Muffins have always been one of my favorite baked goods. They’re so simple, yet there is something about a homemade muffin… I am just drawn to them. It’s probably because they aren’t so very sweet. As much as I like sugar, I really am not a fan of the decadent and rich desserts. Not as though I would ever turn down a nice piece of fudge per say, but given the choice, I would pick something more along the lines of a muffin any day.
These particular muffins- Lemon Poppy Seed- are SO good. I just love the texture and flavor, they really do make the perfect combination. The crunchy, nutty poppy seeds and the bright, lemon taste- divine. It wasn’t until I moved over here to Europe that I became aware of how often poppy seeds are used in pastries AND almost always paired with some sort of citrus, usually lemon or orange. Now that I know that I can of look at these muffins with a greater appreciation for their flavor. They seem almost sophisticated to me.
I decided to make the Dorie Greenspan recipe that she shares in her book “Baking From My Home to Yours“. I’ve made them before and remember enjoying them. Last year I made Cooks Illustrated’s version, which was also good, but for some reason I didn’t like as much. Dorie uses sour cream and Cooks uses yogurt. Sour cream is MUCH thicker than yogurt so it produces a denser muffin, while the yogurt makes the muffin fluffy and cake-like. I really prefer the use of sour cream, I think it makes the best muffin texture, or at least the muffin texture that I prefer. But if you feel like you would rather have an airier muffin, than I encourage you to try the Cooks Illustrated recipe- it’s also very good.
- ⅔ cup sugar
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- Optional Glaze:
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2-3 Tb lemon juice
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups.
- In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of lemon strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter together until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough – a few lumps are better than over mixing the batter. Stir in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly among the muffins cups.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
- For the Glaze: Put the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl and mix together with 1½ Tb lemon juice. Add more as necessary to achieve desired consistency for drizzling.
Adapted from “Baking From my Home to Yours” by Dorie Greenspan