It's getting late in the day. The evening sun filters down in spirals and shafts of fading light. Soon, dusky shadows will appear. Right now the sky is suffused with pink, the sun melting in golden streaks into the rapidly oncoming dark.
I feel the deepest sort of contentment at this hour of the day. There's dinner ahead, and a comfortable chair at the kitchen table, and you'll be sitting across from me. After we finish eating -- bowls of lemony pasta sprinkled with grated cheese and crunchy snap peas -- you're still hungry. I didn't make dessert, but I'm nothing if not resourceful.
I offer up a bag of homemade chocolate biscotti. No. There's a few scoops of frozen cookie dough hanging around. No. Perhaps a square of dark chocolate? That earns a shake of the head. Then I say, "Maybe I could just improvise. A surprise of sorts." I get a nod.
I fill a shallow bowl with a few scoops of plain Greek yogurt. Creamy and thick, it's a little lonesome. There's raspberry jam and honey, or I could streak the yogurt with almond butter and cacao nibs. Instead I find two leftover lemon rosemary muffins waiting to be eaten. A day old, they're still moist and fragrant. I break them apart with my fingers and layer them over the yogurt. A little drizzle of limoncello.
You eat, and there's a satisfying sound of the spoon scraping the bottom of the bowl.
The sky is dark now. I put the dishwasher on to run, think sleepily of the new book waiting on my bedside table, and consider it the sort of night that doesn't make it into the record books, but adds up to a life very well spent.
Although delicious with yogurt, these muffins are very good plain. You could toast them and have them with butter, or even crisp them up and serve them over ice cream like a crazy dessert crouton (I think I am onto something here...). They are sweet but not very much so, sort of reminiscent of a lovely, delicate cornbread.
Lemon Rosemary Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1/3 cup crème fraîche
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest (or regular lemon zest)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line it with muffin papers.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the sugar with the eggs until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the crème fraîche and mix well.
Add the olive oil and lemon extract and lemon juice (if using) and mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine, but don't overmix.
Fold the lemon zest and rosemary into the batter.
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin tins. Fill each well about 2/3 of the way full. If you have extra batter, just fill up as much of another pan as you can.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The muffins should be JUST barely beginning to brown. As soon as they start to get even slightly golden, take them out. It's really key not to overbake these, or they won't be as nice and moist.
Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes in the pan before enjoying.