Sunday, May 11, 2008
Lemon Poppy Seed Mini Muffins
There was a t.v. show I liked on Showtime that ran for two seasons called Dead Like Me. In one of the scenes, Mandy Patinkon's character was looking at some miniature waffles and he said "I'll never understand the desire to miniaturize food" and then he went on about it for a few more lines. I don't know why that line stuck out to me, it wasn't a particularly memorable part of the show, or even a particularly memorable line, but I kept thinking about it when I was making these muffins.
I've had my mini muffin pans for years now, but I never used them until last week when I made some mini banana muffins as a way to finish off some banana bread batter that I had leftover. I didn't blog about the bread or the muffins for a couple of different reasons, but those mini muffins were damn cute, which as far as I'm concerned is reason enough to miniaturize food. Plus, you can always tell yourself with the small ones that they aren't nearly as fattening as a whole lemon muffin. Of course, I'm pretty sure that tends to backfire since most people tend to eat more than just one when presented with something that is small and cute, which probably adds up to more calories in the end than if they just had one regular muffin....
Today I was actually planning to make a bourbon pound cake, but in the end I just wasn't feeling the pound cake. I wanted something quicker, easier and lighter. Plus I had some lemons that needed to be used up or thrown out so these muffins won the day. I used the recipe from my Dorie Greenspan book and the only change I made to the muffins themselves was using my mini muffin pan instead of standard ones -- reducing the cooking time to about 9 minutes instead of 18. For the icing, I added two tablespoons of melted butter to the powdered sugar and lemon juice, but that's just a personal preference.
2/3 cup sugar
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsps poppy seeds
For the Icing:
2 tbsps unsalted butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
1-3 tbsp lemon juice
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of lemon strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk 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.
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 before icing them.
To make the icing, put the sugar and butter in a small bowl. Add about half of the lemon juice and stir. Add more lemon juice as needed to get an icing that you can drizzle on the muffins.