I have to admit, ever since Betty White hosted Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago, I can't help but snicker when I hear the word "muffin." White plays Florence Dusty a "rock star in the confectionery world" who can "shake it, break it and sprinkle it" with the best of them! If you missed that episode check out this link and you'll see what I mean.
But I digress, on my recent baking marathon I encountered the "Savor the Moment" recipe for Poppy Seed Bread (pg. 89) which, it turns out, can also be made as muffins. After baking two breads in a row I thought, hey why not mix things up a bit? (I know, how do I come up with these crazy ideas.) Historically, I can't say that I've been the biggest "poppy seed" fan - not that I don't like them but I have never been one to seek them out. Well, let me just tell you, my fellow foodies, these muffins are a revelation! I think it may not have as much to do with the poppy seeds, however, as the delicious flavor combo of almond and vanilla extract and the perfect level of sweetness.
Also contributing to the deliciousness is that after they come out of the oven they are then glazed with a mixture of orange juice, sugar and more almond and vanilla extract - a double whammy of fabulous flavor. I'm not kidding, these muffins are delicious! As tasty as they are though, they aren't the most beautiful muffins I've seen. They browned a bit around the edges but the center stayed a pale, blond color with some cracks and crevices - probably due to my lack of baking acumen but I'm not exactly sure... In any event, you will easily forgive their less than perfect appearance once you bite into one of these, spread with a little (or a lot) of butter. Give them a try this weekend!
Poppy Seed Bread (you can also make as muffins)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons ) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Almond Orange Glaze
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
For the bread, mix the eggs, milk, butter, sugar, poppy seeds and flavorings in a large bowl. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture on cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Divide the batter between 5 greased 5-inch loaf pans or 12 greased muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes for bread or for 20 to 30 minutes for muffins or until a wooden pick inserted n the center comes out clean.
For the glaze, mix the sugar, orange juice and flavorings in a bowl. Pour over loaves or muffins while still warm. Makes five small loaves or one dozen muffins.**
- Do not skip the almond extract!
- I sifted my flour before combining with the other ingredients
- I used salted butter and didn't add the full amount of salt
- Baking time for my muffins was 25 minutes
- I actually got 20 muffins from the recipe using standard muffin tins - bonus!