Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

I made these a few weeks ago.... and its not that they weren't good, its that lately, well, I've been preoccupied. With pedicured toes in the sand, with sunburned legs, with warm breezes, with stacks of trashy novels. Ah, vacation. 

Snap out of it, J Fierce! You're back to real life now. Time to cram in baking around hectic work schedules, working out, that thing you're supposed to eat first called dinner, with reruns on tv. Want to know how these came about? Well, I'll begin at the end. 

There had been a minor natural disaster of some kind in my kitchen: the microwave was covered in butter, the floor with freshly squeezed lemon juice.  In my hand, the fruits (in this case, the muffin-fruits) of my labor: still warm lemon poppyseed muffins. I know you're thinking, when is J Fierce going to get off the lemon poppyseed kick? I hate to break it to you, but this is one of my favorite combinations, so if you don't like it, tough.

These muffins weren't making it easy for me. I'm beginning to think I have a coordination problem since it seems like I'm writing about near-failures more than I ought to be, at least for someone who is writing a food blog.  The day was a chilly spring day (or at least, the kind you get in Virginia before the humidity hits approximately three seconds into the month of May. Only afros from here on out). I worked a later shift that day, so I had appointments and errands in the morning and I figured I'd have time to make a quick muffin or two. Even with my foresight to measure out the dry ingredients before I left for my errands, the clock was ticking down to "not enough time for muffins to bake and cool or I will be late work" I managed not only to explode butter in the microwave but also to spill lemon juice all over myself and the floor, necessitating a change of clothes before work (When will I learn the "wear your apron" lesson?).

These are the kind of muffins are the kind my sister can get on board with. (C Fierce note: I will NOT get on board with a preposition at the end of a sentence.  Get it together J Fierce!) They're light, sweet and tender like a cupcake, but they're not called a cupcake, a crucial difference when you're incorporating them into your morning. Plus, they have an optional icing (not a frosting) which is awesome and gives them another lemony punch. Awesome, yes. Necessary for enjoyment? No.

I used meyer lemons, as I'm kind of obsessed, so if you're using regular lemons you may want to increase the sugar some.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
Adapted from (what else?) Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my home to yours (best baking book ever)

1/3 cup sugar
grated zest and juice of one lemon
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Optional Icing

1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Center the oven rack, and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Butter or spray 12 muffin molds or fill with paper. Put the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
Using a large bowl, rub sugar and lemon zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist and everything smells like lemon. Whisk in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together liquid ingredients (sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, melted butter) until well blended. Add to dry ingredients, mixing just until blended. Don't overmix, or your muffins will be tougher than beef jerky. Stir in poppyseeds. Divide the batter between the cups.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer pan to rack and cool 5 minutes before removing from the mold. Cool completely before icing them.

To make the icing, add the lemon juice a little at a time to the confectioner's sugar. When it is drizzling consistency, you're done!


  1. did you use meyer lemons?!

  2. um, of course! they're getting harder to find now, but like I said, I made these a few weeks back...