Mini muffins always seem like slightly more fun to bake than regular muffins. This is mostly because these bite-sized baked goods are so cute, but it is also because these little muffins can pack a lot of flavor into just one or two mouthfuls. These Mini Citrus Poppy Seed Muffins are a miniature version of the ever-popular lemon poppy seed muffin, but kicked up with the flavor of both orange and lemon.
The batter for these muffins is very easy to put together and mixes up in just a few minutes. They’re moist and fluffy inside, with a lot of flavor. The key to getting a good flavor in the muffins is to use fresh lemon and orange juice, and fresh lemon and orange zest. When you get all that zest and juice together, you end up with a muffin that tastes a lot bigger than it looks. The muffins are packed with poppy seeds and get a little crunch from them. They also have a slightly crunchy top, thanks to a generous sprinkling of coarse sugar that I added to each one before baking.
This recipe bakes a big batch of mini muffins – three dozen, to be exact. That may seem like a lot of mini muffins, but keep in mind that these little guys are only about two bites each. It’s not difficult to munch your way through a batch of these, and extra muffins can be frozen and defrosted for later snacking. It’s also a perfect recipe to bake up when having a big brunch or other get-together. I have big mini muffin pans that can handle up to three dozen at a time, but if you only have one or two smaller pans, you should know that it is fine for the batter to sit in the bowl while you bake them one batch at a time.
I typically use canola oil when baking, as it has a very neutral flavor, and works with all kinds of different flavors. These muffins, however, work particularly well with extra virgin olive oil and I often use it when baking up a batch of these. Olive oil has a slightly savory, fruity quality to it that balances – and even enhances – the citrus in this muffin very well. Citrus-infused olive oil can be even better, if you have something like that in your pantry. Otherwise, regular canola or vegetable oil will turn out excellent results and very tasty muffins.
Mini Citrus Poppy Seed Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
1/3 cup orange juice*
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp orange zest
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp poppy seeds
coarse sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 36 mini muffin cups with vegetable oil or cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, egg, vanilla extract, citrus zests and poppy seeds. Add in flour mixture and whisk until batter comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full (there may be a small amount of batter leftover, enough for one or two extra mini muffins). Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until muffins are set and spring back when lightly pressed. Allow to cool in the pan for 2-3 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 3 dozen mini muffins.
*Note: You can use all orange or all lemon juice in the recipe for a muffin that uses just one type of citrus, too!