We just got back from a whirlwind two weeks of traveling. We spent a weekend in Indianapolis celebrating my goddaughter Maggie's half-birthday (necessary every year, with a birthday only days after Christmas). Then we flew to San Francisco for a magnificent 5 days of coastline drives, catching up with dear friends, stone fruit (a couple weeks early! such a treat!), and not enough sleep. We were home just long enough to unpack, do laundry, and re-pack, and then headed up to Traverse City for a week. We packed in all of the things a summer in Northern Michigan is made of: a hike in the Sleeping Bear Dunes to a spectacular Lake Michigan view, bonfires, fireworks, the Cherry Festival, ice cream, s'mores, swimming, paddleboarding, and cherry picking. On our last night, we sat on the dock, leaned back, and stared at the sky, velvety black and full of stars.
Our neighborhood farmers market happened during the two days when we were home in the middle, so I had to stop by. Thank goodness I did, because black raspberry season is incredibly short, and there they were, plump and perfect. I picked up two pints and dragged them home, and got to work making them into delicious goodies. My priorities are suspect, sometimes. I really needed to be cleaning and packing. But you know what? Black raspberries only happen once a year, and I needed to celebrate their magic while it lasted.
I have no regrets.
Black Raspberry Muffins
I made these with red raspberries a few weeks back, so feel free to substitute your favorite berry. The lime zest is the thing that sets these muffins apart. You could use lemon or orange, but the lime is really unusual and special. You could also sub in ricotta cheese or plain yogurt for the sour cream.
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup sugar
Zest of a lime
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups black raspberries
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and butter a standard-size muffin tin. Whisk together the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Add the melted butter. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lime zest and use your fingers or a fork to work the zest into the sugar, releasing the citrus oil (and flavor). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lime sugar. Add the wet ingredients, and fold together until barely combined. Don't over mix! Fold in the berries gently.
Scoop the batter into the muffin tins, and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if you like. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the tins and cool on a rack. Serve warm.
Makes 1 dozen. (When completely cooled, these can be frozen. Your future self will thank you for the quick and easy muffins!)