July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth (and Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins to celebrate...)

Happy Fourth of July! We woke up early today for a flag raising, breakfast, and pool party that my neighbor has hosted for many many years. It was a potluck breakfast- A-L bring muffins/pastries/donuts/whatever sinful carbohydrate and M-Z bring fruit. Well, I'm not an A-L and I don't even have the excuse of being an A-L before I got married, but I brought muffins. And they were delicious.

I have another confession to make. This is the first recipe I ever tried off a foodie blog (and I think that was in January, I'm totally new to this). I was on one of my friend's family blogs and saw a link to one of her cousins (I think) blogs- Picky Palate! Then a few weeks later I was wandering around again and saw someone had made Orange Berry Muffins out of a book I'd never heard of, Baking by Dorie Greenspan. We'll, I made the muffins, bought the book, joined the group, and started my own little cooking blog. So I think I owe Picky Palate a lot for this amazing recipe and pushing me into my foodie adventures.

Anyways, back to the recipe. I've made a couple of changes based on my family's preferences but the recipe is essentially the same. They are delicious and simple to make- I'm also going to try making them with some more flavor variations, though I've made these at least 10 times since I found the recipe and no one is complaining! Be sure you don't over beat the batter and use nice and soft butter. Another idea to file away- since I live in Arizona and have excess citrus in the winter, at the end of the season I zest my fruit before I juice it and then freeze them separately. I've had "fresh" lemon all summer long and will do it again next winter for sure!

I hope everyone has a great fourth of July! I'm going to go make something for our get together tonight...

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Adapted from Picky Palate

3 Cups Flour
1 Tbsp Baking Powder (make sure your baking powder is no older than 6 months)
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 Tbsp Poppy Seeds

10 Tbsp Butter (1 1/4 stick), softened
1 Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt
2 Tbsp Lemon Zest (finely shredded)
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Glaze
2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Butter, softened
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tbsp Meringue Powder, if available

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease (or use liners) a 12 Cup Muffin Pan or two 24 Cup Mini-muffin pans and set on top of a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat (this helps prevent the bottoms from burning).

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, poppy seeds, and salt and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together, beating until fluffy (about two minutes with an electric mixer). Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each one. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla.

Beat in one third of the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Beat in one third of the yogurt. Beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients. Beat in half of the remaining yogurt. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients and then the remaining yogurt. Again be careful to beat until just incorporated. Do not over beat.

Distribute the muffin dough equally among the prepared muffin pans. Bake until muffins are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes (about 23 for mini-muffins). Test with a toothpick to make sure the center of the muffins are done. Set muffin pan on wire rack to cool. After 5 minutes, remove muffins from pan and set on the cooling rack.

For the Glaze:

While the muffins are cooling, in a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, remaining softened butter, and lemon juice. Add more lemon juice if necessary to achieve the desired consistency. While the muffins are still a bit warm, use a pastry brush to brush the glaze over each muffin. The muffins will absorb some of the glaze, so you add more glaze to each muffin if you like.

Makes 12 muffins (or about 50 mini muffins)- they are best the day they are made, so go ahead and enjoy them warm!

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