The original recipe calls for chopped dried figs but I subbed in dried apricots as I adore the flavor and punch of bright color it lends to the whole wheat interior. I imagine these would also be divine with cranberries or raisins. Be sure to serve these warm or at least room temperature as the goat cheese center tends to lose its goo factor otherwise. For those (crazy) goat cheese averse, cream cheese would work nicely here as well.
Adapted from Eating Well Magazine
3/4 cup crumbled soft goat cheese
2 Tbs honey
1 tsp lemon zest
1 1/4 tsps vanilla extract
2 cups white whole-wheat flour (King Arthur makes a great one)
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups dried apricots, chopped
Turbinado/coarse sugar, for sprinkling (I used Sugar in the Raw brand)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese, honey, lemon zest and 1/4 tsp of the vanilla. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat together the eggs, egg white, brown sugar and remaining 1 Tb of vanilla until smooth. Slowly whisk in the buttermilk and oil then pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until combined.
4. Scoop 1 Tb of batter into each muffin cup. Top with a heaping tsp of the goat cheese mixture and scoop remaining batter on top – muffin cups will be fairly full. Make sure goat cheese mixture is completely covered, spreading top batter layer around gently with a knife if necessary. Sprinkle tops with turbinado sugar.
5. Bake 13-15 minutes until the edges and tops are lightly brown. Let cool in the pan 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. Muffins will keep 2-3 days at room temperature or wrap them individually in plastic wrap and freeze. To defrost, remove plastic wrap and microwave for 30-45 seconds.