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When I was in sixth grade, my class took an overnight field trip to a recreation camp in a nearby area of Washington. We hiked through the woods, braved the climbing wall, swam in an outdoor pool, and played way too many games of B.S. (“Bubble-Scrub” was the chosen sixth-grade euphemism for that card game at the time) while sitting cross-legged on the cots in our little cabins. I’m not sure how much our teachers and parent chaperones enjoyed what was essentially a two-day sleepover with more than sixty pre-teens, but we sure had a fantastic time.
One of the best parts about the camp was its food. We ate in a large dining room, and whenever a table wanted more of a certain dish (pot roast, roasted red potatoes, dinner rolls), they just had to hold up the empty bowl or basket and a waitstaff would quickly replace it. My peers and I were enthralled at this magic, and it made enough of an impression for me to still remember the menu almost a decade later.
Somehow, the subject of this particular field trip came up over dinner the other night, and my dad (who happened to be one of the ever-patient middle school teachers on the trip) was in awe that I remembered everything we ate. He always teases me for remembering the details of my past birthday parties, what toys I got each Christmas of my childhood, and what we had for dinner seven years ago. I suppose my crazy memory is just another trait of my foodie self–I have always loved good food, and considering the amount of time I spend thinking about past meals, it makes sense that they have pretty well-worn paths in my memory. Some might think it’s ridiculous that I can recall what we had for dessert on the night of my sixth-grade field trip, but it’s just who I am.
Speaking of dessert at my field trip in 2006 (sorry that it took me three paragraphs to get to that point), what we had was lemon poppy seed cake. Unlike all the other components of the meal, there were no seconds (or thirds, or fourths) on dessert, and each of us got only one thick slice, drizzled in a lemony glaze. It was fantastic, and reinforced my love of lemon poppy seed baked goods. I have always loved lemon anything, especially in the spring and summer months. When my mom mentioned that she needed to bring a baked good to a PTA meeting the other day, I quickly volunteered to supply muffins. In an attempt to conjure up some bright spring vibes (we’ve had gray skies and drizzle lately), I opted to make lemon poppyseed muffins. With their fresh citrus flavor and tender crumb, they are sure to brighten up anyone’s day. The poppy seeds give these lemon muffins a wonderful little crunch, and the sour cream adds moisture and just the tiniest hint of tang. Who knows, these muffins might even be good enough to stay at the forefront of your memory for years to come! Enjoy. ????
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Yield: 12 standard-size muffins
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Zest and juice from 1 large lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, melted butter, and lemon juice until well-combined. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until no flour streaks remain. Fold in the poppy seeds.
Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the muffin tops spring back when lightly pressed. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker