other fruit-y muffins
What if I told you it’s taken me almost a year to work up this recipe?
They say the best axiom in baking is, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but I’ve always been a “so I’ll break it and then learn to fix it” kind of person. You all know this. I can’t claim a recipe without trying every possible flavor substitution or adjustment.
I had wanted a lemon poppyseed muffin recipe for the blog last summer, as part of my “oh my god lemons in everything” kick (which became my I’m Stuck in a Restaurant Trying to Escape gig and thus my I Have Nothing Useful to Blog About rut.)
I printed off a few different recipes and started working. I bought lemons (big tracts…I mean bags…of lemons), lemon extract, and lemon oil, and stocked up on milk, lemon juice (for those times when the lemons just ain’t givin’ you enough), buttermilk, greek yogurt, other yogurts, and sour cream. My goal was to take my two favorite recipes and then try every flavor combination I could think of: zest + juice + buttermilk, oil + buttermilk, zest + buttermilk + no juice, extract + buttermilk, and more.
It’s been so long since I’ve done math I can’t even begin to fathom how many combinations I would have had to try. Needless to say, none of them quite worked out. Muffins were too dry, or too small, or not lemon-y enough, and I gave up.
I should add here that it also only took me one attempt at a recipe this time around to find something that worked, and it was far simpler than having to use extracts or oils or other mumbo-jumbo kitchen magic. I took a recipe from my favorite book (linked below) and swapped out the flavors for lemon, and added poppyseed.
Made it once. Loved it.
Made it again, with some small adjustments for muffin size, and wham, bam, thank you, ma’am.
After all this, I’ve discovered that the keys to good lemon poppyseed muffins are freshly and liberally zested and juiced lemons (supplemented with store-bought lemon juice if needed), and plenty of poppyseeds. More zest means more flavor without compromising texture.
Another, more philosophical, lesson to take away is that sometimes you need to examine every single angle to make something your own. Sometimes a simple tweak to suit your own style is enough. Sometimes it’s only a little bit broken and only needs a tiny fix.
glazed lemon poppyseed muffins
adapted from ginger lemon muffins, Mom’s Big Book of Baking
makes 1 dozen muffins
360 g all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
4 tsp poppy seeds
2 large eggs
160 g granulated sugar
grate zest of one large lemon or 2 baby lemons
40 g lemon juice
200 g milk or buttermilk
1/2 c (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
30 g whole milk
100 g powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon zest (from half a small lemon or about 1/4 of a large lemon)
make the muffins
Preheat the oven to 350 F/ C, and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and poppyseeds.
In a large bowl, quickly beat eggs, sugar, milk/buttermilk, lemon zest and juice, and butter.
Mix dry ingredients into the wet batter and scoop into the muffin pan so each cup is just about full.
Bake 20 – 25 minutes until the muffins are springy when pressed lightly in the middle.
Let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Let them cool completely before glazing.
glaze the muffins
Whisk together milk, powdered sugar, and lemon zest until smooth and no lumps remain. For thinner glaze, add more milk, and for thicker glaze, add more sugar. The consistency should be like maple syrup: pourable and drizzle-able but not soup-y or too thick like frosting.
Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the muffins and let it set up/dry out before eating.