03 March 2012

There are always muffins

There's nothing like a bag of lemons in my fridge to keep me in the kitchen. Tart? Check. Cake? Check. Pie? Check. Ice cream? Well, not yet, but it probably won't be long. In the meantime, there are always muffins.

lemon-poppy seed muffins

Muffins aren't my favorite quickbread—banana bread will probably always hold that title—but when it comes to quick weekend breakfasts, you can't do much better. With only a few dirty dishes (never mind that one of them is the much-hated muffin pan), even the sleepiest cook can have a batch ready in less than an hour.

Lemon-poppy seed muffins at bakeries are often aggressively lemony (and daffodil yellow). Clearly, I'm all about lemons, but good grief! Maybe it's because I'm usually making them at 7 am on a Saturday morning, but I prefer my muffins (and the lemon in them) in moderation.

Meyer lemon and poppy seed muffins

Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins
If you like a bit more lemon, add ½ teaspoon lemon extract to the wet ingredients before mixing it all together.

4 ounces granulated sugar (½ cup)
zest and juice (about 3 tablespoons) from 1 lemon (I use Meyer)
8 ounces unbleached white flour (2 cups)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 egg
11 ounces milk, preferably whole (1¼ cups)
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted & cooled (6 tablespoons)

Grease the cups of a muffin pan with butter or line with paper or foil cups; set aside. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Measure the sugar into a large bowl. Zest the lemon into the bowl and rub it into the sugar briefly. Add the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and poppy seeds and mix together with a fork or whisk until combined.

In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the egg. Add the milk and whisk well, then stir in the melted butter. Dump the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until combined. Scrape the batter into the muffin cups (they will be around three-quarters full).

Bake until a tester in one of the middle muffins comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool on a rack for a few minutes before unmolding. Unlike some muffins, lemon ones are usually better once cooled.

Makes about a dozen muffins

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