Posted in Recipes

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins: Sweetness and Light

December 1, 2014 - 11:23 am

Sometimes things work out so much better than expected. The muffins I made this weekend were one of those things:


It has been very cold for Seattle in November, and there was snow!

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Our home turned into a winter wonderland. I love being up here in the “treehouse.”

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I decided I wanted to make muffins for board gaming, and on a whim decided to try for lemon poppyseed. I love these, but it’s not something I’ve made for ages, and I’ve never developed a solid recipe. I’ve made a couple batches that were ok, but none of them were memorable. This time, I decided to riff from this recipe by Karen Butler. The result was delightful.

I am not one who believes in moderation when it comes to flavors, and these muffins fit my preferences. They hit your mouth with a “ka-WOW that’s lemony,” and the density of poppyseed adds a delightful crunch. I also halved the recommended sugar, so they aren’t terribly sweet. The bitter-tart flavor of the lemons is definitely strongest.

I see comments in the recipe on about reducing the lemon-ness or reducing the poppyseed. By all means, if that’s your preference. But I assure you these were devoured by all the folks at gaming this week, with moans of delight and not much else going along with the nomming. Perhaps try them as-is and see what you think.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins


Preheat to 375 degrees. makes 24 servings

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 C corn flour
  • 1/2 C sorghum flour
  • 1/2 C tapioca starch
  • 2 t xanthan gum
  • 3/4 C white sugar 
  • 1/2 C poppy seeds 
  • 1 T plus 1 t baking powder 
  • 2 t baking soda 
  • 1 t salt 

wet ingredients:

  • 4 eggs 
  • 2 C yogurt 
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil 
  • 2 T grated lemon zest (zest from two large or three small lemons)


  • 2/3 cup lemon juice (juice from two large or three small lemons)
  • 3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons white sugar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare muffin tins. This made 12 large muffins, or would make 24 normal size ones if you prefer. I like using papers, and always give them a quick spray of canola oil so they don’t stick TOO well to the muffins.

Prepare a stand mixer with a whisk if you have one, or choose a large bowl to combine wet and dry ingredients.

Combine dry ingredients in another bowl, using a whisk to blend them thoroughly. This is extremely important in gluten free cooking, because the xanthan gum must be evenly distributed for things to come out well. If not it will create gummy lumps in an otherwise dry and fragile baked good- not at all the desired effect!

Crack eggs into mixer and blend on high to a froth. Add oil slowly, then add yogurt. Add the zest and blend on low- it will clump up on the beater and spatter the mix out of the bowl otherwise. (Just guess how I know this.)

Add the dry mix slowly with the mixer on low, and stir till just combined. The lemon zest and baking soda will start reacting immediately to make the batter fluffy; too much beating will collapse that and the muffins will be flat.

Gently spoon the batter into the muffin pan and pop it in the oven. 

Cook for about 20 minutes. I found the recipe got alarmingly brown on top while still being goopy in the center of the muffins, so I’m recommending 25 degrees cooler than the parent recipe. That means it may take a little longer to cook, but there will be less risk of scorching the tops.


WHILE IT’S COOKING prepare the sauce/glaze:

Combine lemon juice and sugar in a microwave safe container. I used a Pyrex measuring cup. The sugar won’t want to dissolve- that’s ok.

Place in the microwave on high for 30s. Stir. Repeat this, watching the sauce, until it starts to boil. TADA- lemon flavored Simple Syrup. 

Pull the muffins from the oven when done. Let cool about 5 minutes or until they can be handled, and move to a tray or plate(s) for saucing.

Use a skewer, chopstick, or some other pokey tool to make three or four holes in the top of each muffin.

Slowly spoon the simple syrup mixture (which will still be very hot and able to cause a nasty burn- be careful!) over the tops, trying to get the syrup into and onto the muffins rather than pooling on the plate(s). 

Let stand another 5 minutes. I know it’s hard, but some things are worth the wait. The sweetness and lemon juice need a chance to suffuse the muffins. Patience.


Ok, now try them, and tell me what you think!


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