Lemon Poppy Seed Blueberry Muffins

February 14, 2021

Long Ago and Far Away

I was given the “family recipe” for my friend Sara’s mom’s blueberry muffins. They were perfect. I was sworn to secrecy. I lost that recipe years ago so I can’t technically break my promise. To the best of my recollection the gist of that recipe was “make blueberry muffins but with some lemon zest.” I couldn’t tell you whether it called for milk or water or how many eggs, but I can tell you two things:

  1. The whole point of this blog is that details matter less than bakers like to claim.
  2. In this moment of fully commodified home made food everything, I don’t think a household’s (or single person’s) competitive advantage is any single recipe.

To Prepare

Photographic Evidence

To Prepare

Yeah I dunno I’ve decided I still believe it matters that you really macerate the zest into the sugar, so that all the vital essences are absorbed into the sweet sweet crystalline matrix. So do that while you melt the butter and make some coffee. Pro-tip: Alternating between zesting lemons and pouring more hot water over your pour-over thing provides much needed relief from the strain and fatigue of zesting three lemons. Who even came up with this recipe? But last time you only zested two lemons and it just wasn’t as lemony as expected.

Let the butter cool slightly and then whisk it and the vanilla into the lemon-sugar.

Pour the flour, baking soda (an amount that scantly covers your palm), baking powder (two pinches), salt (33 shakes. your shaker may vary, and to be honest I could’ve used a little more salt anyhow), oh yeah and the other flour, and the poppy seeds into a separate bowl and stir to combine. Add a little more flour.

Have some coffee. It’s really satisfying because at this point you’ve been awake for over 3 hours and all you had before you went surfing was a snack bar and enough instant coffee to get the pipes moving. Continue to ignore your hunger.

Start cracking eggs into the sugar mixture. Your wife wants you to move your wetsuit but she’s willing to wait. Add a little olive oil for extra richness and whisk the eggs into the sugar and fat. Really beat them with the whisk vigorously, just in case it matters, but the mixture is thick and heavy and you’re far too weak to do anything other than gently aerate the eggs with this hand-whisk.

Incorporate the wet mix into the dry mix with a spoon. There’s that old email chain about how Little Bobby overmixed his pancakes and didn’t forward this email and then the next day he choked to death on his overly stiff pancakes, but it’s probably an urban legend and anyhow where do muffins fall on the spectrum from pancakes to bread? They’re probably basically pancakes, but still.

It doesn’t look like you made enough to fill all 12 cupcake holes, so add some more flour and mix again. Actually you almost forgot to add 1/2 lemon of juice so add that in plus also some more flour.

Let the dough sit for 30 minutes while you finally eat some actual food for breakfast.

Preheat oven to 340 F. Eat your breakfast. Drink slightly too much coffee. Relax for a few minutes, you’ve earned it.

Grease up your muffin tin. It has that non-stick liner so it’s not supposed to need muffin papers, which is good because you don’t have any.

Last time you made this recipe you forgot to add blueberries at this step so they just came out as lemon poppy seed muffins, but this time. This time. This time add some frozen blueberries, and then a few more. The trick now is that you really can overmix, because those blueberries will start to turn your whole dough purple so stir until just barely most of the berries are kinda incorporated.

Plop dough into holes.

Shucks, now you have extra? Grease a loaf pan and plop the extra in… it’s not enough for a “loaf” but it’ll make something that we could maybe call “a scone” if we ignore the part of scone-making that calls for very carefully layering the fat into the dough to produce crisp flakes, which we are absolutely willing to ignore on this blog.

Bake for 32 minutes. The knife comes out clean but it feels premature somehow so put back in for 5 more minutes. Chicken out on this plan after 2 or 3 minutes and remove from oven. The edges are golden and the tops are pale, so this is probably about right?


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Hi mom!