Santa Monica & Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Muffins with Almonds

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My fellow Philadelphians and I awoke to a rainy, snowy mess this morning! And while I love living in a place with four seasons, I couldn’t help but ponder what it would be like to live in a place that has summer — my favorite season– all year round…somewhere like Santa Monica, a beach-front city near Los Angeles I visited two weeks ago.

I’d start my day with a workout, the way I do now, but something on or near the beach, like biking, surfing, or volleyball.

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Afterwards, I’d go to breakfast at Urth Caffe on Main Street, claiming a table outside in the sunshine

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and enjoying the exclusive organic coffee and healthy menu options.

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The challenge would be to stop myself from indulging daily in their delicious baked goods!

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I wouldn’t be able to resist a walk down Ocean Avenue

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towards Santa Monica Pier,

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stopping by the 100 year-old landmark to see the aquarium, amusement park, and 1920s carousel.

And I’d stay at the beach

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until, like it did on the day I visited, the marine layer rolled in and a fog settled over the beach.

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Then, I’d walk over to Third Street Promenade, three blocks of pedestrian-only shopping, dining, and entertainment, to enjoy the street performers or, perhaps, a joke.

IMG_4803What would be next? My California dreaming ended when I finished tying my snow boots this morning, but I knew I could capture the feeling of sunshine and summer with Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Muffins with Almonds!

The recipe for these muffins combines those of Giada De Laurentiis and Two Peas and Their Pod.

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Click Here to Print this Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
  • Sparkling sugar

 Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 15 muffin cups with paper liners.
  • Sprinkle bottom of liners with toasted almonds.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat sugar, butter, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in ricotta. Beat in egg, lemon juice, and almond and vanilla extracts.

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  • Add the dry ingredients and stir until blended (the batter will be thick).
  • Gently fold in blueberries.

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  • Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle sparkling sugar over the muffins. Bake until the muffins become a pale golden color on top, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM PHILADELPHIA TO SANTA MONICA: 2,416 miles

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8 responses

  1. I enjoy summer also and feel that it’s the best season. I can envision sitting outside with a cup of coffee, newspaper, and one of these fresh, mouth-watering muffins. Oooh, hurry summer!

  2. Enjoyed reading about your Santa Monica trip. The muffins sound outrageously delicious! I’m sure they would be a welcome addition to the Urth Caffe menu.

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