Butterscotch is a caramel flavor made with both butter and brown sugar. The brown sugar means that butterscotch tends to have rich molasses notes that other caramels don’t have, so it stands out from the crowd when it comes to sweets. It’s delicious in a wide variety of baked goods and desserts, as well as in brunch items like these Lemon Butterscotch Muffins!
The muffins are made with a brown sugar and buttermilk batter, with a generous splash of melted butter added in to fortify the butterscotch flavor instead of vegetable oil, which many muffin recipes use. The muffins also include lemon zest, which is far from a standard ingredient in butterscotch. I included it because the bright, citrus flavor of lemon contrasts really well with the flavor of brown sugar, allowing the butterscotch to come through without the muffins seeming overly sweet. Since sugar is the backbone of butterscotch flavor, it is actually quite easy for butterscotch treats to become overly sweet if you’re not careful.
I also used self-rising flour for these muffins, which really streamlines the mixing process because salt and leavening are already included with the flour as you measure it. You can make your own if you don’t have any on hand, but I used White Lily in this instance for muffins with an especially soft, light texture. While the plain muffins are tasty and can be eaten as-is, I mixed in a generous handful (or two) of butterscotch chips. These are on the sweet side, but they’re a nice additional infusion of butterscotch flavor. The muffins would also work well with toasted pecans and walnuts, so feel free to substitute out a portion of the butterscotch chips for chopped, toasted nuts if you’d like to add some contrasting textures to your batch.
Lemon Butterscotch Muffins with Butterscotch Chips
2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour and brown sugar.
In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla extract, egg and melted butter. Pour wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in butterscotch chips until well-distributed. Divide mixture evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each nearly to the top.
Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until muffins are golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 12 muffins.