Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lemon Cheesecake Zucchini Muffins



As promised- another delicious  zucchini recipe from Carol.


Every summer, I challenge myself to create at least 3 new zucchini breads/muffin recipes. Inspiration for flavor ideas come from everywhere-and at any time. I keep an ongoing list on hand to add all those ideas to.

There are so many decadent flavors of cheesecake out there. That got me thinking...cheesecake...and lemon...and muffin....all together.  How good would THAT be? It sounded like a winner to me in my mind......now could I make it happen for real? Time to find out.....

I don't often peel zucchini when making breads or muffins, but decided I would this time so that the muffins wouldn't be flecked with green. Getting lemon flavor in the batter was easily accomplished by using instant lemon pudding mix, the zest of 1 large lemon and 3 teaspoons of lemon extract.

I wanted something different for a topping. Graham crackers...that's what I'd use for a cheesecake crust. Why not make a crust mixture and use it for a topping?  And while I'm at it, how about making a "crust" on the bottom of the muffin before I add the muffin batter?

I mixed the crust ingredients, then using a measuring tablespoon, added a rounded spoonful of crumbs to each paper liner in my jumbo muffin cups. My Pampered Chef Tart Tamper was the perfect tool to press the crumb mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup.

A medium cookie scoop worked perfectly for getting half of the muffin batter into each cup.  A mini cookie scoop is just the right size to divide the cheesecake filling evenly between all the muffins. The remaining half of the batter gets gently spread over the top of the filling, then as a final touch, the last of the graham cracker crumb mixture gets sprinkled over top of each muffin.

These take a little longer to bake than muffins usually take-about 40 minutes in my oven.  I started testing them at 35 minutes, then every few minutes there after until my cake tester inserted in the center came out clean.

Letting them cool completely was probably the hardest part, Then came the final test-would they taste as good as I imagined they would?


The paper peeled off nicely to reveal all those glorious layers I wanted to see from bottom to top.  The center of the muffin has a nice ribbon of cream cheese running through it. 

One bite and I knew I had a winner. All the heavenly flavors of a decadent lemon cheesecake in a muffin-with ZUCCHINI no less! The burst of lemon comes shining through, the cream cheese adds a rich ribbon of creamy goodness and the graham cracker topping adds a nice texture and one more layer of flavor.

If you're a lemon lover and have zucchini busting out of your garden that needs to be used in a new recipe, I hope you'll give these a try. I mean really-don't you want lemon cheesecake for breakfast? Now you can have it! How cool is that?  ;)


Carol

LEMON CHEESECAKE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS

CRUST AND TOPPING:
1 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

FILLING:
1 (8 oz.) pkg. 1/3 less fat OR regular cream cheese, softened 
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. clear OR pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. lemon extract

MUFFIN BATTER:
3 large eggs
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. canola OR vegetable oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 tsp. lemon extract
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
2 c. peeled shredded zucchini
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 (4 serving size) pkg. lemon instant pudding mix
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a small bowl.  Stir in the melted butter until the mixture is well combined.  Set aside.

For the filling, in a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth and creamy and the sugar has dissolved.  Beat in the, egg, vanilla and lemon extract on medium speed until combined. Set the filling aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 12 jumbo muffin cups with paper liners.  Set the pans aside.

For the muffin batter, place the peeled shredded zucchini in a colander to drain while assembling the rest of the ingredients.

Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until well mixed and sugar is dissolved.  Add the oil and whisk until blended.  Stir in the vanilla, lemon extract and lemon zest. 

If needed, squeeze the excess liquid out of the zucchini and stir it into the egg mixture.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, dry pudding mix, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture and stir just until the flour is completely incorporated.  Do not overmix.

Place a slightly rounded measuring tablespoon of the crust mixture in the bottom of each prepared muffin cup.  I use my Pampered Chef Tart Tamper to press the crumbs evenly in the bottom of the paper liner, but you could use the bottom of a small glass or your fingers to give the crumbs a press until the bottom of each cup is evenly coated with the crumb mixture. 

Divide half of the muffin batter between the muffin cups.

Divide the filling between the muffins and gently spread it across the lemon batter. 

Top the filling with the remaining muffin batter

Sprinkle the top of each muffin with the remaining graham cracker mixture. 

Bake @ 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the muffins cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes; run a butter knife around the edge of each muffin and gently lift the muffins out of the pans to a wire rack to cool completely.  Serve at room temperature or cold.  Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. These freeze well too. Makes 12 jumbo muffins.

