Friday, September 02, 2011

Cupcake Friday!

We're starting a brand new segment here at the JM & H Show - Cupcake Fridays! I decided, after drooling over a collection of cupcake recipes on Wednesday afternoon, that every other week I would institute Baking Thursdays , in which I whip up a batch of something particularly toothsome. Then, because having such things in our house is LETHAL, I will send them off with Jan Michael on Fridays to distribute to everyone at work. So, my insatiable urge to try new recipes is satisfied, and most importantly, we only eat one or two instead of an even dozen!

And before we even get started, I'm changing Cupcake Fridays to Muffin Fridays, because we're celebrating my sis's birthday tomorrow, and she likes muffins better than cupcakes as a general rule. They're very, very tasty, though - they give cupcakes a run for their money; Jan Michael says so, and so do I.

LEMON POPPY SEED MUFFINS (from Williams Sonoma's Muffins - run to the library right now and check this book out!)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp strained fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp coarse raw sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease 10 standard muffin cups with butter or nonstick cooking spray, or line with paper liners. Fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition until blended.
In another bowl, stir together the flour - salt. Using the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in 2 increments, alternating with the buttermilk, followed by the lemon juice and vanilla. Beat just until smooth.
In a large bowl, using the mixer with spotlessly clean beaters on high speed, beat the egg whites just until they form soft peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter until blended.
Fill each muffin cup three-fourths full with batter. Sprinkle the top of each with raw sugar.
Bake until golden, dry, and springy to the touch, 20-25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Unmold the muffins and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature with lemon curd.

A few notes:
1. I just realized that I completely skipped the beating-and-folding-in-egg-whites part. Oops! It didn't seem to make a difference, but next time I'll try not to be such a scatter-brain.
2. I didn't bother with sprinkling raw sugar on the tops.
3. I used 2 mini muffin tins, which yielded 30 muffins, and I baked them for 15 minutes. I also didn't fool around with filling the empty cups with water to prevent warping.
4. I refuse to pay $5 for a tiny jar of lemon curd, and I was too lazy to make my own, so we were sans lemon curd. Really, though, these muffins don't need it!
5. I can't stand cookbooks without pictures, and here I am, sharing a recipe without pictures. Shameful. I will do a better job next time.

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