Lemon Poppy Zucchini Muffins

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About a week ago, I got to one of. my schools to find two big platters of veggies from an event the night before.  Since they were going to throw them away, I decided to grab the mini bell peppers and the mini zucchinis.  I kind figured I could always find something to do with either of those items.

With the red bell peppers, I made a Flame Roasted Red Pepper Soup but it took me a while to figure out how to use the zucchinis.  While I do love zucchinis, they tend to be a bland ingredient.  You have to add flavor in some form.  I generally love them in stir fry or salad.  One of new-ish ways to serve them is as Zucchini Rose Tart (stay tuned for the recipe in the coming weeks.  It is a great recipe for holiday entertainment).  So I went recipe shopping and came across the following on Foodnetwork.com: Lemon Poppy Zucchini Muffins.

Because I have been doing this cooking thing for a while, right off the bat, I knew I had to reduce the amount of sugar.  I generally find that muffins are way too sweet, in fact as sweet as cupcakes.  My personal belief is that muffins should have a touch of savoriness to them, so that while they are sweet, they should not be as sweet as cupcakes.  With that being said, I initially decided to reduce the sugar by 2 tablespoon but after they were made, realized that I actually needed to reduce the sugar by a quarter cup.  But that is for my personal taste.  Feel free to play around with the sugar content.

Now I also realized as I was gathering the ingredients that I had misplaced my brand new bottle of poppy seeds.  While the recipe below contains them, I unfortunately was not able to.  Side note, I found the bottle the next day.  Bugger.  I also used EVOO instead of veggie oil.  I’m obsessed with EVOO in general but have been more into using it in sweet dishes ever since I first made Olive Oil Cakes a coupla years ago.I love the taste but I believe most people find it too intense and if thats you, don’t make the substitution like I did.

Ok, enough of my background story, check out the recipe.

Ingredients: lemon, sugar, poppy seeds, AP flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, vegetable oil, buttermilk or plain yogurt, vanilla extract, eggs, grated zucchini

Add the sugar to the food processor.

Add the the lemon zest to the sugar.

Mix until the mixture is well combined.  Remove 3 tablespoon and set both aside.

Mix well the rest of the dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder

Combine all the wet ingredients: oil, eggs, yogurt or buttermilk and vanilla and whisk to combine.

Your mixture should look something like this when well combined.

I find that it is easier to whisk the flour while adding the wet ingredients.  Mix until just combined.

Then add the zucchini.  Mix to combine but do not over mix or your muffins will be tough.

Because I like my muffins (and cupcakes sometimes) to have that muffin top, I will fill the muffin cavities to the top.  The recipe below does suggest filling 3/4 full, I recommend to fill up as you like.

Sprinkle the 3 tablespoons of the lemon sugar mixture on top of the muffins.

Bake until the muffins are light golden on the edges and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Allow them to cool slightly in the cupcake tray before removing and allowing to cool on cooling rack.

All done!  I would say that it was one of the most delish muffins I’ve ever had.

Print Recipe
Lemon Poppy Zucchini Muffins
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  3. Use a microplane to grate the zest off the lemon or if you don’t have a fine grater, use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon in wide strips, being careful not to remove the white pith.
  4. Combine the lemon zest and sugar in a food processor and process until the zest is finely chopped and well mixed with the sugar.
  5. Stir in the poppy seeds. Scoop out 3 tablespoons of the lemon sugar mixture and set aside.
  6. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  7. In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining lemon sugar mixture, the vegetable oil, buttermilk, vanilla and eggs; stir into the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the zucchini.
  8. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling them three-quarters of the way.
  9. Tap the bottom of the pan lightly on the counter to smooth out the batter.
  10. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the reserved lemon sugar mixture.
  11. Bake until the muffins are golden brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes.
  12. Let the muffins cool 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
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