I dare you to name a more beloved ‘oldie’ than Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins. But wow, it’s been ages since I’ve made muffins, I know because it took me forever to even locate my muffin tin. Too many new fangled recipes getting in the way, I guess. When I feel like I’m straying a bit too far into ‘creative’ territory, I like to reel it back in with a classic. Poppy seed muffins are universally loved, that’s why they’re the kind of thing you’d get at a great B&B, and why it’s the perfect recipe to have on hand when hungry guests (or family) are roaming around your kitchen.
These have a nice crunch to the ‘muffin top’, and a fluffy interior. Not too sweet, either. And they’re made with healthy yogurt and naturally lowfat buttermilk. I peeled the zest off of a lemon with my vegetable peeler and processed it with sugar to make a killer lemon sugar. I learned that from Ina Garten. You get way more zest into the batter that way, and it really does infuse the muffins with gorgeous lemoniness. The flavor we all associate with lemon resides mostly in the peel, which contains the essential oil, so when you bake without it, you’re missing out.
It took me a few tries to find a recipe I liked, and I ended up using my own Almond Poppy Seed Muffins as a base.
A few things to remember when making any muffins…muffins are small little cakes, and tiny variations in your process can make a big difference to the final result. If your oven is hotter than 375F they can get dry and over-baked. I like to keep an oven thermometer inside to check. And they can go from perfect to over-done in just minutes, so keep a close eye on them. I also like to use paper liners, I think they help keep the muffin a little moister. And be sure to measure your ingredients carefully, especially when it comes to the flour. I fluff the flour up first to loosen it, then lightly scoop, and level off the top. You will get a more accurate amount that way. Too much flour can mean tough muffins.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- the zest of 1 lemon (use a vegetable peeler to peel off the zest in strips, making sure not to get the bitter white part, just the yellow)
- 3 cups all purpose flour (fluff before you measure)
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted, and slightly cooled
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup poppy seeds
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- lemon juice (about the juice of 1 lemon)
- Set oven to 375F
- Put the sugar and zest in the bowl of a small food processor. Turn the machine on and process until the lemon zest has been thoroughly incorporated into the sugar. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides. Let it go long enough so the zest is really finely ground. The sugar will smell incredibly like fresh lemons!
- Whisk the sugar, flour, baking powder, soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
- In another large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and cooled butter together with the yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice and vanilla. Stir in the poppy seeds.
- Blend the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing just until everything is combined, but don't over beat the batter or your muffins will be tough.
- Spoon the batter into a muffin cups fitted with paper liners. You will have a bit of batter leftover after you fill 12 standard muffin cups.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until the muffins are risen and golden, but watch carefully and don't over bake. You can check with a toothpick if you like.
- Cool the muffins on a rack before glazing.
- Make the glaze by stirring enough lemon juice into the sugar to make a spreadable consistency. You can spread the glaze on the muffins, or dunk them in headfirst.
Go ahead, pour that second cup of coffee, I’ve got you covered.
Want more poppy seeds?