I love muffins but am committed to real food and low sugar cooking for my family. This leads to a lot of experimentation. According to the grownups, this is the best muffin I’ve ever made. According to the 5 year old, it needed more sugar (but that’s an easy fix). The lemon peel was what really made it.
To be useful, I think recipes need to be flexible. My sister is allergic to everything under the sun except vegetables and meat and some nuts. These lemon poppyseed muffins can be modified in several ways to be gluten free (for people with celiac), gluten free (for people who are just not into gluten), grain free, nut free, egg free, etc. I’ll give directions for all the substitutions. If it feels like pancake batter, add some more of your flour. If it’s starting to feel like bread dough, add some liquid. Easy peasy. Baking should be fun. Eating should be more fun.
What You Need
- wet stuff
- 2ish cups sourdough starter (or soymilk, milk, whey, eggnog, water, whatever you got). Sourdough starter is my favorite liquid for baking and adds an amazing flavor to things. The souring process also breaks down gluten protein, so unless you actually have celiac sourdough starter is worth trying.
- peel of 2 lemons (if you don’t have a good blender, this should be the equivalent amount of actual zest, and consider organic lemons if they are an option, since you are actually eating the peel)
- 1/3 cup olive oil (liquid fat of some kind)
- 4 eggs (1 egg is about 3 tablespoons of liquid, if you are going to sub chia seeds at a rate of 1 tablespoon ground chia seed per egg, you’ll need to make up the liquid…however, keep in mind that normal quick bread recipes only need an egg or two and I use a lot to load these up on dense nutrients, but also to accommodate the coconut flour versions of the recipe, so you don’t necessarily need 4 eggs worth of ground chia seeds)
- dry stuff
- 1 cup almond meal, 1 cup sprouted sorghum flour, 1/4 cup arrowroot starch OR for GF: 1 cup sprouted sorghum flour or almond flour, 1/2 cup coconut flour, 1/4 cup arrowroot starch OR for grain and nut free: 1 cup coconut flour, 1/2 cup arrowroot starch (and be ready to adjust the liquid a bit if it needs it, maybe throw in a few more eggs OR everything goes: 2 cups regular flour (sprouted! whole grain! white!)
- 1 tsp baking soda (the sourdough starter carries some weight in this interaction, so maybe add 1/2 tsp of baking powder if you aren’t using sourdough)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tsp poppy seeds
*If someone in your home needs them sweeter, add 1/3 cup honey or a few mashed bananas or, heck, sugar if you really want it. Just pay attention to your batter consistency and add a pinch more dry stuff if needed.
What You Do
- If you are using cast iron, go ahead and put a dab of fat and put them in to preheat at 350F, then move on to the rest.
- Put all the wet stuff in the blender and run until the lemon peel is combined. You don’t want to emulsify your oil, at least maybe you don’t? So don’t overdo it. Mine looks like this.
- Mix all the dry stuff in a bowl. No need to sift, just mix with a fork.
- Add the wet to the dry and mix with the fork until no lumps remain. No need to beat, just get everything wet. This picture should help you have an idea of your batter consistency if you tweak the recipe with substitutions.
- Even if the oven is preheated, let the cast iron stay warming at least 10 minutes, then pull it out and swirl the fat around to cover the bottom of each tin. Fill each one about 2/3 and put them back in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until done. They should pop right out with a knife. Remove from the cast iron right away and set out on a drying rack. Very good with butter, or peanut butter 🙂
Here’s where I get the ingredients, if you’re looking.
Sourdough starter: There’s no excuse for letting this amazing stuff go to waste. I put it in everything or feed it to the hens if it’s not a baking day. 365 brand organic AP flour and my filtered well water. Sometime I’ll do a sourdough post.
Lemons: organic lemons by the sack from the HoFo. Whenever I use lemons (like for elderberry gummies) I put the peels in the freezer for occasions like this.
Olive oil: Costco has the best deal for quality organic olive oil. This article is handy. I make lots of pesto, salad dressing, tofu dip, salves, etc so blow through it at a frightening pace. That’s also where we get baking soda (lot of volcano making around here), organic chia seeds, and a lot of other stuff. Costco rules, and you can order their things online or from Amazon if you don’t have one near you.
Eggs: I’ve got my own little flock of 8 hens and I make a sprouted whole grain organic supplement for them, but in winter have to buy eggs while the ladies rest. Eggs are tough. All layers are supplemented with grain, even pastured ones, so organic is important for me. I love my local farmers but very few feed organic (except these awesome folks). So I usually suck it up and buy Vital Farms pastured organic eggs at Whole Foods. But definitely ask around in your area and see if someone does both, it’s worth checking.
Almond meal: The only place I’ve found organic is here, but have used Bob’s Red Mill in the past. I also use their arrowroot powder (though I have a hankering to try growing it myself). To save some money, try just getting some coconut flour at a natural grocer or online and skipping almonds altogether. They aren’t awesome for the planet anyway, though all these things have their issues.
Salt: Years ago I started cooking with the dirt cheap and dirty Redmond salt I use in my chicken feed. You can get it cheaper at ag supply stores, but natural grocers carry it now as well.
Sprouted flour: In some areas you can find good sprouted flours locally, but often they are conventional. Still, see what’s in your area first. I have loved these folks and get all kinds of sprouted flours from them. And if you’ve been googling, no, sprouted sorghum seed is not full of cyanide (that’s just the stalks under very particular conditions).