I love the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins from Vegan Brunch. I may have only made them once before today, but that one time was enough – I was sold at the very first bite. These muffins wowed my family; my omni dad in particular raved about them for days. Although he’s nothing but supportive of my vegan ways, I know that he was slightly wary of vegan baking for a while. But these muffins totally destroyed that wariness. In fact, they pretty much crushed it into tiny crumbs of lemony, poppy seedy deliciousness. So when my friend and I made a Saturday morning tea date, I thought I’d whip out the ol’ recipe and make up another batch of these delightful nuggets of tastiness.
These came together without a hitch. In an amazing feat of preparedness, I set out my ingredients last night, so everything was at my fingertips this morning. The batter came together quickly and tasted divine. I even managed a quick shower while my muffins were baking. I thought nothing could go wrong, especially when I saw how wonderful my muffins looked after I removed them from the oven.
But the best laid plans of mice and men… sometimes yield tough, slightly overcooked muffins. I was SO disappointed when I broke one of these guys in half and noticed that the crumbs weren’t as moist or tender as I’d remembered. A taste test revealed the sad truth – they were overdone.
Now, I know that it’s not exactly difficult to mess up muffins; either over-mixing the batter or overcooking the muffins can lead to unfortunate results. But I definitely did not over-mix this batch; I stirred until the wet and dry ingredients were just combined and then promptly removed my spoon from the batter. So the fatal error must have occurred in the oven. And that really grinds my gears, because I always set my timer for less than the recommended baking time. I know my oven, and I’d rather have undercooked than overcooked baked goods – you can always put ’em in for another minute, but you can’t take away baking time! For these puppies, I set the timer for 22 minutes. Isa recommends 23 – 27 minutes of baking time, and I assumed 22 would be the perfect time to check them and judge whether or not they needed another minute or two. I also remembered that the first batch I made could’ve used another minute, so I thought I was all set.
Obviously I wasn’t. When the timer sounded and I opened my oven, I was alarmed to see that the tops of my muffins had already browned. When my handy muffin-testing toothpick came out clean, I pulled that pan out of the oven quicker than you can say Isa Chandra. At that point I thought they were probably fine, but… I was wrong. Sigh.
In the grand scheme of failed baked goods, these muffins are really not that bad. The average taster probably wouldn’t even think to comment on their slight toughness; in fact, my friend and my brother said they were perfectly fine. But since my point of comparison was pretty much a perfect batch, I’m judging these guys rather harshly. They don’t have the lovely, moist crumb I remember so fondly, and the lemon flavor is a little lost beneath the toughness, but those really aren’t dealbreakers. It just bothers me that I couldn’t replicate my initial success. I think that next time I make them, I’ll use a 350˚ oven instead of the 375˚ recommended, just so I can better control the baking process.
In the meantime, I’ll just have to “suffer” my way through a batch of slightly overcooked Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins… ahh, the difficult life of a vegan baker!