With their lively crunch, poppy seeds make a festive addition to quick breads. To enhance and deepen their subtle flavor, steep the seeds in milk before adding to the batter. Like nuts, poppy seeds are rich in oils, and they should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer if kept for more than a few months. You can also bake these muffins in 12 standard muffin cups. Fill them three-fourths full, and increase the baking time to 15 to 18 minutes. For a simpler topping, omit the glaze and sprinkle with Demerara sugar before baking.
Orange–Poppy Seed Mini Muffins
3 Tbs. poppy seeds
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) whole milk
1 3/4 cups (9 oz./280 g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. grated orange zest
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) granulated sugar
6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) plus 1 Tbs. orange juice
1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) confectioners’ sugar
Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 400°F (200°C). Butter 24 mini-muffin-pan cups or line them with paper liners. In a small bowl, combine the poppy seeds and milk and let stand for 20 minutes. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest. Set aside.
If mixing the muffins by hand, in a bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. Stir in the granulated sugar, butter, the 1/4 cup orange juice, and the milk–poppy seed mixture, stirring until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula just until moistened.
If using a mixer, in a bowl, beat the eggs on low speed until blended. Add the granulated sugar, butter, the 1/4 cup orange juice and the milk-poppy seed mixture and beat on low speed just to combine. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup about three-fourths full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 12–14 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 2 minutes, then turn out onto the rack.
To make the glaze, in a bowl, stir together the remaining orange juice and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Drizzle over the tops of the warm muffins in a zigzag pattern.
Makes 24 mini or 12 standard muffins
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking