Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Breakfast | Servings: About 12 jumbo muffins or 24 regular muffins
Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 30 min | Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (15 oz.) flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 3 tbsp. sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium orange (3 to 4 tbsp. of juice)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups plain low fat yogurt

Orange Syrup

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Process

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Insert paper liners into or generously spray muffin pan(s). I found it better to use liners (at least for the jumbo size) because they made the muffins easier to remove from the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and orange zest on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add orange juice and mix well.
  4. Reduce speed to low. Mix in 1/2 cup of yogurt. Then mix in half of the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides as necessary. Repeat with another 1/2 cup of yogurt and the remaining flour mixture. Mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of yogurt last. Give the batter one last stir by hand, it will be thick.
  5. Use a ice cream scoop or large spoon to fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full. (Note: You can fill them up a bit more to get a puffier muffin, but make sure the top of your muffin pan is also sprayed or else the muffin tops will stick.) Bake jumbo muffins for 25-30 minutes and regular muffins for 20-25 minutes. Rotate pans halfway through baking. Muffins should be golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center should be clean with a few crumbs attached. Immediately remove muffins by inverting the muffin pan onto a wire rack. Turn the muffins right side-up and let them cool slightly.
  6. While the muffins are baking, add the 1/4 cup orange juice and 1/4 cup sugar to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Use a pastry brush to coat the tops of the warm muffins with the warm syrup.

Serve muffins warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.

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