In the event of some sort of big fat natural disaster in California, I may be up a creek without a paddle. Sure, I’ve got the canned tuna, the emergency gallons of water and a few flashlights with dying batteries. I’ve got the walking shoes, a space blanket and pepper spray… you need those things, right? It’s just that I’m not sure the internets or my cellphone are going to do me much good in the event of a meltdown. Won’t all the cell towers be jammed? How am I going to reach out to my family? I don’t think Twitter will quite do the trick. Clearly my only option is to jog to them… in a space blanket. That seems to make the most sense.
My parents? I think they’re just ahead of me in the emergency game. They’ve got cell phones from 1993 and a telephone land line. At least the land line will come in handy.
My grandfather!? He’ll fare better than all of us in an emergency. He’s got Ham Radio. Ham Radio is a sort of amateur radio system that allows people to talk to one another all over the world. Don’t be fooled by the name. Ham Radio is actually pretty badass. Sort of like… trucker radio meets old school technology meets grandfather hobby. In emergencies, Ham Radio is booming. You better believe that in an emergency, my grandfather will be all over that radio. Who he’ll be talking to? I’m not exactly sure. He’ll probably be saving the world. I’ll be jogging my way to safety. My parents will still be screening their phone calls with their answering machine. Who is the hero? Grandpa.
I tell you all of this because Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (specifically the giant ((seriously giant)) kind from Costco) are my grandfather’s favorite. He no doubt has a 48 pack of those giant muffins in his emergency kit. You think I’m kidding. I’m not.
Note: my descriptions of Ham Radio here may hinge on trite and are most certainly superficial and inadequate.
How many of these muffins did I eat Sunday morning? What? You weren’t counting. Good. I did count and it wasn’t pretty… I ate five of these muffins with extra glaze. I had to. I did.
These are simple muffins. You know these muffins. They’re no big surprise to you. Lemon. Buttermilk. A little crunch from poppy seeds. Sugary lemon glaze. It’s a beautiful thing. If you’d like to freeze these beauties to enjoy all week, do so without the glaze. Success.
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
adapted from Baking
2/3 cup granulated sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk or sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter, melted until browned and cooled
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar (for topping the batter before baking)
For the Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar whisked together with 2 or 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 12 mold, regular sized muffin tray with paper muffin liners, place the muffin pan on a baking sheet and set aside.
In a large bowl, rub the granulated sugar with the lemon zest until the sugar is lightly colored and scented with lemon. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk (or sour cream) vanilla extract, melted butter and lemon juice.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together. When almost thoroughly mixed, add the poppy seeds. Divide batter between muffin cups. Sprinkle each would be muffing with granulated sugar.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the tops are golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing. If you’re freezing the cupcakes for future eating, skip the glaze. It doesn’t freeze well.