Muffin Monday: Lemon-Squash Poppy Seed Muffins

There's something about a lemon muffin that makes me want to make a hot cup of tea and sit by my garden. If that muffin happens to be a lemon poppy seed one, all the better. And if it's made with grated yellow squash, I know it's going to be a moist, tender muffin too!

Like grated zucchini, other summer squash help make baked good moist and keep them so during storage. I like using yellow squash for something like lemon muffins because they help the final result stay true to the bright yellow color we've come to know and expect from lemon ... well, everything. For this recipe, you can grate the squash several days in advance and store it wrapped in paper towels and then plastic. Simply squeeze the excess liquid out of it before adding it to the batter.

Do not skip the glaze on these muffins. While tangy on their own, the simple glaze of fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar makes these muffins really pop. Make sure you let them stand uncovered while the glaze dries. After it's dry, they can be stored in a resealable plastic container at room temperature for a couple of days, about 10 days in the refrigerator, and up to 4 months in the freezer. These muffins are best thawed by allowing them to rest on the counter for a couple of hours before serving. Microwaving tends to melt the glaze.

These muffins would be a great addition to any brunch buffet or a lovely gentle beginning to the day with coffee. One of my favorite ways to enjoy them, as mentioned above, is to pair them with a cup of tea and enjoy them in a lovely outdoor spot. Watch a butterfly float by, some flowers sway in the breeze, or the clouds paint the yard with shadows. Summer's turning out great!

Lemon-Squash Poppy Seed Muffins

  • 1 pound yellow squash (2-3 medium)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • Zest from 2 lemons (about 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoons lemon extract
  • ½ cup poppy seeds
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.

Coarsely grate the squash and spread it in an even layer on a paper towel and cover the top with another paper towel. Press gently to absorb the liquid. Allow the squash to rest while you mix the batter.

While the squash rests, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl; whisk to combine. Add the sugar to the dry mixture; toss to incorporate. In another bowl, whisk together the oil and eggs. Stir in the drained, grated squash and lemon zest into the wet ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once and stir just until combined. Fold the poppy seeds into the batter.

Use a 2 ounce ice cream scooper to scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Bake the muffins until they spring back when lightly pressed in the middle, 12-15 minutes. While the muffins bake, combine the fresh lemon juice and confectioner's sugar to make a glaze.

Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes before brushing them lightly with the glaze. The glaze will set as the muffins cool.

  • Yields: 12 muffins
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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