NOTE: If you would like do make regular size muffins, proceed as above but use 24 standard size muffin cups. Bake @ 350 for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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80 comments:

  1. I'm loving Carol's zucchini week! These recipes all sound incredible...especially these muffins. What a great idea! Pinned!

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  2. OMG Carol......these look AMAZING !!! Even I would eat this. You can't tell there is an Zucchini in them. Wow, this recipe is a real winner. I am in awe of how you can create the way you want them to come out. Enter these in a Contest, you would come in first. I can't wait to share this one.

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    1. That's what's great about zucchini, Myra.....you can't taste it in baked goods...and if you peel it, you can't see it either. It's a blank canvas that can go sweet or savory....that's why I love it.

      Me in a cooking contest? Ohhhh no....I'd probably set myself on fire! :)

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  3. These look amazing! If I eat 3, does that count as a trio of vegetable servings? :) Stopping by from This Is How We Roll Thursday!

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    1. I like the way you think, Elizabeth. :) And there's lemon in there-does that count as a serving of fruit????? I hope you enjoy them if you give them a try.

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    2. Yes. Definitely a fruit serving, Carol! :) Just saw this lovely recipe again on the Weekend Recipe Link-Up Party. This MUST be a sign that I need to make these ASAP! ;)

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  4. Oh my goodness, these look so good! Next time I need a breakfast for guests, these are on the top of the list!

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    1. They're delicious, Carlee....and perfect for breakfast guests.

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  5. Wow! Sounds totally delicious. Love the flavors of lemon and cheesecake.

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    1. I'm with you Linda---lemon and cheesecake can't be beat....that's why this muffin idea got stuck in my head...so glad it worked out so well!

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  6. Oh I have to try this. I can't have the sugar but I am sure one won't hurt me. My neighbor Lady will love them if Larry doesn't eat them first. Thank you for the great recipe.

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    1. Dottiemaye, these freeze very well too. Always nice to share with neighbors and friends. :}

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  7. First off, YUM!! I have a zucchini ready and waiting to be made into these! This is such a clever use for zucchini! Can't wait to try. Would love if you stopped by and shared at tonights Throw Back Thursday link party!

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    1. Hi Alli-I'm just a guest poster...this is my friend Linda's blog. Could you leave a link to the party you're talking about? Thanks-and I hope you enjoy the muffins. :)

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  8. Oh dang! These sound so good. Pinning and hoping my daughter wants to tackle these soon. Thanks!!

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  9. I'm really impressed. You hid veggies in cheesecake! can't wait to try these!

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    1. I did! And it worked great, Kari. :) I hope you like them as much as we do.

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  10. Love! Pinning and drooling. ;)

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  11. This sounds delicious! It is a flavor combination I would not have thought of and look forward to giving it a try. I love adding a little something extra healthy to our muffins too.

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    1. It's a great way to "sneak" a vegetable into baked goods, that's for sure, Joann. I hope you like them if you give them a try. :)

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  12. Don't you just love it when an idea in your head turns out the way you want it to? You've got great ideas Carol. I have a file with some of your favorites.

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    1. I do like the rare occasions when that happens......lately not as much as it used to. Thanks Cyndy. :)

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  13. This recipe sounds marvelous. What a great way to hide the veggies from the grandkids! Thanks for sharing.

    Come share your post at Snickerdoodle Sunday. The party is in full swing. We start at 3 PM Saturday. Here is the link. http://www.sewtravelinspired.com/home/snickerdoodle-sunday-94 The more the merrier! While you're there share a comment on a natural wonder near you.

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    1. Hi Maria-Linda has your blog listed on her party list, so the links are already there. You're right-this is a great way to hide vegetables from the grandkids-what they don't know won't hurt 'em. :)

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  14. Oh these sound great especially being able to use zucchini. I agree with Maria good way to hide the veggies. So we can be naughty and healthy at the same time. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us at #anythinggoes link up

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    1. Yes indeed Sue-naughty and healthy while having a treat...doesn't get much better than that, right?

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  15. Hello! Im here via Julie's linky party! This recipe sounds beaut! I dont bake often because I tend to eat the goods hehe! Lovely to meet you, hope you'll drop by Lovethatlippie blog! :-)

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    1. I hear ya-baked goods on the counter can be very tempting. Nice to meet you and thanks for the invite to your blog. :)

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  16. These look delish! I am always watching for new muffin recipes, and the fact that these contain cheesecake AND zucchini blows me away. Thanks for sharing this recipe - I will need to try this ASAP. :) Visiting from Merry Monday link party.

