lemon poppy seed muffins

lemon poppy seed muffins

Bear with me, folks. We’re still adjusting to the time change over here. The days that follow the springing forward of clocks are always some of the most brutal for me, it’s like a weeklong hangover. Losing that one hour ruins me for months – I swear I never really make the adjustment. I’ve accepted the fact that my body is meant to be on standard time. I’ll be secretly counting down till November.

lemon.poppyseed.muffins-0003

But I will admit that it is quite glorious to leave work when it’s still light out. And driving over the Bay Bridge with the windows down and the sun shining bright at 5:20pm in the middle of March feels like winning. So I suppose I’ll just put myself to bed a little bit earlier for the next couple of weeks and do my best to cope.

lemon.poppyseed.muffins-0078

You’ve probably gathered from all of this talk that I’m not much of a morning person. The only thing I really like about mornings is breakfast – it’s my favorite meal of the day, which is why I always make a point of having something substantial and satisfying. Lately I’ve been into Straus Greek yogurt with blueberries and hazelnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup. I am hooked on that Straus Greek yogurt – I can’t go back to any other brand.

lemon.poppyseed.muffins-0051

While I really enjoy my simple yogurt bowl at work every morning, I love doing it up on the weekends for breakfast. Usually it involves eggs. But this past Sunday, after walking around in zombie mode for a good part of the morning, I thought some muffins would help me get through the day.

lemon.poppyseed.muffins-0101

Since I ended up with a bag full of lemons after our lemon tree split in two about a week ago, I knew it was going to be some sort of lemon muffin. I also happened to have some poppy seeds on hand, so when I landed on a recipe for lemon poppy seed muffins, my mind was made up.

lemon.poppyseed.muffins-0356

These are everything you want in a breakfast muffin. They’re the perfect amount of sweet and they’re fantastic just out of the oven. I love their all-around lemony-ness, especially the drizzle of icing on top. I decided to make these extra special with a dollop of surprise blueberry jam in the center, which is totally optional but highly recommended. And they come together in under an hour, which means you can totally make a batch of muffins in the morning before heading out for the day. And the people you share them with will think  you are awesome. Just don’t take any drug tests afterwards.

lemon.poppyseed.muffins-0383

lemon poppy seed muffins

From Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

makes 1 dozen standard size muffins, or about 7 jumbo muffins

2/3 cup sugar

grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1/3 cup jam (optional)

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted 

2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 

for the muffins:
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. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, rub the sugar and the lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and hte fragrance of the lemon strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whish 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 overmixing the batter. Stir in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
If making jam-filled muffins, fill the muffin cups with half the batter and top each with a teaspoon full of jam. Spoon the rest of the batter over the jam and proceed.
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. Cool the muffins completely on the rack before icing them. Best served the day they’re made.
for the icing:
Put the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl and add about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Stir with a spoon to moisten the sugar, then add enough additional lemon juice, a dribble at a time, to get an icing that is thin enough to drizzle from the tip of the spoon. You can then drizzle lines of icing over the tops of the muffins or coat the tops entirely.

hummus

I know. It’s been a while. I wish I had something ultra fabulous to share with you. Instead I’m calling this segment “Keeping it Real With Sandy”. And in the spirit of keeping it real, I’ve gotta warn you – things might be a bit boring around here in the weeks to come.

The sweets and I are taking a break. It had to be done. It’s been eighteen days now. I definitely have more energy. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that all I want to do right now is bake a tray of brownies. And make this cake. I am totally obsessing. I don’t exactly love dieting. I love carbs. I miss baking. So I’ve been making other things to distract me.

Like hummus. I love hummus. So much so that I will eat it by the spoonful. I often buy hummus at the store, but it tends to be on the saltier side. Which is why homemade is really the way to go. There’s nothing like homemade hummus – it’s the easiest thing to throw together and you can adjust the flavors to your liking. I like my hummus mostly smooth with a just a bit of texture, a discernible lemon flavor, and a pronounced (but not too pronounced) garlickiness. Throw in some toasted pita, a few slices of cucumber, red bell pepper, maybe some sprouts. Sounds like lunch…

hummus

adapted slighty from Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes by Tessa Kiros

makes 1-1/2 cups

1-1/4 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight or 1  16-ounce can chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved

2 large cloves of garlic

4 tablespoons tahini

juice of 2-3 lemons

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2  teaspoon sweet paprika

kosher salt

Drain the soaked chickpeas, cover generously with fresh water, and bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat until softened, about 1-1/2 hours. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Shake the chickpeas in a sieve to remove their skins. Leave skins on for a more coarse texture.

Crush the garlic with a little salt until it forms a paste. Put the chickpeas, tahini, and garlic in a food processor, puree a little, and then season with salt. Add most of the lemon juice and continue to puree until smooth. Scrape out into a bowl and thoroughly mix in the olive oil. If it’s too dry, add some of the reserved chickpea liquid. Check that there is enough salt and lemon juice. Sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with more oil. Hummus will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator  for up to a week.