Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I made these muffins two weeks ago (gack, I’m so tardy with these postings!), while watching the Oscars, as mentioned in the beef-and-curry pie saga below. I’m not a huge muffin fan; I mean, I never find myself thinking, “Gosh, I could really go for a muffin right now.” In general, sweet breads, especially at breakfasttime, are not my kettle o’ fish. (Neither are kettles of fish, for that matter.) I do really love miniature versions of larger foods, like cupcakes instead of cake and personal pan pizzas instead of, er, impersonal pan pizzas? So when I think about baking, muffins appeal more than loaves of bread. Mostly, though, I just love almond-flavored foods. My mom made these muffins while I was growing up and I adored them, though I never had any interest whatsoever in the no-doubt delicious blueberry, bran, or whatever-else muffins she baked. Now I make these from time to time and pretty much inhale them. Besides being delicious, they are so easy. And the perfect thing to bring when it’s your turn to supply the treats for a departmental meeting, take it from me. Just remember to buy almond extract, or you might have to run out to the store (no, two stores, when you realize Trader Joe’s has peppermint extract but no almond) and thus miss Jack Black and Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly singing a very funny Academy Awards song that everyone will be talking about the next day and you’ll feel left out and keep reminding yourself to find it on YouTube, but you’ll never actually get around to it. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

¾ cup sugar
½ cup margarine or butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons poppy seeds
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
Sliced almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cream together sugar, butter, eggs, and almond extract.

3. Add yogurt, flour, poppy seeds, salt, and baking soda and stir until just moistened.

4. Grease muffin tins and fill each cup about two-thirds full of batter. Sprinkle muffins with sliced almonds. Bake 15–20 minutes.

Variation: For poppy-seed lemon muffins, replace plain yogurt with lemon yogurt and almond extract with lemon extract.

Makes: 1 dozen
Time: 30 minutes

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