lemon poppyseed olive oil muffins

In my experience, muffins have the ability to be really really bad or really really good. The ratio of bad to good muffins in this world is something depressing, like 2:1, and their lack of nutritional value doesn’t ever work in their favor too. Like, if you’re going to eat that much junk for breakfast, why not go all the way, add a little more sugar and have a slice of cake, you know? I mostly avoid the risk of eating muffins except for when it comes to two equal and opposite specimens: the mini lemon poppyseed kind that come in clear plastic packages in the bakery section of the grocery store that I would devour by the dozen as a wee one, and the large triumphant muffins from Blue Sky Bakery in Park Slope which will be the last remaining muffins on earth once everyone realizes that most muffins blow hard. Both of these muffins transcend the universal muffin problem of what to do with the muffin bottom once you’ve ripped off, buttered, and eaten the lesser evil muffin top, for the grocery store lemon poppyseed muffin’s homogenous squishy texture from the outside in makes the top no different from the bottom, and Blue Sky’s oft filled muffin bottoms read like moist sour cream coffee cakes. 

And here’s a third muffin option that combines my lifelong love for lemon poppyseed with my tendency to root for the underdog: it’s a topless muffin. A stubby breakfast cake that’s moistened with olive oil, beefed up with almond meal, and is as good as a muffin top. It works because parchment muffin liners are nary seen in this recipe, therefore allowing the outer edges of the muffin to get caramelized and crusty, just like a top would be. So it’s kind of like this whole thing is a muffin top with a shape that’s easier to grab onto. And are they kind of just an unfrosted mini cake in disguise as a more socially accepted breakfast food? Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly what they are.

Jumbo muffin tins (7.1 ounce capacity) make these muffins the perfect size. (I don’t recommend making them in standard cupcake tins, as the small size doesn’t allow for the full effect. In a pinch, using a 9” cake pan will work, but plan for more baking time.) These muffins are just as good the next day so add these to your list of brunch things that can be made ahead of time. Serve them with a light dusting of powdered sugar, and perhaps some yogurt and berries for a sweet simple breakfast.

lemon poppyseed olive oil muffins

makes 12 jumbo muffins


1 1/2 c sugar

2 c flour

3/4 c almond meal

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

4 tsp poppy seeds

4 tsp lemon zest

3 eggs

1 1/2 c olive oil

1/4 c lemon juice

3/4 c whole milk

1 tsp almond extract

Powdered sugar, for serving


preheat the oven to 350ºF. coat 12 jumbo nonstick muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside.

in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, almond meal, salt, baking soda, baking powder, poppy seeds, and lemon zest. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, lemon juice, milk, and almond extract. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. distribute the batter evenly amongst the muffin tins and bake until the edges are deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 28 minutes. 

cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. run a small offset spatula around the edges and remove to the rack. serve warm or cool completely and then serve. dust with powdered sugar before serving.


apple & honey muffins

alright so as of right now, my rosh hashanah menu consists of:


more challah


and these apple and honey muffins (when i imagined myself getting all sticky from balancing a jar of honey and slicing an apple in the cramped little cab of a tractor, i got all squirmy...)

do i need to have a vegetable? i should probably have a vegetable. who has easily transportable autumn-y vegetable recipe suggestions??

and maybe i'll try to stuff some matzo balls down the nozzle of our big tall thermos.

i've never been the biggest fan of honey cake. either that, or by the time dessert rolls around i'm just so stuffed with brisket and challah that i could give zero shits about what the dessert table looks like. guilt came over me this year though when i realized that i've been treating a cake--a cake!--with such little love and respect. so i fiddled with it, failed a bunch, read five thousand recipes, pulled knowledge that i learned from my homemade funfetti® process, and came up with a honey cake that i am proud to call a friend.

this is a no-pressure, low-commitment honey cake that is actually a muffin, so you can get away with eating it at breakfast, lunch, or whenever you want. you do not need to wait until after brisket. you can load the sucker up with cream cheese, yogurt, buttercream, or any other dairy product of your affection and be 100% kosher about it. and you can even toss it around a tractor as your fiancé chisel plows and you let your challah digest. the texture is on the pleasingly denser side and the honey doesn't overpower. apples keep it *moist* and just a teensy bit of whiskey in the batter adds a yummy little zing while leaving you more than enough to sip on while you celebrate. 

apple + honey muffins

makes 12-16


2 c all-purpose flour

1 c sugar

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

a pinch of cardamom

2 large eggs

1/3 c vegetable oil

1/2 c honey

2 tb whiskey

1/4 c hot coffee

1 large apple, chopped


preheat oven to 350, and line and grease a muffin tin. 

