Fresh Lemons + Poppy Seeds = Muffins
Spring came and the fruit that set on my lemon tree last summer was ripe and ready to pick. The tree blossomed even as the sun-yellow fruit waited to be made into something delicious.
The first lemon I picked this year turned into lemon bars, the second one, into lemon bread. I decided to try something new for the third and last lemon; Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins.
I found a recipe that looked fairly easy and tasty. Another plus, as far as I’m concerned is that the recipe called for buttermilk in the ingredients. I’ve always liked baking with buttermilk. It adds a rich taste to baked goods.
The lemon tree was out on the deck, where it would stay until the first frost of autumn. I went outside and picked the last remaining fruit. I zested the lemon into a nice golden pile then rolled the fruit on the counter to release the juice. I cut the lemon into fourths, removed as many of the seeds as I could and squeezed the juice into a small bowl.
The muffin recipe didn’t call for a glaze so I added a lemony one. The muffins turned out delicious and with the glaze could be used as a dessert. My homegrown lemons were my first choice to use even though they were seedier than store-bought lemons. However, I still preferred a store lemon over bottled lemon juice and dried lemon peel for baking.
One piece of advice I’d like to share: these muffins really grew while baking. I filled the muffins cups to the rim and the muffins overflowed as they cooked. I would recommend only filing the muffin cups 2/3 full. I didn’t use any paper liners and the muffins lifted out of the tins just fine after cooling.
Also, a fact I stumbled on: buttermilk can be frozen for later use. Pour the milk into pint canning jars, cover with lids or use aluminum foil and secure with a rubber band. The milk will expand as it freezes so don’t fill the jars to the brim. When you’re ready to use the buttermilk, microwave a jar, a minute at a time, until enough has thawed for the recipe you’re making. Put the rest back in the freezer for another time.
Here is the recipe I made:
LEMON-POPPY SEED MUFFINS WITH GLAZE
½ cup of butter, at room temperature 2/3 cup of sugar
2 eggs, separated 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
2 tablespoons lemon juice Zest of one lemon
½ teaspoon of vanilla 1 1/3 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder ½ teaspoon of baking soda
¼ teaspoon of salt ½ cup of buttermilk
1 cup of confectioner’s sugar 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, or more
¼ teaspoon of grated lemon peel
Muffins – Lightly grease 12 muffin cups, I used Crisco. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, poppy seeds, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla, mix together. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, stirring to mix after each addition. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into muffin batter. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Test for doneness with a toothpick. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes then drizzle with glaze. Glaze – Mix together confectioner’s sugar and lemon peel. Add lemon juice one tablespoon at a time to reach drizzling consistency. Spoon over top of slightly cooled muffins. Let muffins cool completely then remove from tins.