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I rebel against spending loads of money on Valentine’s Day; I guess I fall into the “I love him every day of the year” camp, but also I can’t seem to justify spending money just because. The husband and I don’t do well with commercial holidays, I suppose. We traditionally cook for each other on V Day, and what better way to show your love to someone, right?

I wanted a treat to go with coffee this morning, so I got out a recipe I’ve had on hand for months but hadn’t tried yet– and then I tweaked it. (Because I always do.) It is this gorgeous muffin recipe, and I can’t wait to make them someday, but I didn’t have fresh blackberries in the house. I did have some frozen blueberries, and coincidentally (or not) those are R’s favorite fruit for breakfast, whether they are fresh, in yogurt, pancakes or muffins. I pay attention to these details for a reason. I didn’t want to make a dozen muffins, so I altered the recipe slightly and made a loaf of quick bread instead, and it is divine. The ricotta adds moisture and makes a delicate crumb; the lemon is prominent in the best of ways and goes perfectly with the blueberries. This bread is sweet, but not so much so you might feel guilty eating it for breakfast. I will certainly make it again, and I won’t wait until next February to do so.

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Bread

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 4 T. butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. ricotta cheese (I used Trader Joe’s fresh ricotta; either whole milk or part-skim would work)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees; grease an 8″ x 4″ loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, if using; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix the lemon zest and sugar, pressing them together with the back of a spoon or your fingers to perfume the sugar thoroughly with lemon. Add the softened butter to the sugar mixture and beat until fluffy; add the ricotta and beat until smooth. Add in the egg, lemon juice and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.

Add your dry ingredients and the blueberries to the bowl and mix *by hand* just until dry ingredients are wet; overmixing will create a tough, heavier bread. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 45-50 mins., until a skewer or knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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