Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Sometimes happiness is tinged with a tiny sadness. Like today, when I was cleaning out our cabinets and accidentally knocked the jar of poppy seeds onto the floor. Smash! A thousand little seeds went everywhere. But at least I had these muffins!

The recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan, and it’s a winner! (Dorie would never lead us astray!) There is an optional glaze, which I skipped, but you can find it in her glorious book Baking: From My Home to Yours. One of the greatest things I’ve learned from Dorie is to work your lemon zest into your sugar with your fingers. It makes such a difference! And it makes me ever more grateful for our Microplane Grater (no pun intended!)

I adore muffins, and lemon poppy seed has always been my favorite. Maybe it’s the tiny little crunches you get in every bite. Or maybe it’s just that citrus has always been a friend of mine. In any case, they are definitely the first muffin I’d reach for!

These are wonderfully light and full of flavor. I loved having them for breakfast and with afternoon tea. Hope you enjoy!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

-Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups.
-In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of lemon strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter together until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough – a few lumps are better than over mixing the batter. Stir in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly among the muffins cups.
-Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

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