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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fennel and walnut ricotta-filled muffins

When I saw this recipe for ricotta-filled semi-sweet muffins with fennel flavor and roasted walnut topping I just had to try them. Of course, I twinkled it a bit every here and there. Took extra time to make compared to most other muffins, but the extra effort to roast and break up the fennel seeds and walnuts was worth it. 
A notable fact about them is that they're not your average sweet dessert, their sweetness is more like a hint... They're perfect to enjoy with jam or honey for breakfast or with a cup of tea in the afternoon. 
Here goes nothing :).

Ingredients (for 12 muffins):
  • 375 g flour
  • 150 g sugar
  • 150 ml sunflower kernel oil (or some other vegetable oil but not olive oil, its flavor is too heavy here)
  • 150 g yogurt
  • 2 large tablespoons (30 ml) sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 60 g walnuts
  • 12 tablespoons (about 130-150 g) ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (half a 7 g package)
  • a little salt
  • a few teaspoons of powder sugar or vanilla sugar

In a small frying pan with no oil, fry the walnuts on medium intensity, stirring or agitating the pan once in a while (to avoid burning), for about 10 minutes until they're browned and fragrant:

Do the same for the fennel seeds, toasting them for 3-4 minutes until browned and fragrant:

When they're toasted they should look like this:

Smash the roasted walnuts in a bowl with a fork:

Also cut each fennel seed into pieces with a knife (or smash them with the blade's edge):

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and crushed fennel seeds:

Add the oil, yogurt and sour cream:

Mix everything well into an even batter:

Line a muffin tin with paper forms and fill them with batter half way. Dig a well in the center of each filled muffin form, coating the walls with batter and leaving a valley in the center:

Put one tablespoon (or 3/4) of ricotta cheese into each well in the middle of the muffin batter:

Sprinkle about 1/3 teaspoon of powder sugar on top of each ricotta filling. Take one tablespoon of the remaining batter and shape it like a flat circle with your hands, to fit each muffin's top:

Tuck it in around the edges by pressing with your fingertips:

Sprinkle the roasted walnuts on top of the muffins:

Put in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. Take out and dig in! :)

P.S: Look how yummy that looks:

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