Monday, January 17, 2011
An honest muffin.
Growing up in a household of four children, shopping trips to Costco were a given and an occasion to which my siblings and I always anticipated with excitement. My dad wouldn't always let us tag along, for fear we'd load the cart up with cookies, candy, and pastries galore, I'm sure, but the opportunities arose every once in awhile, and usually with only one kid at a time. We stocked up on such quality products as Kirkland Signature toilet paper, Nature's Valley granola bars, pallets of Yoplait yogurt, gallons of Minute Maid orange juice, and, of course, mens' briefs. Sometimes a tray of croissants would show up on the kitchen table when we came home from school (Costco croissants -- my, how far we've come...), but other times, it would be an assortment of mini-muffins. You know the ones -- chocolate chip, double chocolate, bran, blueberry, and my favorite, lemon poppy seed, packaged in fives with clear cellophane. They were perfect for throwing in our sack lunches, and we did. I can only hope I didn't devour them all myself, or in one sitting, though I wouldn't put it past my fifth grade self (kids must burn a lot of calories in P.E., right??)
I can't recall having been as big a fan of lemon poppy seed than when they came five to a pack. Given today's normal varieties of muffins, I feel a magnetic pull towards sour cream coffee cake muffins or the spiced options and lemon poppy seed is often shafted. This week, however, our Tuesdays With Dorie assignment was for my beloved mini variety, only in full size form and with the optional additional of jam that I took full advantage of, as chosen by Betsy of A Cup Of Sweetness.
Despite my early fondness for the lightly scented lemon muffin with poppy seeds suspended throughout, this was my first attempt at baking them. The two-bowl wonder of a recipe really could not be any more simple. I threw the dry ingredients together, then the wet, combined, and off into the oven they went in less than ten minutes. Half of them got the star treatment with a belly of raspberry jam, but that additional dimension wasn't all that necessary. It's an honest muffin. Straight-forward. Despite the raspberry jam and lemon glaze, you know that at its heart, it's just a lemony muffin with the perfect proportion of poppy seeds. And I love Bonne Maman raspberry jam, but I don't need to search for it in every bite -- the cake is just so good alone. With or without the bells and whistles, if I were to wake up to it every morning, life couldn't possibly be so bad.