This tangy and tender muffin began life as a humble home economics recipe from high school.
When I was in high school, I thought I’d take a break from my heavier schedule and signed up for home economics one term. Since I had been cooking with my mother since I was very young, I found it hard to take seriously a class that was instructing me on “How to make toast” or hem a skirt (I was making my own skirts at the time!). I know I should have breezed through, but I guess I just thought it was all a big joke.
A box of memories
However, I did like the basic muffin recipe, and brought it home to live in my mother’s recipe box. The box contained a lifetime of precious hand-written recipes of my mothers, a lot of my own from high school days, and hand-written recipes from other members of the family and friends. I inherited that box, and love going through it now and then, remembering Mom baking or cooking one of these treasures. I love it best when I find a coffee ring or some dried up flour clump still clinging to a card, or little notes scribbled on the side.
We all make changes
When I bake one of those recipes, I try to honor the original, but I’ll put my own spin on things, often lowering the saturated fat or adding a whole grain. So when I found this old recipe the other day, I remembered that it was a good basic recipe, one that I added other ingredients to such as blueberries or apples, and looking at the ingredients, I knew I could put a slightly healthier spin on it.
Let’s make this healthier
My original recipe used white cake flour, melted butter, and white sugar. I’ve fiddled around and replaced half the flour with King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour, swapped canola oil for the melted butter, and gave up the white sugar in favor of honey. I love lemon, so I zested a couple of seasonal Meyer lemons. The lemon really worked well, and I while still a treat, these muffins have a bit more nutrition than the original.
The whole wheat flour added a subtle nuttiness and flavor to the muffins, and the texture was really lovely, light and tender. You can add berries or other fruit to these muffins as a variation, and they would work beautifully. Think chopped up apples and a little cinnamon, blueberries, cranberries and orange extract. Chocolate chips?
One bowl, about 25 minutes total time, and you’ve got a tender, flavorful muffin, perhaps sprinkled with a few memories.
Whole Wheat Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
- 1 cup (113 g.) white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup (120 g.) unbleached cake flour
- 2 tsp. double acting baking powder, non-aluminum
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. poppyseeds, optional
- ½ cup milk or plant milk, I used soy
- ½ cup canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup native honey
- ½ tsp. lemon extract
- Zest of two lemons, Meyer if you have them
- Turbinado sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line eight cups of a 12-cup muffin tin
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, and poppyseeds if using.
In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the milk, the oil, then the honey, and add eggs, extract, and zest. Whisk all together.
Make a big well in the center of the dry and add the wet ingredients. With a fork, mix just until the ingredients come together. Don’t over-mix or the muffins will be tough or misshapen.
Use an ice-cream scoop to fill the cups. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar if using.
Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until browned and firm to the touch. I like to turn the muffin tin at about 15 minutes for even browning.
Cool on a wire rack.
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