I recently went on a cookbook shopping spree and purchased 4 cookbooks that I’d had in my wishlist for years, one of which was Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Thomas Keller, he’s the mastermind behind the infamous Napa, California restaurant, The French Laundry. If I’m ever in Napa again and have a lot of extra money to spend, I’ll definitely be dining there. Let’s just say he’s won countless awards for a reason.
Bouchon Bakery is filled with mouth-watering pictures of all kinds of French pastries, from cookies to scones and cakes to doughnuts. I quickly pulled out my Post-it flags and began tagging every other page. I panicked slightly and thought to myself, “When am I going to find the time to make all of this?” After I’d browsed the book from front to back, I started back at the beginning and browsed once more to see what jumped out at me. The result was their recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins. There wasn’t even an accompanying picture to go along with the recipe, but my tastebuds immediately knew this is what they wanted to taste. I also had a lot of leftover lemons in my fridge from making that salmon dish last weekend… but I digress. ;-) I love anything lemon. It doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter, I just can’t get enough of it. It’s one of my favorite flavors to have in baked goods, right behind chocolate and peanut butter. :)
I whipped up these muffins on Wednesday night and baked them Thursday during lunch. While it might seem odd to make them one night and bake the next, the book actually recommends storing the batter at least overnight before baking them. They even explain on page 77 why resting batters is so important (it allows the flour to absorb the liquid). The added bonus is that the batter thickens slightly which makes it much easier to scoop. My kitchen was filled with the wonderful smell of lemon and butter. Oh my goodness… it was heaven. It took everything in me not to gobble up 3 muffins!! I immediately took the leftovers with me back to work where my [spoiled] co-workers were able to taste them, and while they were still warm no less! My one co-worker proclaimed these as the BEST lemon poppy seed muffins she’d ever tasted, and I must say I completely agree with her. The crumb is tender, it’s extremely moist and it has the perfect zing of lemon flavor. *bliss*
This recipe calls for cake flour which I feel is a must. Do not substitute all-purpose flour, if at all possible. Cake flour produces a much more tender crumb which I can now attest is essential in this recipe. It also calls for kosher salt, and don’t be afraid of that. Once again, it serves its purpose. The recipe also calls for fresh lemon juice and zest, and I cannot stress enough how important both those ingredients are. Please, please, please do not use ReaLemon in this recipe. If you do it will make me cry, and we don’t want that, do we? Finally, the recipe calls for vanilla paste which is a thick syrup made out of scraped vanilla beans. You can buy vanilla paste at Sur La Table or any other gourmet kitchen store. It’s pricey, but a little goes a long way and it’s so worth the flavor! I didn’t have any on hand for this recipe, so I just substituted my fancy vanilla extract.
I did adjust the recipe a little because their measurements were kinda wonky. For instance, the recipe calls for 6.8 ounces of butter. Not 6.5 and not 7, but 6.8. I made the recipe with 7 ounces and it turned out just fine. It also calls for 1/2 cup plus 3 Tablespoons of eggs. I know French cooking is exact, but that’s just kinda silly. The only thing I can think is their recipes were created large-scale and were meant to be produced in large numbers for a bakery, not a home kitchen. Often kitchen recipes are hard to cut down because we weigh things or we know exactly how much liquid is needed. Eggs can obviously vary tremendously in size, so it could just be that they know they need exactly 1/2 cup plus 3 Tablespoons of egg to produce the best product. Regardless, I just used 3 large eggs and it worked perfectly.
On a final note, I did add a glaze to this recipe. The recipe in the book does not call for a glaze and I dunno… I just felt it needed one. I kinda dislike the haphazard squiggling of icings on pastries unless it’s supposed to look haphazard (i.e. danish). However, in this case I wanted there to be a nice solid layer of glaze, and so I’m suggesting you dip the whole muffin top in the glaze. If you prefer a squiggle on top, though, squiggle away. :) You can also add a little fresh lemon zest to the icing if you prefer, but it’s plenty lemony and doesn’t really need it. Ok, enough talking. Just make the darn muffins already.
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Adapted from Bouchon Bakery
Yields: 10 regular-sized muffins or 6 large muffins
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup + 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
7 ounces butter, melted and warm
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. Sift flour and baking powder. Add salt, whisk and set aside.
2. Combine the sugar, eggs and vanilla in a deep medium bowl and mix with an immersion blender (see note below in Cook’s Notes). Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing until just combined.
3. With the blender running, pour in the melted butter in a steady stream and mix until the batter is smooth (approx. 1-2 minutes). Add the lemon juice and blend again.
4. Fold in the lemon zest and poppy seeds. Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and store batter in refrigerator overnight, or for up to 36 hours.
5. The next day, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (218 degrees C). Line muffin tins with muffin papers and lightly spray with nonstick spray.
6. Scoop the batter into the cups, filling 3/8 inch from the top.* Place in oven and lower temperature to 325 degrees F (163 degrees C). Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.
7. Whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice for the glaze. While the muffins are still slightly warm, dip each muffin top into the glaze and then place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Per the book, muffins are best the day they are made, but they can be stored in a single layer, wrapped tightly and kept for up to 3 days. Good luck making them last 3 days, though!
1. Immersion blenders are a really great tool. They can be used to mix drinks, soups/sauces or puree various food items. They can get awfully expensive, but for the home use you’ll only ever need the low-end ones. Sur La Table has a great one for just $34.95 and it comes in a variety of colors.
2. I use a #12 scoop for my muffins. The number indicates how many scoops it takes to make a quart, so that’s why small scoops have considerably higher numbers. It’ll probably come as no shock at all that I bought my muffin scoop at Sur La Table. It’s the #12/3.75 oz. scoop. Seriously, I should be getting some sort of kick-back from Sur La Table. ;-)
3. Since I seem to be a fan of using fresh juice and your hands might be tired of squeezing lemons, I highly suggest you get yourself one of these citrus juicers. While the green one is technically for limes and the yellow one is technically for lemons, I bought the green one because green is my favorite color. While it is a bit tricky to juice large lemons, it still works and it works perfectly on limes and small lemons.
- Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins (trypinknow.wordpress.com)
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- Top Thanksgiving Muffins Your Family Will Love (belgoods.com)
- Healthy, Orange & Poppy Seed Muffins! (thehealthylittlehippie.com)
- Pumpkin Muffin Recipes (food.com)