Currently cooking out of Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass.
Remember this post a couple of weeks ago? Well, ever since then, I’ve been beating my head against a wall called Lemon-Poppyseed Muffins. And the wall has been winning.
From the first time I made these muffins, I thought they had promise, but also some problems. I thought the lemon flavor was overpowered by the other ingredients. I though they weren’t sweet enough, that they didn’t have enough rise and that they were too crumbly. So I made batch after batch, trying different combinations of ingredients. I compared recipes from other cookbooks and consulted one of the best scientific baking tomes of late, Bakewise by Shirley O. Corriher.
In the end, I got the lemon flavor where I wanted it by increasing the lemon juice and brushing the hot muffins with sweetened lemon juice. The leavening problem was solved by drastically reducing the amount of leavening that the original recipe called for, and using all baking soda. Substituting a half of a cup of all-purpose flour for a half of a cup of spelt flour made the muffins lighter and less crumbly.
Because I made so many changes to the recipe, I’ve decided to go ahead and post my version after the jump.
Adapted from Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass.
1 1/2 cups of spelt flour
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbs of poppyseeds
1/2 tsp of baking soda
3/4 tsp of salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tbs melted butter
Zest from 2 lemons
3 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the glaze: Juice of one lemon sweetened with powdered sugar to taste.
Place a baking rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a standard 12-muffin pan with cooking spray.
In a food processor, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar and lemon zest. Process until everything is well combined and there are no large pieces of zest visible. The mixture should smell strongly of lemon. If you don’t have a food processor, use your fingers to mix the sugars and lemon zest. Rub the mixture with your fingers until the zest releases its oils into the sugar.
In a large bowl, combine the spelt flour, all-purpose flour, poppyseeds, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Whisk in the buttermilk, sugar mixture, lemon juice, melted butter and vanilla. The liquid may look lumpy or curdled, but that’s okay.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix quickly, but gently, until there are no streaks of flour. Don’t overmix; the batter will be lumpy. Fill the muffin cups almost full (I use an ice cream scoop) and immediately put the pan into the oven. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the muffins comes out clean.
While the muffins are baking, take the juice of one lemon and mix in powdered sugar to taste. The amount will vary depending on how sour the lemon juice is. I usually add between 1 and 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. I like my juice on the tangy side; you can make it as sweet as you want by adding more sugar.
As soon as you remove the muffins from the oven, brush the tops with the sweetened lemon juice using a pastry brush. Let the muffins cool for 5-10 minutes before turning them out on a rack.