My favorite muffin recipes tend to be easy ones that can be put together in just a few minutes. This is generally because I like to whip up muffins in the morning and enjoy them when they are still fresh from the oven. These Buttermilk Lime Muffins are particularly easy to make and I almost always have the ingredients on hand to put a batch together on short notice. They’re fluffy and tender, with a bright punch of fresh lime and a sugary crunch on top.
The batter is made using both lime zest and lime juice. The lime zest – the colorful outer skin of the citrus fruit – is where all the essential oils from the citrus can be found and it is where most of the flavor comes from. You’ll want to use a microplane to remove as much zest as possible, without removing the bitter white pith underneath. I added some of the lime juice into the muffin batter along with the buttermilk to use up the zested citrus and to add an extra bit of lime to the mix.
Did I mention that I love how easy this recipe is? I almost always have fresh citrus on hand and, while I used limes in this particular batch, you could easily use other citrus fruits for a quick variation. Buttermilk has a warm tang that works well with just about any citrus, so feel free to use lemon, orange, grapefruit or something more exotic – like yuzu.
Don’t skip the sugar topping, however, as the muffins are not overly sweet and the coarse sugar on top finishes them off perfectly. If you want to bring in even more citrus, you can use homemade lemon sugar (or sub in limes, of course!) for plain sugar! The muffins will keep for a day or two after baking, but are at their absolute best when they are fresh.
Buttermilk Lime Muffins
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lime zest
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup lime juice
coarse sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, melted butter, egg, vanilla extract and lime zest until smooth. Blend in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk and lime juice. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, mixing until no streaks of dry ingredients remain and batter is uniform. Divide evenly into prepared muffin pan. Sprinkle the top of each muffin generously with coarse sugar.
Bake for 19-22 minutes, or until the muffins spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
Makes 12 muffins.