Thursday, November 8, 2012

Deliciously Simple Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins


I could have sworn that I already had a great lemon poppy seed muffin recipe lying around in my collection. I would have told you that I not only had a great recipe for them, but that I had made them many times. So one morning, I told my boyfriend that I would be baking him some.  I looked through my collected recipes, cookbooks, magazine clippings, and my computer recipe files. I found plenty of tried and true lemon muffins, cakes, and breads. But there was no lemon poppy seed combination at all. I was dumbfounded.

I pulled out one of my favorite community cookbooks, one that has been so well used that the back is missing entirely and the front is barely hanging on by a thread. I just knew the recipe had to be in there. Well, it was not ... but I did find my favorite poppy seed muffin recipe. I also noticed that on the very next page, there was a lemon pecan muffin recipe.

Then it dawned on me. Years ago, when I first had the urge to bake lemon and poppy seeds into a single muffin, I had turned to that favorite poppy seed muffin recipe and also used the lemon pecan muffin recipe for some suggestions, creating my own unique version. I just forgot to jot down my notes anywhere. You have no idea just how unlike me that is... most of my favorite cookbooks have writing all over them, indicating my personal tweaks and changes.

Studying the two different recipes, I tried to figure out what I must have done before, and slowly the recipe started to re-emerge in my mind. I remembered using lemon yogurt, and adding lemon zest and lemon flavored extract. I didn't happen to have any lemon yogurt in the house at the time, so I created some, sort of, by mixing some fresh lemon juice with some plain sour cream. I had almost no lemon extract left, so I mixed in both lemon and vanilla. They turned out essentially the same as I had remembered. My boyfriend loved them. This time, I am writing down what I did so I can bake them again and again.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
(makes about 12 regular sized muffins)

2 cups plain all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
3-4 tsp poppy seeds
4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt or lemon yogurt (NOT fat free!!!!)
1/2 large lemon, juiced (add only if you don't have lemon yogurt)
2 Tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon flavored extract

Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and poppy seeds in a mixing bowl with a whisk. In another bowl, beat sugar and butter together until creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each. Add sour cream or yogurt, lemon juice, and both extracts and blend well. Combine both the flour and creamy mixtures together using a wooden spoon, mixing just until there are no more dry patches, a few smallish lumps are fine. Spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake in a preheated 400 F oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick tests clean.

Allow to cool about 10 minutes before removing from the tins.