July 18, 2011

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Unfortunately, a friend of ours recently lost a loved one. To show we were thinking of her and her family, I made up a batch of lemon poppy seed muffins and boxed them up for her. Having been through this experience myself, having food around and ready makes life a whole lot easier.

I also think that muffins are a good food gift, whatever the reason for giving - a new home, welcome to the neighbourhood, new baby, the holidays or, as in this case, a death in the family. In almost any of these situations, you can end up with an abundance of food, so muffins make a good snack or breakfast choice balancing out the rest of the casseroles and dinnertime meals you tend to receive (and appreciate!). They're easy to eat on the run, good for when time needs to be spent dealing with more important things than cooking and eating. You also don't need to have a mega-appetite to eat one and they go perfectly with a comforting cup of tea. And of course, they freeze well so if you have more food on hand than you know what to do with, you can pop them in the freezer to enjoy whenever you're ready for them.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

This recipe is from Chatelaine and makes very tasty, abundant muffins. In fact, the recipe yield is supposedly 12, but I upped to 15 and still ended up with sizeable muffins. The only thing I'd try differently next time is adjusting something to make them a little more moist. Not that they're dry, I just prefer a slightly moister muffin.

These actually don't require a lot of ingredients and most you'd likely have on hand.

2 lemons
1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp poppy seeds
1 egg
1-1/4 cups milk (I used buttermilk)
1/4 cup melted butter

While you preheat your oven to 375F and after you've lined your muffin cups, zest both lemons. Mix half of the zest with 2 tablespoons sugar and set aside to top muffins later on.

Then squeeze juice from both lemons. It helps to do this over a mesh strainer to catch the wayward seeds and pulp that's bound to come out. You should end up with 1/2 cup juice from both lemons. If you have more, just measure up the 1/2 cup amount and then stir in remaining lemon zest. If you have less, you can either used the bottled stuff to top up or increase milk accordingly to account for difference.

Mix your flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds in a large mixing bowl.

In another bowl, or in my case a measuring cup, whisk egg first and then whisk in milk, lemon juice and melted butter. Make sure to temper in your butter if it's still hot, you don't want any cooked egg in your battah! And of course, the milk may curdle when it hits the lemon juice, just as it would if you were making a buttermilk substitute.

Stir your egg mixture into flour mixture just until combined. Resist the urge to over stir, it makes muffins tougher, chewier and/or drier. Perhaps I should mix less next myself ... hmmm.

please excuse the mess... I keep meaning to get an ice cream scoop so my muffin-cup filling is a little easier and tidier!
Spoon (or scoop if you've got one) into muffin cups, which as you can see are full to the top and I still made three extra muffins! If you like a smaller muffin, you could get up to 18 no problem. If you like a larger muffin, go crazy and make 12. Top with the reserved lemon zest/sugar mix and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. In my oven it was 20 minutes even.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes before  transferring to cake rack to finish cooling completely. Store in airtight container for up to two days or freeze for later indulgence.

And of course enjoy one right away while still slightly warm :)

1 comment:

sandy said...

These look so much better than the low-fat/low sugar recipe that I tried a couple of weeks back for lemon poppy seed muffins that turned out like rubber balls. I'm with you on moist muffins...! I am sure they were much appreciated to your friends during their sad time!