Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Perfect for Spring and Summer: Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I love when you make something for the first time, and you realize you have a 'classic' on your hands: something you will make again and again.

These lemon-poppy seed muffins are just like that.
The flavor is perfect: not too sweet, but oh so lemony. And the texture... dry muffins are the bane of my muffin existence, so when I find muffins, like these(!), that come out perfectly moist, I get rather excited. The poppy seeds also add a nice hint of crunch.

They are, of course, a cinch to make. Start by melting some butter, and setting it aside to cool. (Since you don't have to wait for the butter to come to room temperature, these are something you can make 'on the fly').
Get your sugar and lemon zest together.
Now... for a brilliant part: rub the zest and sugar together with your fingers, until aromatic.
Brilliant, Dorie Greenspan!
Add the other dry ingredients to the lemon-sugar concoction.
In a measuring cup, whisk together the butter, lemon juice, vanilla, eggs, and (the key to the moisture) sour cream.
Make a well, and pour the dry ingredients into the wet.
Stir until almost just combined,
and add in the poppy seeds.
Stir until just combined. Its okay if there are lumps.
Scoop the batter into your muffin tins.
Bake 18-20 minutes.
Remove to a rack to cool.
At this point, you have two options:
a) Make a glaze (powdered sugar and lemon)
It looks pretty and gives it a nice zing.
b) Gobble them up as is.
(I think, on the whole, b) is my preference, but a) makes them a little fancier).

Whatever you do... enjoy!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (from Baking: From My Home to Your by Dorie Greenspan)
Ingredients: 2/3 cup sugar
Grates zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

For the icing:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter or spray 12 molds in a regular-size muffin tin or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.*

In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of the lemon is strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large glass measuring cup, 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 through-- a few lumps are better than overmixing the batter. Stir in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for 18-20 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. Cool the muffins completely on the rack before icing them.

To make the icing: Put the confectioner's sugar in a small bowl and add about 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice. Stir with a spoon to moisten the sugar, then add enough additional lemon juice, a dribble at a time, to get an icing that is thin enough to drizzle from the tip of the spoon. You can then drizzle lines of icing over the tops of the muffins entirely, the better to get an extra zap of lemon.
*Don't forget this part! I nearly did. It helps the muffins not get overly brown.

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