pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Reserve 1/2 cup; pour remaining into a large bowl.  Stir in baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir to combine.  If you don't have a food processor, a pastry blender works great.

3)  Add yogurt, vanilla, lemon juice, and eggs; stir into flour mixture until incorporated.

4)  Use a muffin pan with 12 cups, line the cups with paper or aluminum liners and fill the 12 cups with the batter mixture evenly divided.  Make a slight indent in the center with a spoon.

5)  In a food processor (or bowl) mix together cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice until smooth.  Divide this mixture evenly over the batter.

6)  Divide the blueberry mixture over the cream cheese layer.

7)  Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the top of the blueberry layer.

8)  Divide the nuts evenly over the 12 muffins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Do you have any big plans for the year ahead?



  1. So sorry you've been bummed! I'm sure this will be a year of good news, starting with these muffins. I'm really digging the blueberry+lemon combo and think it's perfectly reminiscent of summer :)

  2. Thanks Azmina, looking forward to a great 2013.

  3. Aww, Gina, the lack of sun kills me, too. But these muffins--I'm glad you posted them. The sneak preview the other day was just a tease. Keep smilin', sunshine ahead!

  4. I think a lot of people get down at this time of the year - it's so gloomy, and the days are short. Sorry you've been down, hope you're in a sunnier mood soon. I have to say, those muffins definitely would put a smile on my face! Love the flavors. But I'm a sucker for lemon, and blueberry is one of my faves.

  5. Gina,
    I hope that these muffins put a smile on your on your face:), They sure did on mine. Just as I was typing, the sun is coming out. See what an effect you have?, he, he. I just made Meyer Lemon Blueberry scones is morning. Love the combo, too.

  6. These muffins are making my mouth water. Seriously! How great do these sound and look. Happy, Happy New Year Gina! Look forward to seeing what you have in store for 2013!

  7. Good to know that the sunshine has raised your spirits and brought a smile back to your face. These muffins look delightful!

  8. It's sunny this week and hope you will feel cheer up. I've been sick for 2 weeks and I myself feel a bit down and less energy too, plus too many things to do while hubby is away. Your blueberry lemon cream cheese muffins would cheer me up. I wish I can whip up these quickly without hesitating. So that's my resolution this year. I haven't started yet but try to bake more often this year...Wish me luck. :)

  9. That does look like such a burst of sunshine! Love it :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  10. Sending good thoughts your way. These are a great way to bring in more sunshine. I love cream cheese muffins. They are easily my favorites. Thank you for sharing with us. I hope you have a great start to your week. Stay healthy, happy, and warm!

  11. I see blue skies, even though it feels like a deep freezer,lol!! Good day for a baking project;-)
    Love your muffin flavor combination- it is very cheerful, all scrumptious and sunny in your kitchen window!
    Have a great week xxooxx ;-)

  12. This is a definite "Let the Sunshine In" recipe. Love the bright flavors and different types of sweet - from fruit to creamy. Our sunshine returned yesterday. And with it arctic air - so be careful what you wish for... Nothing wrong with going on the road... there's a lot to experience.

  13. Sorry to hear that you've had a rough year. Hopefully this year will bring losts of sunshine to shine away all the blue moments. You've combined both moods in these gorgeous muffins (blue berries and sunny lemon). I hope your travel dream comes true - what an adventure that would be!

  14. I can't think of anything more blissful than the combination of blueberry, lemons and cream cheese. These muffins are brilliant.

    Sometimes it's good to have the blues- sadness can be beautiful and healing. :)

  15. Along with the sunshine, can you send some California warmth my way? What amazing muffins...the flavor combo is perfect! Wishing you many, many happy moments in 2013! xoxo

  16. Hello La queen...those look as i imagined very delicious. And I'm drooling now! :)
    I would ask you the same like Liz asked to send me some sunshine too...i miss blue sky, everything is gray for the last 5 day around here...and it's sucks! :D
    Have a wonderful week and enjoy!

  17. It has been a rough year for you and your family Gina. That rock band better get back to you soon! Good for you for making a great list filled with happiness. I know along the way there will be great treats like this one. Thanks for sharing:) xx

  18. Blueberries, lemons, cream cheese and muffins all at the same time?! Magic Gina! Baking makes me feel better when I am feeling low too- am sure this brought in rainbows and sunshine into your kitchen :)
    Loved the springrolls you brought to Lisa's party. and yes I hope I get to taste them in real life too :)

  19. Show the band your baked good and you're bound to get on the bus ;) It's been cold (for SoCal) and dreary here, too - it finally warmed up today. I'm ready for some sunshine and lemon blueberry muffins! Sorry to hear that 2012 was such a tough year for you and your family - wishing you a year of happiness in 2013, Gina.

  20. You brought me some sunshine with these little gems! One day at a time ;)

  21. Gina can you send some of these muffins my way? We’re freezing here and in much need of lot and lots of sunshine. I just can’t wait till spring starts here, cuz that means that summer is not far behind. If you manage to land that roadie gig, make sure you swing by Holland!

    PS; I'm sure you felt so much better after eating a couple of these muffins =)

  22. haha - take me with you bella!!! thank you for your encouragement in jumping back in, it feels write, to read, all of it. I do have big plans this year, to soak it all in, every moment, to suck the marrow out and not let one juicy morsel pass me by. to be intentional with my thoughts & time, to choose joy, to encourage others as often as possible!!! I hope to sneak away some time this year, with my husband, and at least once without to visit some girlfriends. We hope to move into a bigger place this summer since we seem to be outgrowing this one...and to write more!!! you must take pics of the crafts you glitter and bedazzle!!!!! sending all my love xoxo

  23. Lilly stopping by Holland sounds too good to pass up.

  24. These muffins would be perfect for my breakfast all the layers...they sure look awesome Gina.
    Have a great week!

  25. This looks so delicious. Would love to try that one. Thank you for sharing your recipe! :)