Friday, January 21, 2011

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

For the past few days, my main concern has been the cold and the snow. So when I came across a bright, citrus-y recipe I decided to throw farmer's markets to the wind and make something that wasn't so in tune with the season.

Although the recipe was intended for mini-muffins, I decided to go ahead and make extra-large ones too. As a kid, I remember going with my Mom to a cafe not too far from our house, sometimes after preschool had ended for the day, and getting to pick out whatever I wanted. I always went for the massive Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins because, well, they had frosting on them. Hard, milky, sugary frosting. (I only ate the tops). And so my love affair with the oft overlooked, overly dry and/or greasy muffins began innocently enough.

But then, once I had decided I should make some over-sized muffins, I thought "Why choose?" and did some normal sized muffins as well. And what began as an exercise in how much I love frosting lead me to throwing Lemon Poppy Seed extravaganza today (I imagined a lemon poppy seed city, complete with lemon poppy seed muffin families, trees, and buildings). Although the texture was not perfect in all of the muffins (could chalk it up to the newest pans being the minis), I highly recommend going all out and making lots of different sized muffins. It makes it extra fun.

After all was said and baked, I was pleased with all of the muffins but the mini ones did come out the best. The flavor seems stronger in the mini muffins, and their texture was perfect after 22 minutes. Very firm, in the best way possible. Then, although the recipe did not provide for frosting, I, of course had to ice them. Although some like using a lemony frosting, I prefer plain vanilla. A compromise between the two may be to use lemon juice and granulated sugar as a pre-icing glaze (mix your desired amount of lemon juice and sugar until the sugar dissolves) and paint the muffins as soon as they come out of the oven with the mixture so it soaks in and gives them extra shine. I did not think far enough in advance to use this technique for these muffins, so I just whipped up some basic icing with milk, powered sugar, and a bit of vanilla.

Drip (or cover entirely) as desired.

As a note*: The recipe calls for a full 1/4 cup of poppy seeds, but poppy seeds are expensive gosh darnit, so I added them until the batter looked pretty. This ended up being about a third of what was in my 1/4 cup. Of course, if you are poppy seed rich, go crazy.

Lemon Poppy seed Muffins
Makes 3 Dozen Minis, or 12 minis, five regular, and two major muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel
2 large eggs
A smattering poppy seeds* (see above note)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour three mini muffin pans (or whatever), or line with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and baking soda in medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk and lemon juice in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and lemon peel in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until mixture is light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 2 additions. Mix just until blended. Mix in poppy seeds. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups by generous tablespoonfuls.

Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pans and cool on rack. Ice, after cooled, if desired.

Recipe Courtesy of: Epicurious

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