Start by making a lemon syrup. Have ready:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 lemon juice
- the zest of one lemon
Combine all the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and boil, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the batter, combine in a large bowl:
- 3 and 1/2 cups flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
Mix well. Then, combine in a different bowl:
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- zest of 2 lemons (I peel the zest off in strips and let it steep in the lemon juice separately while I mix the eggs and milk; when I am ready to add in the lemon juice to this mixture, I pour it through a strainer to remove the peels)
Separately, melt 2 sticks of butter.
Now, quickly combine the dry ingredients, the eggs and lemon juice mixture, and the melted butter. Preheat the oven to 375. Spoon the batter into paper-lined muffin tins. Sprinkle each muffin with a little bit of sugar -- the original recipe calls for a teaspoon of sugar atop each, but that seems far too much. A dash will do.
Bake until golden brown and rounded, about 20 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks. The recipe claims to make 18 muffins, but I found it made close to 30.
While they are still warm, cut 3 or 4 narrow gashes in each muffin with a knife, from top to bottom. Spoon the lemon syrup over them. They are scrumptious right at that moment and excellent the next day, when the syrup has really soaked in.
As we like to say about very good things: ooh.