In the realm of breakfast treats, muffins aren’t my go-to. I’m much more likely to spring for a scone, cinnamon roll, or danish; or spend the time making waffles.
But sometimes a lemon poppyseed muffin really hits the spot. And as lazy summer mornings turn into busy fall ones, there’s no denying the convenience of a portable muffin breakfast.
My muffin rules
For someone who isn’t a huge muffin fan, I do have some strong opinions about them. Number one: No creaming butter and sugar. That’s too much work for a muffin. Liquid fat all the way (whether it be oil or melted butter or a mixture of the two).
Number two: Moist muffins. Just say no to dry and crumbly. For these particular lemon poppyseed muffins, almond flour, sour cream, and lots of poppyseeds contribute to a moist and tender interior.
Number three: Nice domes. There are lots of tricks for getting bakery-worthy muffin tops. Some people swear by chilling their muffin batter overnight. I’m sure this works (if you try it with this recipe let me know) but I’m too impatient for that; so I just do the following three things:
- Fill the muffin wells up to the top.
- Only fill every other well so that each muffin has lots of air circulation around it, helping them to rise and set more quickly.
- Start with a high oven temp to maximize that initial rise, then lower it to help them bake through without scorching.
- Good quality lemon oil is one of my tricks for injecting lemon flavor into baked goods. I use Boyajian brand (if you’re in the US, I’ve bought it at Sur La Table). I can’t comment about swapping out with lemon extract as I’ve never found one I really like.
- This recipe uses a lot of poppyseeds. Please make sure they’re fresh! Poppyseeds turn rancid fast so I always recommend storing them in the freezer (same goes for other seeds, nuts, and nut flours).
- Don’t skip the glaze! These muffins aren’t overly sweet and the glaze really helps deliver an immediate lemon punch.
- Want to make a loaf instead? Try my lemon almond poppyseed cake! Or for a nut-free version, make the lemon poppyseed loaf in my book.
For the Lemon Almond Poppyseed Muffins:
- 250g all purpose flour
- 50g almond flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 210g granulated sugar
- Zest of 3 large lemons (~3T zest) -- reserve lemon juice for glaze
- 85g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 60g neutral oil
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 tsp lemon oil, such as Boyajian
- 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
- 180g sour cream, at room temperature
- 60g whole milk, at room temperature
- 45g poppyseeds
For the lemon glaze:
- 100g icing sugar, sifted
- Pinch of salt
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (+/- as needed)
- Preheat the oven and prep the pan: Preheat the oven to 425F with a rack in the middle. For the most dramatic muffin tops, line two standard 12-count muffin pan with 6 muffin liners each, skipping every other well. Lightly grease between the wells. If you only have one muffin pan, you can either bake them all in one pan (the rise will be a little less dramatic, but the muffins will stilll taste great); or bake the muffins in two batches. The batter will hold fine at room temperature.
- Make the muffin batter: In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt. Whisk very well for at least 30 seconds to ensure everything is well combined and lump-free.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar until fragrant and damp to release the essential oils from the rind, which will intensify the lemon flavor. Whisk in the butter, oil, eggs, extracts, sour cream, and milk until smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and use a silicone spatula to gently fold the two together. When just a few streaks of flour remain, add the poppyseeds, stirring just to combine. Use a flexible spatula to scrape down the sides and fold from the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well-mixed and there are no pockets of unincorporated flour.
- Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pan(s), filling each cup to the top -- about 90g per muffin. Fill any empty wells with a little water (less than half is fine), which will promote even baking.
- Bake the muffins: Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 375F and bake for a further 10-12 minutes, or until the muffins are well risen and a skewer inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Carefully remove the muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack before glazing.
- Glaze the muffins: When the muffins have cooled, whisk together the icing sugar, salt, and lemon juice to form a smooth, spoonable glaze. (I needed 2 Tbsp of lemon juice to reach my desired consistency, but recommend adding a teaspoon or two at a time for the best control.) Use a spoon or fork to drizzle over the muffins. Let the glaze set for about 5 minutes before serving. Muffins are best the day they're made, but will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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