in a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients. in a large bowl, combine eggs, oil, honey, and whiskey. whisk in the dry ingredients and then whisk in the coffee. fold in the chopped apple and then scoop into your muffin tin.

bake until golden brown and a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at about 20 minutes.

let cool and enjoy!

i like sprinkling them with powdered sugar or plopping a nice blob of yogurt on top. 



ingredients for this recipe were provided by minnesota grown, which makes it easier for minnesota ladies (like me!) and gents to support their local farmers! thanks, minnesota grown!!!

p.s. the winner of last week's giveaway has been notified! 

friday links + a giveaway winner

i made my first foray into the worlds of baked donuts, donut muffins, and gluten free donuts all at the same time yesterday, thanks to ashley and her kickass donut (!!!) book. pictured are some mini donut muffins of the matcha and raspberry glazed variety. next i am going to try her everything bagel donuts. (i know!)  

we had this gnocchi for dinner the other night and it was the tops.

i want to eat all of the british sweets and giggle all day at that eton mess comic.

i've been assembling recipes to make once the little patch of rhubarb in my backyard is fully grown, and i can't hardly wait! i am going to make coffee cake and tarts and datschi and so much more, it's going to be a rhubarb party and only rue and people named barb are invited.

eggboy and i read this article about saturated fat and then went out for bunless burgers about it.

me in bread form is a finalist for food52's best scallion recipe!

an interview in which sarah copeland recommends befriending a farmer. hehe.

bang on a can on arthur: everything. 

while gathering my summer reading list, i was sad to read a not-so-good review of ruth reichl's novel but so very excited to read this one of molly wizenberg's new book!

omg hello kitty airline meals

what is that emoji called with the little red hearts as eyes? that is me when i look at this.

have a good weekend, everyone!!!

oh! and a giveaway winner!! the winner of last week's meat n nuts giveaway is... miss charity! yay, charity! please send me an email with your mailing address :) yeh.molly@gmail.com



there is really no such thing as too much halvah and i have proven it.

when i was in israel, i helped cook dinner for an entire israeli army base. i was on dessert duty, and my friend rochelle, a dessert goddess, directed us in making the most amazing halvah bread pudding. this resulted in me unwrapping and "quality controlling" hundreds of bars of halvah. i ate halvah ad infinitum that day, and while it should have made me sick to my tummy and not want to see another sesame seed again, it just made me want more and more and more.

so more i had and sick i nary got and here i am in north dakota with a brick of pistachio halvah that i got in fargo and it would all be in my belly right now had i not taken action to distribute it amongst some muffins.

yesterday i was asked what halvah was (!!). i thought and i thought and came up with a definition: sorta kinda like butterfinger innards but a bit more moist and instead of peanuts it is made with sesame seeds... and it is fantastically good. i should also mention though that the halvah i've had in the states is slightly flakier than the halvah i had in israel. the halvah that i had in israel was more like the innards of a firm three musketeers bar. both are good, both are addictive.

these muffins that i made yesterday are inspired by a recipe for peanut butter muffins, but instead of peanut butter, i used tahini (which we all know is just a more couth version of peanut butter). i got verklempt when i had to choose my muffin papers... so i just used a few of each and found that the different materials yielded drastically different textures. the muffins in the striped paper cups were suuuuper moist and gooey while the others were drier and more dense. i preferred the former but the latter were more muffiny, so to speak. 

whole wheat tahini muffins with pistachio halvah  

makes 6-8 muffins  


1 c whole wheat flour

1 c all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2/3 c tahini*

2 tb vegetable shortening (or butter) 

1/4 c brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling

2 large eggs

1 c coconut milk (or cow milk or almond milk) 

3/4 c pistachio halvah "chips" (halvah cut up the size of chocolate chips) 

1/2 c crumbled halvah

*avoid using the oil that separates to the top of the jar by pouring it out into a small bowl before you measure out the tahini. after you've measured your tahini, pour the oil back into the jar because runny tahini is good for other purposes.  


preheat oven to 375. prepare muffin tins and set aside. 

combine flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. set aside.

in a bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the tahini, shortening, and brown sugar until fluffy. beat in eggs one at a time, and then the milk. add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. fold in the halvah chips. 

scoop into muffin tins, about 3/4 full. sprinkle each with a few pinches of brown sugar and crumbled halvah. bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly dry.