I was staring intently at the butter-colored pages of my current recipe notebook, confidently awaiting some burst of genius to take form. Inspiration is always a challenge for me during this time of the year.
I find myself aching to make holiday recipes, but there isn't a family gathering in sight. I am craving pasta, but green smoothies seem more appropriate. It's January, and we all know that a certain amount of tedium is obligatory during this rather boring winter month.
Rather than thinking about what I wanted to eat, which at the moment was Cocoa Krispies, I decided to think about what Mr. Pedantic might be craving. His favorite things in this whole entire world (besides yours truly, of course) are lemon and coconut. Lemon AND coconut? Sounds like a stroke of brilliance to me.
Muffins are a good place to start. I love making them as much as I do eating them, and they are equally as satisfying for breakfast as they are for an afternoon snack. So, I made lemon coconut muffins with the most wonderful, sugary streusel topping and they were perfect.
Not only are they Mr. Pedantic approved, I myself, a true coconut-texture-hater, am in love with them.
I did myself a favor by chopping the shredded coconut into itty bitty pieces in my food processor. The result was even better than I had hoped. The crisp, toasted coconut studs the muffins, adding texture, but not the waxy, stick-in-your-teeth kind that we might expect.
The flavors are so fresh and happy.
The most important thing to remember is not to count how many you eat.
January is looking a little brighter.
Lemon Coconut Muffins with Coconut Streusel
makes 20 muffins // total time: 1 hour
FOR THE MUFFINS
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons lemon zest (about 2 small lemons worth)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two muffin tins by filling with 20 paper muffin liners.
Place shredded coconut in a small skillet and set over medium heat. Keep a close eye on the pan and stir often to ensure that the coconut does not burn. Toast until golden brown. Remove from heat and transfer to the work bowl of your food processor. Pulse the coconut several times - until finely chopped.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Place butter in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Combine sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and use the tines of a fork to press the zest into the sugar.
Add the prepared sugar to the butter and cream together for one minute. Beat in egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add coconut milk and 1/2 of the flour mixture. Mix until well combined. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the remaining half of the flour mixture, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Fold in the toasted coconut.
Prepare the streusel.
Divide the batter evenly amongst the muffin cups and top each muffin with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the chilled streusel.
Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Place the pans on cooling racks and allow the muffins to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
FOR THE STREUSEL
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and shredded coconut. Use your fingertips to work the butter into the flour mixture. Once the butter has been broken up into pea-sized pieces, transfer the mixture to the work bowl of your food processor. Pulse 3-5 times - until the mixture is crumbly.
Transfer the mixture to the freezer and chill for 10 minutes.