Friday, January 27, 2012

I'm On a Lemon Kick!

So my hubby and I went grocery shopping yesterday. I'm probably the weirdest person you'll ever know. I absolutely love grocery shopping! I know, I'm a nerd. Anyways, back to my story. We passed by the produce section, and these beautiful, shiny, bright yellow lemons caught my eye. I'm a sucker for yellow, lemons especially. I bought two.

Don't you just love the smell of fresh lemons? So fresh, so soothing. And my hands smell so wonderful for hours after handling a freshly cut lemon. It always makes me smile.

I have so many fantastic recipes that call for lemons, and I was excited to test one or two out. I thought of maybe baking myself some lemon bars, to knock that off of my "To-Bake" list, but I'm just not really feeling like bars today. Perhaps a lemon meringue pie, since I always end up with too much meringue left over and I could make that into some cookies. But I didn't want to hang out in front of the oven for more than half an hour. And lemon meringue is actually a lot of work. I'm not sure who said "easy as pie", but they're incorrect! But enough of my ramblings.

There's this petite cafe close to my house that is absolutely charming. It's called Rex's. It feels so cozy and welcoming inside, and I just love a homey atmosphere for eating breakfast. Or lunch. Oh, did I mention? The walls are yellow. Yeah, I'm in love with yellow. The food is fantastic, as well, don't get me wrong. The food and the atmosphere are what keep me coming back! Offered on the menu is stuffed french toast. So great! And of course, their muffins are to die for! Pumpkin raisin, orange muffins with actual bits of orange, and one of my favorites. Lemon poppy seed. I wanted to channel my inner Rex's baker, so today, I'm making lemon poppy bread! Here goes!

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

For the Bread:

3 cups flour
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 eggs
2 tablespoons lemon zest

For the Glaze:

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine together in a small bowl the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt.

I love this black and white contrast of the flour and poppy seeds! 

Now, cream the butter and sugar together. I always stick my butter in the microwave for about 15 seconds, just so it's easier to work with.

Add the milk, lemon juice, eggs and lemon zest. I like adding my wet ingredients one at a time, mixing in between each new addition.

Mix in the flour and poppy seed mix, stirring until it's just moistened.

Pour it into a slightly greased loaf pan. At first, I wanted to do muffins again, to better emulate my favorite cafe. But the batter was super thick, and I chickened out. Try it out, if you like.

Bake for 1 hour, then allow it to cool for 10 minutes. My bread wasn't done at just one hour, so I let it cook for 10 minutes more. The batter still clung to the toothpick I inserted.

While you're waiting for the bread to cool, start preparing the glaze. That's easy. You mix all the listed ingredients, then pour it over the top.

I like to whisk my glazes with a fork. I feel like, for smaller portions, like this glaze, a fork works better than a whisk. Plus it's pretty thick stuff.

I felt like my glaze was a touch too thick, so I added just a couple more squeezes of juice. It's fantastic! The glaze is truly what makes this bread so fantastic. I tasted the batter before I popped it into the oven, and I was worried because there wasn't too much flavor to be had. Thank goodness for this AMAZING glaze!

I discovered yesterday, as I was mulling over the idea of lemon poppy seed bread, that my husband very strongly dislikes poppy seeds. More so than raisins, because he'll actually eat raisins if they're in trail mix. Lucky me! I get this all to myself. Until my mom comes by for a "visit". By visit, I mean a "What'd you bake, Ariel?" visit. Then she'll make out like a bandit, since there will inevitably be more to share. But I really do love giving away what I make. When I made all the banana muffins, I took most of them to the aquarium I volunteer at to share, and they were all devoured within minutes. So, go enjoy baking this delicious snack, and let me know how yours turns out!

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