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Honey and Goat Cheese Filled Fig Muffins

April 15, 2010

by Emily

We clearly have a little cheese theme going here at LDM.  It isn’t that we don’t like variety, but honestly, we are très cheese obsessed! We find that cheese seems to make just about every dish better, whether it’s the star of the show or just a garnish.

The best part (problem?) is that there are so many wonderful varieties and ways to incorporate this wonderful ingredient, that the possibilities (and recipes) are seemingly endless.

So when Katie delivered this gem of a recipe to my inbox, I was so excited, more excited than usual over a cheese recipe – because this recipe is genius… CHEESE in sweet muffins?  How much better can it get?

I just love how the tangy goat cheese and sweet honey filled center serves as the perfect balance to the nutty – not to mention and healthier – wheat flour.  The figs also add a perfect, subtle sweetness and I think that you will find that this health-conscious recipe is just rich and decadent enough to be incredibly satisfying. 

I do have one warning… you may catch yourself giggling and thinking “top of the muffin to you!” when you transfer these treats to the cooling rack – the tops seem to come all-too-easily-separated from the “stumps” if you aren’t careful and do not let the muffins properly cool.

Honey and Goat Cheese Filled Fig Muffins

3/4 cup crumbled soft goat cheese (or reduced-fat cream cheese)
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
3/4 cup dark or light brown sugar, packed
1 cup low-fat or non-fat buttermilk
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped dried figs (or apricots)
3 tablespoons turbinado (or granulated) sugar

Preheat oven to 425°. Line 12-15 muffin cups with paper liners or coat with cooking spray.

Thoroughly combine goat cheese, honey, lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl. Using a hand mixer was helpful for me. Set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Lightly beat eggs and egg white in a medium bowl. Add brown sugar, the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla, and whisk until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute.

Gradually whisk in buttermilk and oil until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined – do not over mix. Fold in figs.

Spoon half the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Add 1 generous teaspoon of the cheese filling to the center of each muffin, and cover with the remaining batter. There should be no visible filling. Sprinkle the muffins with sugar.

Bake muffins until the edges start to brown and the tops spring back when gently pressed, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring on a wire rack to cool.

Note: cooling is crucial so that the tops do not become separated from the “stumps” of the muffins when transferring (sorry, Elaine Benes!).

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