This recipe is the result of my quest to recreate a favorite muffin that I used to love when I was growing up. As a kid, I often frequented Thoroughfare, a small breakfast and lunch spot on the first floor of my mom's office building. This was a bustling spot for a morning cup of coffee, but if you were a kid, it was the perfect place to score an incredible treat...the lemon chocolate chip muffin. My mom and dad thought I was getting breakfast, but I was really ordering dessert. This muffin was packed with lemon flavor, loaded up with chocolate chips, and as my friend Carla reminded me, it was also coated with a crystalized lemon glaze. The muffins were oversized and came in a few different options. Lemon chocolate chip was by far my favorite, but you could also get lemon, orange, and an orange chocolate chip. One day last week, I found myself thinking about these muffins, and decided to try and recreate the muffin that I used to love so much.
Perfecting the Recipe:
In trying to recreate this recipe, I went back to some of the original taste testers... or one of them anyway. I dropped off a container of muffins to my friend Carla who I grew up with. She gave me amazing feedback on the recipe. The original batch was too dry, not lemony enough, and the glaze was too much like a frosting, not crystalized enough on the top of the muffin.
During round two, I went after the moisture and flavor factors. I melted the butter, upped with amount of milk, and swapped the whole milk for buttermilk. I doubled the amount of lemon zest and lemon juice that I added to the recipe and mixed the muffins by hand (to avoid over-mixing) The muffins baked for about 2 minutes less than they had the first time. I lowered the oven temperature from 375° to 350°. In terms of the glaze, I made both a thinner glaze with confectioners sugar and a glaze made with granulated sugar. After consulting with Carla (my very best taste testers at this point), and a King Arthur Flour recipe that she sent along, I settled on a glaze made of granulated sugar and lemon juice. I warmed sugar and lemon juice over low heat in a sauce pan. Once the sugar had dissolved, I poured it over the baked muffins. This set up and formed a crispy, sweet, lemony crust on the top of each muffin. Perfection! It also got Carla approval which is all that really matters. 🙂
My kids actually prefer the muffins without the glaze. They are good this way as well, just not quite as full of lemon flavor. These muffins are amazing. And they are just about as good as I remember them being when they came in that white bakery bag from Thoroughfare. I hope you give this recipe a try...you'll be glad that you did!
Making the Muffins:
To make this recipe, you want to start with your eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and Crème fraîche, all at room temperature. You'll melt ½ cup of butter in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Allow the butter to cool while you mix your dry ingredients. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, and lemon zest in a small mixing bowl. Toss gently to combine. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the melted butter with the Crème fraîche, buttermilk, vanilla. egg, egg yolk, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and fold gently until just combined. Fold the chocolate chips into the batter.
Finally, you divide the batter among 12 prepared muffin cups and bake at 350° for 21 minutes. These will look quite light when you pull them from the oven. You can definitely go a minute or two longer if you like your muffins with a little more color on the top. You may be sacrificing a little but of moisture, but maybe not.
Once the muffins have cooled, you'll prepare the glaze by combining ¼ cup fresh lemon juice with ½ cup of granulated sugar. Warm the glaze over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Finally, you will spoon the glaze over the muffins and allow the glaze to cool and harden before enjoying your muffins.
This is definitely a decadent recipe. These muffins could almost be cupcakes. They are light, tender, and filled with lemon and chocolate chips. I hope you enjoy them!
Lemon Chocolate Chip Muffins
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp lemon zest zest of 2 lemons
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup Crème fraîche at room temperature
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 egg yolk at room temperature
- ½ cup buttermilk at room temperature
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla at room temperature
- 4 tbsp lemon juice juice of 2 lemons
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan. Either line with muffin papers or spray with cooking spray.
- In a liquid measuring cup, melt ½ cup of butter. Allow butter to cool while you combine the dry ingredients.
- In a large mixing bowl, combing flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest. Stir to combine.
- To the melted butter, add Crème fraîche, egg and egg yolk, buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix gently until the batter is just combined. Be careful not to over-mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. I like to use a cookie scoop for this part. Bake at 350° for 20-22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- In a small sauce pan, combine lemon juice and granulated sugar. Which over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
- Transfer the muffins to a cooling rack. Set up parchment paper underneath the cooling rack. Drizzle the lemon glaze over the cooled muffins. Allow the glaze to set up for 30-45 minutes before serving.
ITEMS THAT I USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE: