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Last Friday I made up my mind to wake up early the next morning and bake muffins, intending to have a nice weekend brunch with pink grapefruit and copious amounts of espresso. I didn’t make it out of bed (lazy girl, I am) in time to make them Saturday, but was uncharacteristically up and around very early Sunday morning– I took the dog for a freezing cold, long, meandering walk in the dark and quiet, came home and put these almond poppyseed muffins together and into the oven, just as my husband was stirring. Then I worked out for 30 mins., while they baked, and showered while the espresso brewed– it was a red letter day, productivity-wise. I really should use last Sunday as the template for every Sunday.

But, oh, the muffins…! When I worked downtown, there was a Tully’s coffee shop in the building; I didn’t love Tully’s coffee, but I did like their London Fogs (a latte made with Earl Grey tea instead of espresso) and would have one a few times each month. If I was feeling indulgent, which I often was if I went all the way downstairs to pay for a London Fog, I would also get an almond poppyseed muffin. We’ve talked before about how much I love anything almond-flavored, and those muffins were my favorite. I can’t believe I’ve only just figured out/taken the time to make some at home. They really are quite simple to put together; you could argue that the most challenging part is finding poppyseeds. I got mine in the bulk section of Central Market at Christmastime; they were supposed to go into some lemon poppyseed shortbread that never happened. (What a shame.) Instead, they became one of the star ingredients in these moist, dense, unique and delicious muffins. Treat yourself this weekend to a batch– you won’t be sorry.

almond poppyseed muffins

Almond Poppyseed Muffins (makes 12 standard or 6 oversized)

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. whole milk
  • 1/2 c. canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. poppyseeds
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • sliced almonds to garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup standard size muffin tin or a 6-cup oversized tin, or line with muffin cups.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the milk, oil, egg, poppyseeds and almond extract. Use a fork to gently break up the egg yolk, then a wooden spoon or spatula to fold the batter together, mixing just until the dry ingredients are all wet. Over-mixing will produce tough muffins, and you don’t want that; it’s okay for the batter to be lumpy. Carefully scoop the batter into each muffin cup; you want them to be at least 3/4 full, since this muffin doesn’t rise as much as some others. Garnish each muffin with a few sliced almonds, if desired. Bake for 25-35 mins., until a skewer into the center of the largest muffin comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 10-15 mins. and serve.

Leftover muffins should keep for two or three days, but these are best the day you bake them. Fully-cooled muffins can be frozen in ziploc freezer bags or a tightly-covered container for about three months.

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