Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Citrus Poppy Seed Muffins

In my post last week about take-in meals for families with new babies, I featured a couple pictures from the meal I brought to a dear friend of mine recently. I received a few emails requesting the recipe for the muffins pictured and have decided to post it. They were simple, delicious citrus poppy seed muffins from Dorie Greenspans's cookbook Baking: From My Home to Yours, one of my favorite cookbooks of all time. I utilized some of the delicious lemons and oranges that my Grandmother sent from California in the recipe and they were fresh, sweet, and tangy. We were pretty sad to bid the majority of the batch farewell as we dropped them off with our friends, but luckily I did make a double batch so we could enjoy a few muffins!

Paul and I ate these for dessert a couple nights in a row, but they would also be a welcomed breakfast addition or afternoon snack. Really, do you need an excuse to eat a delicious muffin? I don't think so.

Matthew, my suspicious eater, was very unsettled by the poppy seeds. In general, he tends to pick out most seeds and nuts that he finds in his salad, cereal, or baked goods but he found the process of removing every single poppy seed from his muffin too laborious and decided to just eat the darn thing. He declared it delicious. I told him he needs to stop thinking his mother is trying to poison him and just eat what is placed in front of him without apprehension.

I could eat these all the time. They are probably my favorite muffin ever - well, maybe tied with blueberry. Do not skip the glaze. I actually prefer adding the glaze while the muffins are warm. I poke holes in the warm muffins with a toothpick and then slowly spoon the glaze over so it seeps into the muffin. Dorie says to frost them after they are cooled, but I love the glaze so much that I really want that sugary flavor to soak into the rest of the cake.

Citrus Poppy Seed Muffins
adapted barely from Baking: From My Home to Yours

Note: You can completely omit the orange zest and just make Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins. Of course, you probably didn't need me to tell you that!

For the Muffins:
2/3 cup white sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream (full fat only!)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

For the Citrus Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or a mix of lemon and orange juice)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line all 12 molds of a standard muffin pan with muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, rub the sugar and citrus zest together with your fingertips until the sugar becomes moist and you can really smell the citrus oils being released (heavenly!!). Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and melted butter together until well blended. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir everything together just until blended. A few lumps are fine - be careful not to overmix!

Stir in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops are barely golden and a toothpick comes out clean with the exception of a few moist crumbs. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing the muffins from the pan. Let cool completely.

While the muffins cool, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Add more powdered sugar if you want a thicker icing; add more juice if you want to thin the icing out. Drizzle over the muffins. Use ALL the glaze!

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