Tuesday, July 21, 2009
When I discovered the magical powers yogurt has in baking, I started looking for it in recipes or figuring out how I could use it. From my basic understanding, yogurt/sour cream/buttermilk (in other words, acidic liquids--from my AP Chemistry class in high school, solutions with a pH <7) tempers gluten strands in flour batters, allowing a higher rise, more tender crumb and all-around deliciousness. That acidity is balanced by the addition of an alkali, like baking soda and powder. In other words, make these muffins.
Tiny, soft and puckeringly tart, these muffins are a great way to make friends. I don't understand how poppy seeds work so well with lemon. For example, the phrase "they got along like poppy seeds and lemons" is so very appropriate I just might use it today.*
*Think that's nerdy? I have this in my repertoire: "He liked her as much as a weak acid likes protons." Trust me. It works.
In any case, this recipe from the inimitable Ina has been used to make a beautiful loaf, many mini loaves for gifting, and in this sweet bite-sized form. Make them however you like; just make them fast.
I mix the glaze ingredients in my 1-cup measure and just heat it directly over the stove.
Embarrassingly good here.
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
adapted from Ina Garten
makes about 24 mini muffins, 12 regular-sized muffins or one 8 1/2" x 4 1/4" loaf
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease baking pan, muffin tin, or loaf papers, then flour.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil and poppy seeds into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes in a loaf pan, 25 minutes in a muffin tin or about 20 minutes for mini muffins, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the batter comes out clean.
Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in, or brush over individual muffins. Cool.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake. (Note: I usually leave out the glaze and the muffins are wonderful without it.)