After a motivated red raspberry search among the out-of-season bushes at Highland Orchards, we ended up with a solid 5 cups to
work with – totally worth the effort. Forgoing a Raspberry Vinegar or Raspberry Chipotle Barbeque Sauce recipe because of limited time, bake-mode it was and my sister Michelle had the perfect recipe: Red Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins.
This recipe dates quite a ways back to our high schools years when Michelle was the executive chef between the two of us and I not even the sous. After years of wanting to resurrect these muffins following a successful first run, here opportunity was knocking.
If you are familiar with my culinary tendencies than you know that I love nutritious ingredient substations. Cooking Light churns these types of recipes out like it’s there job…because it is…and this one is a winner; not because it swaps “healthy” for “not” ingredients 1:1, but because it adds a better-for-you option while reducing the more offensive. Low-fat cream cheese instead of all butter. Egg whites instead of full eggs. Low-fat buttermilk instead of whole. These are just a few great examples that can generically be applied to many recipes – sweet and savory.
The muffin consistency falls perfectly in between what you may think a classic muffin (a bit dense) and a nice cake (on the lighter side). The batter itself was an absolute delight to make – one of the most beautiful I’ve worked with. Folding the bright red berries into the silky, creamy mixture produced an appearance that reminded me of a creamsicle. The resulting flavor is smooth with a nice hint of vanilla and flavor pockets of tart fruit.
While I have not yet tested the success of this recipe with frozen red raspberries, I venture to guest that it would work well. Otherwise, with a summer past, keep this one in your back pocket to promptly whip out come the first sign of warm-again days.
Red Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins
Recipe from Cooking Light
2/3 cup (5 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk*
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until well blended. Add sugar; beat until fluffy. Add vanilla, egg whites, and egg; beat well.
3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and buttermilk to cream cheese mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Gently fold in raspberries and walnuts.
4. Place 24 foil cup liners in muffin cups. Spoon batter evenly into liners. Bake at 350° 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans; cool on a wire rack.
If you do not have buttermilk in your fridge, fear not. You can easily and quickly make a buttermilk substitute on your own using whatever regular milk is available. Buttermilk is more acidic than milk which gives it the slightly sour flavor and curdled appearance. By adding an acidic agent to milk – in form of vinegar or lemon juice – the reactions produce the acidity and texture needed within recipes that call for buttermilk.
1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup milk + 1 Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice (combine and let stand for 10 minutes before using in recipe)