January is a tough month sometimes. The holidays are over. The weather isn't the greatest. (Although I've been happy to see some gray skies here--we really need the rain.) For me, personally, January brings up some difficult memories, though those are tempered by the fact that Brianna's birthday is at the end of the month (she's going to be 8--how did that happen?!). A number of years ago, my family decided that since January isn't always much fun, we'd rename it and make it our own. So now we celebrate McMahonuary. (My maiden name is McMahon--you know, like Ed McMahon; the h and o are silent.) We don't have any specific traditions, we just do little things for each other to make the month easier to get through. I got several texts at midnight on 1/1--not wishing me a happy new year, but a Happy McMahonuary! =) One of my sisters often sends me chocolates from home. Last year another sister got custom m&m's made for all of us. (Yes, they fit McMahonuary on an m&m.) Just little stuff.
One thing that always brightens my mood any time of year is yellow flowers, but it's a bit early for my favorites. Luckily, January is a great time for another yellow favorite of mine, lemons. This is prime time for all sorts of citrus. My favorite grocery store, Central Market, is even celebrating with Citrus Fest. I went to a class over the weekend and got to sample lots of desserts made with different types of citrus, demonstrated for us by the wonderful cookbook author and blogger David Lebovitz. (more to come on that later this week) That really put me in the mood for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Lemon Poppyseed Muffins, picked by Betsy of A Cup of Sweetness.
I love making muffins for breakfast, since they're easy enough for the girls to do a lot of the work. We had our usual division of labor--Gillian did dry ingredients, while Brianna handled the wet stuff. We started off with B rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar. I put it in a bowl with the flour, salt and leavenings and handed it over to G to whisk together. B is getting much better at cracking eggs--she did the whole thing by herself this time, with out breaking yolks or adding eggshell to the bowl. She whisked as I added the sour cream, melted butter, lemon juice and vanilla to the eggs. Then I took over for combining the wet and dry ingredients, which were quickly folded together with a rubber spatula. I scooped the batter into my muffin pan (prepped with baking spray with flour) and baked the muffins for 18 minutes. Once they were out of the oven, I whisked together lemon juice and powdered sugar and let the girls drizzle the glaze on top of the warm muffins. (B got to do most of them.)
The verdict? We all really enjoyed these. You may have noticed that we left out the poppy seeds--the girls made some interesting faces when they tasted them plain, and requested that we skip them. The lemon glaze really makes these muffins wonderful--nice and tangy. The muffins by themselves taste rather plain; they need the shot of fresh lemon in the glaze. They lasted all of two days around here. I definitely think we'll be making them again, and I want to try them with Dorie's suggestion of jam in the middle.
If you'd like to give these a try for yourself, head over to Betsy's blog for the recipe. And to see what everyone else thought, check out this week's Links.