I go through food moods. Obsessions you could say. An unhealthy fixation on muffins has been one of them. Years ago, when I was stuck in cubicle office hell, muffins were my savior. I remember walking to walk with utter dread in my heart as the cold winter wind would nip at my already frozen cheeks and red nose, I would be riddled with anxiety as to what my day in office hell would bring and the only slight of hope I had to make it to 5pm and the train ride home was my morning coffee and muffin fix. Discovering this little ‘hole in the wall’ style café filled with the aromas of coffee and a cabinet full of the most delicious, gigantic, beautifully coloured, comforting muffins I’d ever seen was like help sent from the heavens. Suddenly I had a little glimmer of something lovely to look forward to, an escape, just across the road from work that I could snuggle in, read a book, sip coffee and pretend that my work life did not exist. Muffins were indeed my savior.
I am so very pleased and thrilled to say that my days in office cubicle hell are long behind me; however my love affair with muffins still remains. Muffins are wonderful. To me, they are tiny portable bundles of homely comfort that calm and soothe the soul. They are a blank canvas for an endless number of flavourings, both sweet and savoury and they can be easily whipped up in under 30 minutes which is precisely why they make the perfect comfort food. The smell alone wafting from the oven as the muffins bake is enough to make the saddest heart smile.
This morning I decided to celebrate muffins in all of the glory with this combination of lemon and poppy seed. The muffins were moist with a beautifully soft crumb (thank you mr sour cream) and full of zesty springtime lemon flavour. And to gild the lily just a little further, I also whipped up a lemon cream cheese icing to dollop on top. Perfection. With a coffee and a copy of the latest Donna Hay magazine, I was in heaven. Enjoy K xx
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins w’ Lemon Cream Cheese Icing
adapted from commonsense baking
2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
Zest of one lemon
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Lemon Cream Cheese Icing:
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
200g cream cheese
Preheat oven to 180°C and place rack in center of oven. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan.
In a bowl, whisk the flour with the poppy seeds, salt, and baking soda.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the lemon zest, yogurt (or sour cream), and vanilla extract until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture just until moistened. Do not over mix. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about five minutes before removing from pan.
Lemon Cream Cheese Icing: Place the cream cheese in a small bowl and stir in the lemon zest and juice, mix until smooth. Add the icing sugar and mix until smooth. Dollop a tablespoon of the cream cheese icing on top of each muffin and grate over a little extra lemon zest to garnish.