Friday, May 08, 2009

Back to Basics

After three attempts at vegan baking (in addition to these, I also made a so-so banana bread), I was anxious to get back to what I knew. You know: eggs, butter, sugar, buttermilk. So I reached for a cookbook that never fails me: Kathleen's Bake Shop Cookbook. Aunt Betty had placed a "very good" note on the recipe for Orange Poppy Seed Muffins. I've always liked the lemon-poppy seed combination and had a feeling I'd like orange-poppy, too.

I was right: these muffins are delicious. They are moist, thanks to buttermilk; and light, since the recipe instructs you to beat the egg yolks into the batter, then separately whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold them into the batter. Orange zest brightens the flavor, and the soft crunch of poppy seeds is really nice.

Of course, you will note that the muffin in the photo looks a little well done. I'm still trying to figure out my new oven, although I'm not entirely sure it's a matter of me getting used to it (I think it may need recalibration). But even with their toasty tops, these muffins are pretty terrific. If you know what you're doing with your oven, they'll be even better.--S
Orange Poppy Seed Muffins
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 c butter, softened
3/4 c granulated sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 T freshly grated orange rind
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 c buttermilk
2 T poppy seeds
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease nine 3" x 1 1/2" muffin cups.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the orange rind and vanilla.
4. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the butter mixture. Fold in the poppy seeds. Beat egg whites to soft peaks and fold into batter. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling them to the top.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean.
Recipe courtesy of Kathleen's Bake Shop Cookbook

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