In the The Willowbee Tree story, “The Rarest Fruit”, Clancy loves all kinds of fruit, but what he wants more than anything is to taste rare fruits he has never had before. When the Willow Tree takes the children to Assam, India, Clancy encounters something particularly special—the very first lemon tree.
In our modern times, we take citrus fruit for granted, but not so long ago lemons and limes and oranges were actually rare and expensive. Even my own mother—who would love for me to tell you that's she's still quite young—likes to tell how she used to get an orange in the toe of her stocking each Christmas morning and it was considered a real treat.
I'm so glad that isn't the case anymore. Like Clancy's mom, I love to put a bit of lemon in everything. From a bit of zest rubbed onto grilled meats to a squeeze of juice over my lunchtime salads, lemons make just about everything a bit brighter and more joyful.
These muffins are no exception.
While they look a lot like traditional lemon poppy seed muffins, I've swapped out the poppy seeds for chia seeds, and the butter and milk for olive oil and Greek yogurt. Not only do those substitutions make these muffins a bit healthier—and thus maybe less of a “rare” treat—they also make them incredibly moist and tender.
I've also added a pinch of ginger to give them a little kick. The amount listed in the recipe below will result in just a hint of ginger in the finished muffins, but if you really love ginger feel free to add a little more.
Lemon Ginger Chia Muffins (makes 12 muffins)
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
½ cup olive oil
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon (a piece about the size of the tip of your pinky) fresh grated ginger
1½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chia seeds
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, olive oil, sugar, vanilla, the zest and juice of the lemon, and the grated ginger. Add the egg, and mix until the ingredients are well incorporated.
In a smaller bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In two or three additions, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet until the two are combined. Add the chia seeds last, and, again, stir them in well.
Spoon the batter into muffin papers or a well-oiled muffin pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
These can be stored in an airtight container, and will keep very well for 3-4 days.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.