American Classics: Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Muffins

Alexandra Penfold

My relationship with Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins goes back to childhood and will be forever linked to my younger brother who in his "no salad!" days was a bit of a difficult eater. His diet consisted mainly of peanut butter, pizza, and French fries. One of his favorite treats were mini Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (or "Seedame Muffins" as he liked to call them) that my mom would pick up at our local grocery store. Since my mother was deeply concerned about my brother falling off the growth chart, Seedamee Muffins made fairly regular appearances in our home.

Now, I'm pro-Lemon Poppy Seed in theory, but in practice, I find the muffins tend to be overly sweet and unnaturally moist. I wanted a Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin that was lemony without being fakey fake.

Coming to New York for college, I discovered that Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are a deli staple. Visit your corner bodega or morning coffee cart and you're bound to find lemon and poppy seed in cake or loaf form alongside those ubiquitous blue and white Greek coffee cups. It was here that I was first introduced to yogurt muffins and my inspiration for these homemade "Seedamees" that combine thick and tangy Greek yogurt with lemon juice, lemon zest and lemon extract for a tangy breakfast time treat that even my brother, who's developed a more sophisticated palate in the intervening decades, will definitely enjoy.

Got a favorite classic American dessert recipe you'd like to see featured here? Email us with the subject: "American Classics."