You probably use olive oil in your kitchen on a regular basis for savory cooking, but it can be a great addition to desserts, as well. Olive oil has a natural fruitiness that is balanced with a bright acidity, so it works particularly well in desserts that include berries or citrus. These Lemon Honey Olive Oil Muffins are a great addition to a spring or summer brunch, made with olive oil, sweetened with honey and kissed with lemon.
The muffins include both sugar and honey in the batter. Honey is a wonderful sweetener with a delicious flavor, but sugar helps to lighten the texture of the muffins and balances the sweetness of the honey (honey actually tastes sweeter than sugar). You’ll still get a nice honey flavor in the finished muffins and the overall texture will be lighter than a muffin sweetened with honey alone.
In addition to the honey, you’ll get a balance of lemon and olive oil in each bite. The muffins use plenty of lemon zest and it is important to use fresh lemons to get the best flavor. The lemon zest enhances the fruitiness of the olive oil and you can taste a difference between lemon zest and lemon extract – so stick to the zest in this recipe! The muffins are very tender, with a firm and moist crumb. That texture is not only helped out by both the sugar and the honey, but by a small amount of almond meal that is mixed into the batter.
I typically serve these with butter or honey butter, but they’re great with jam, too. Although I didn’t include any mix-ins, you could certainly change these up by stirring in your own to put a twist on the basic recipe. Candied ginger is an excellent addition (about 1/4 cup), as are dried cranberries (1 cup) or poppy seeds (1/4 cup).
Lemon Honey Olive Oil Muffins
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp coarse sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and almond meal.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and lemon zest, followed by the eggs. Whisk in olive oil and honey, then stir in the flour mixture and mix until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups and top with coarse sugar.
Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.