These citrus-glazed poppy seed muffins are incredibly moist with the perfect balance of sweet flavors.
I have a slightly embarrassing secret. You know those big ol’ muffins in the bakery section of Costco, that suburban stanchion of society? They come in cellophane variety packs, or you can just buy a dozen behemoths of your favorite flavor? Those muffins? I have a huge crush on the poppy seed variety. It’s been years since I’ve actually eaten one…but true love lasts.
Whenever large groups of people get together for breakfast in the city, there are bagels. Whenever the same meeting takes place thirty miles west or east, there are Costco muffins. In high school, we occasionally went on weekend retreats or early morning field trips, and Costco muffins were guaranteed to make an appearance — and I was guaranteed to be in heaven. My family never shopped at Costco (to be fair, there were only four of us), so these moments of poppy seed magic were like stolen bits of heaven.
My obsession with poppy seed is maybe even stranger, considering Costco also makes chocolate muffins. And as the world knows, (if you’ve seen our Oreo Layer Cake or our Nutella Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies or our Rocky Mountain Chocolate Chip Cookies…) I’m alllllll about the chocolate. Yet it’s the poppy seed that stole my heart. Maybe it’s the fact that it seems more legitimately a muffin than the chocolate, and therefore I ate it with a wholly clear conscience? In spite of the fact that it’s sweet and luscious and basically a cupcake minus the frosting?
Whatever the reason, these super moist, slightly citrus-y homemade muffins remind me of the good old days of gobbling giant baked goods without a care. Now, as a slightly more responsible — or at least slower-metabolizing — individual, I bake them up either normal-sized or even mini. The mini versions are perfect for brunch get-togethers if you’re serving a few dishes, since guests can indulge in a muffin without totally filling up — something that would be impossible with the Costco originals.
At first glance, the ingredient list for these muffins seems a bit indulgent. But on second glance…it’s still indulgent. These are not “diet,” “skinny,” and certainly not “Whole 30 approved.” But they are amazingly good, and they generally make an appearance for special guests and special brunches. My philosophy? If you’re going to eat a muffin, make it a good one.
Don’t skip the glaze on these babies! I know, I know, the muffin’s sweet enough, it doesn’t need a topping – very true. BUT this glaze is more about moistness than sweetness. When you dip a still-warm muffin in the glaze, it soaks it right up, and the muffin top gets an incredible, melt-in-your-mouth texture – not to mention a beautiful sheen! And the glaze itself takes literally no time at all. Fine, it takes about two minutes. So go the distance.
The tiny bit of almond extract really puts the flavor over the top. It’s subtle, but makes a big difference in taste. Ross normally doesn’t care for almond extract, but even he agrees it’s perfect and mandatory in this recipe.
As always, I’ve experimented with freezing these muffins, and they hold up quite well. Of course, nothing beats a breakfast fresh out of the oven, but if you bake a batch and want to save a few, freezing will work just fine. You can even glaze before freezing without issue.
Without a doubt, these muffins have become my new favorite. Even if I were to eat a Costco muffin today, in all its carbalicous glory, it just couldn’t measure up to this homemade goodness.
Recipe adapted from All Recipes.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1½ cups milk (any variety wil do)
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons almond extract
- 2¼ cups sugar
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1½ tablespoons poppy seeds
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (optional)
- ¾ cups sugar
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 teaspoons butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk together the first five ingredients (eggs through almond extract). Then add the sugar and whisk some more. You’ll end up with a lovely pale yellow mix.
- Now in another bowl, whisk together the rest of the muffin ingredients (salt through poppy seeds/lemon zest if using).
- When well-combined, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir everything together gently with a spoon until it’s just blended. Too much mixing is bad. Some lumps are okay. Note that this batter will be pretty thin. I don’t know why. It just works.
- Spray your muffin tin with nonstick spray, or use paper liners. You can use a mini-muffin tin, regular size, or jumbo. Keep in mind your choice of pan will affect baking times.
- Fill your muffin tins about ¾ full of batter. Since the batter is so thin, I like to pour it into the tins from a large measuring cup.
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes for mini muffins, 15 minutes for regular sized muffins, and 20 minutes for jumbo. Muffins are done when a toothpick tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Let them sit in the pan for a minute, then remove to a wire rack.
- While the muffins are baking, make your glaze. Throw all the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and heat on the stove over medium heat. Stir it once in a while until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool while the muffins finish baking.
- When the muffins are cool enough to handle but still warm, dip the tops into the glaze, then set aside on a wire rack to finish cooling. It's a good idea to put a paper towel under the rack to catch any drips.
Recipe adapted from All Recipes.