Meyer lemons have always been an untapped resource in my world. I have been intrigued by them, but never went so far as to purchase them. Seeing as how they have such a short growing season, I decided not to let them pass me by this year. Thanks to a friend and her amazing Meyer lemon curd, I bought a bagful of these beauties and started recipe hunting.
I have always loved lemon poppyseed muffins, but I tend to forget this when faced with blueberry, carrot, chocolate, or cinnamon. But, these muffins have reminded me why lemon and poppyseeds go together so harmoniously. I love the tiny crunch of the poppyseeds with each bite surrounded by the moist lemon crumbs.
Meyer lemons are a hybrid of sorts. They are darker in color and richer in taste than regular lemons, though I can’t say that they are sweet enough on their own to eat like an orange as some have claimed. Maybe it’s just the batch I bought, but they still have quite a tart bite to them. However, they do smell sweeter and have a distinct fragrance and taste all their own.
This recipe uses the zest of an entire lemon and you rub the zest into the sugar which causes the lovely scent to permeate the sugar crystals, so you not only get little strands of zest in each bite, but it leaves behind the hint of lemon which perfumes the whole batter. It’s a brilliant technique and one that I will use anytime I am baking with citrus zest. There is no lemon juice in the batter, but the flavor is prominent due to the lemon sugar that begins the process.
I adapted this recipe further by using a gluten free flour mix and they were amazing. My husband couldn’t even tell they were gluten free. I also used oil instead of butter, for no other reason than I didn’t want to put a whole stick of butter in one batch of muffins. 😉 I knew the oil would impart more moisture than butter alone, so I liked the result and have stuck with it. I have also made these with both sour cream as stated and one batch with plain Greek yogurt instead. Both were delicious and I feel the two are interchangeable, especially if you want to cut some of the fat. (Tip: one container of 6oz. Greek yogurt is 3/4 cup, so it’s easy to grab one container to make this recipe).
I have been addicted to these muffins for the past couple of weeks and have been freezing them after they cool, so I can grab a couple to take to work for breakfast. Once they are reheated in a microwave, they taste freshly baked. Tender and moist cake-like inside with a crackly crust on the outside with crispy poppyseeds peppered throughout, each bite is bursting with fresh and bright flavor. I have opted to not make the glaze for these just because I felt that it’s not needed; they are just sweet enough to counter the lemon’s tartness, but not so much that you feel you are eating dessert – an ideal balance.
These are perfect on their own, warmed through with a cup of coffee on a lazy Saturday morning…or any morning, for that matter. Meyer lemons have ushered in Spring and I am glad to have given them a try.