“Say yes to the muffin; no to the muffin-top.”
When I’m leaving my apartment at 8:56 for my 9 a.m. class, muffins never let me down. They’re easy to make, simple to eat, and just absolutely delicious. The difficult part is finding a muffin that is not a naked version of a cupcake.
So many muffin recipes are packed full of oil and sugar, they might as well have a hefty dollop of frosting piped on top with a dash of sprinkles. Muffins (especially for breakfast or a midday snack) should be low on sugar, high on protein, and absent of any artificial flavorings. Keep your distance from the store-bought “only add water” mixes. As easy as they may seem, just think about this for a second: muffins require key ingredients (eggs, dairy, etc.) that must be refrigerated. Those mixes at the store often can stay on the shelves, or in your pantry, for months. That’s disgusting! Keep it fresh, and keep it healthy.
I found this recipe from imafoodblog.com (and then adapted it) as I was in the midst of a huge hankering for anything lemon poppy seed. These muffins are truly scrumptious with a punch of lemony flavor to get you going when you need it most.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of honey
Zest and juice of 2 small lemons (or 1 and 1/2 medium lemons)
2 cups of all-purpose flour (or whole wheat, but the muffins will be denser)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt (or vanilla)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of canola oil (better for you than vegetable oil!)
2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and prepare a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, rub together the sugar and lemon zest until the sugar is moist. This will activate all of the citrus oils and will really make the lemon flavor stand out.
Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Next, for your wet ingredients, mix together the yogurt, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and oil.
Combine the wet with the dry ingredients and gently fold until everything is homogeneous. Then add the poppy seeds. Avoid over-mixing!
Distribute the batter into 12 muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the muffins have reached a golden-brown color.
Remove the muffins from the pan and allow to cool. Top with an optional glaze.
Believe me, the glaze is well worth it. Just mix a cup of powdered sugar with the juice of a lemon. It should be the consistency of heavy cream. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze back and forth over the muffins for just a light touch of sweetness.