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    1. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do, Joan. You can never have enough new muffin ideas. :)

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  17. These look so yummy...almost too pretty to eat! Thanks for sharing all the details for the recipe.

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  18. These are beautiful, and I'm glad they taste as good as they look! :-) I'm hesitant to try the recipe, though. I made zucchini bread once, and as tasty as it was...it was a big pain. lol!

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    1. Hi Mishael-sorry to hear your zucchini bread recipe was so much work. These are a bit fussy but the end result is SO worth it. :)

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    2. Mishael- I love to bake and every recipe Carol has shared with me has gotten fantastic reviews from my family.

      Spending time in the kitchen is a passion for me and no matter how long something takes the smiles and thanks I get are so worth it.

      Thank you for stopping by.

      Linda

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  19. yup so going to try these...thanks for sharing. Stopping by from #TuesdaysTable

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  20. Love this! My kiddos devour zucchini bread, but delicious muffins will get me major kudos! Thanks for linking your awesome recipe up at Merry Monday!

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    1. Thanks Megan-and kudos from the kiddos is always a good thing! :)

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  21. These look amazing! And since it's a muffin that means it's perfectly acceptable for breakfast, right?!?

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    1. ABSOLUTELY, Jennifer....and think of it this way...zucchini and lemon...fruit and vegetable servings for breakfast....how can you beat that? :)

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  22. So glad you linked these up at Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop this week. I pinned the recipe!

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  23. Oh wow! Can't wait to try these. They look absolutely scrumptious! Pinning. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Thank so much, Jann-have a good one! :)

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  24. Oh my goodness Carol! These look absolutely gorgeous. I'm not very adventurous with my muffins but yours look amazing. Bet they taste good too. Thanks so much for linking up to Thriving on Thursdays. I'm featuring this post at tomorrow's party. Thanks for joining in each week.

    Anne @ Domesblissity

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  25. This is a fantastic Zucchini Cupcake! Hope you are having a great day and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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    1. Thanks Miz Helen-wish I could pass one to ya! :)

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  26. Looks Yummy!! I want one now!! Thanks for Sharing on My 2 favorite Things on Thursday!! Hope to see you again this week!! Pinned!

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    1. Thank you Elaine-they're delicious, that's for sure.

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  27. And I just picked up some zucchini off the bargain rack a few hours ago....

    Thanks for sharing on Creative K Kids Tasty Tuesdays. Hope to see you back next week.

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    1. Perfect! Hope you got enough to make these AND the Cookies 'n Cream Zucchini Bread! :) Thanks Audrey....

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  28. Oh how I am LOVING this recipe! So much so, I've chosen it to be my personal favorite at tomorrow's Weekend Potluck party. Sure would love for you to come on over and share another one of your lovely dishes. Pinned!
    www.thebetterbaker.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Marsha-this is my friend Linda's blog, so I'll pass your information on to her....thanks so much and I hope you enjoy the muffins if you give them a try....

      Carol

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  29. Cheesecake & zucchini sound great and your muffins look awesome, pinned. thanks for sharing on #wednesdayswisdom

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  30. Thank you for sharing at the Recipe Swap. This recipe looks absolutely delicious.

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    1. Thanks so much-I hope you give them a try!

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  31. What a cute looking recipe! YUMMY!

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

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    1. HI Jess....they're VERY yummy! :)

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  32. What?! These look incredible!! I'm pinning this recipe for sure!

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  33. I'm loving the layers! Lemon cheesecake and zucchini sounds yummy. :) Thanks for stopping by and sharing this on Five Friday Finds!

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    1. These are so good CJ....hope you like them if you give them a try.

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  34. Hi there Carol!! Stopped by to let you know that this was my favorite link up from last week's Teach Me Tuesday party. It will be featured this week ;)

    Thanks so much for linking up with us!

    Have an awesome week ;)

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    1. Hi Bobbi-thank you SO much for the feature! Have a super rest of the week. :)

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  35. I love this recipe even more than the last zucchini recipe I adore lemon - Thanks for linking up to Pin Worthy Wednesday, I have pinned your post to the Pin Worthy Wednesday Pinterest Board.

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    1. Thanks Amber.... so many ways to spin zucchini bread-and I have to try them all. I love lemon too. :)

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  36. These look so wonderful! Light and delicious - do you have any leftover? :D Hey thanks for stopping by and sharing with us at #TryABiteTuesdays - hope to see you back this week, pinning and sharing!

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    1. Of COURSE I have some to share, Debra! :) I hope you enjoy them if you give the a try.

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  37. Yum!! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! This post has been pinned on the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! I love having you and can't wait to see you next week!

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