Baking for Friends: Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

It was difficult for me to pick a recipe to share with you from Kathleen King’s Baking for Friends. This book is chock-full of baking recipes. from cookies to scones to cakes, made by King, the owner of Tate’s Bake Shop in the Hamptons.

I decided on these muffins because I adore lemon-poppy seed muffins, but have never made them myself, and have not eaten one in years. They were every bit as tasty as I remembered. Moist, tart, sweet and awesome. Here they are for you to try as well.

PS – Tate’s is offering our readers $5 off an autographed copy of Baking for Friends. Just enter the code BAKEOFF at checkout.

Tate’s Bake Shop Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

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Honey Poblano Chicken Tacos

These tacos are something crazy delicious. Shredded chicken, sweet and malty buckwheat honey, spicy roasted poblano peppers and melty gouda cheese, all shoved into a crispy, freshly fried corn tortilla. These were so tasty I ate them for dinner. Then I woke up and made a few more for breakfast. And I’m still thinking about them.

I gave time-saving alternative ingredients if you’re strapped for time, but I must insist that you fry your own tortillas. Do not buy the hard shell tacos and use those; they are light years away from the awesomeness of a freshly fried corn tortilla. Let’s get down to business:

Honey Poblano Chicken Tacos

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Honeyed Almond Blackberry Pinenut Tart

You know, I consider myself to be a pretty lucky lady. Not win-the-lottery lucky, but my life is pretty good. Maybe it’s the holidays making me soft, but I’m really feeling my luck lately. I’m lucky in love. I’m lucky to have a job that I enjoy, I’m lucky that my children are healthy (even if they are terribly mischievous), and I’m lucky that I get to share my recipes with all of you. One of the perks of the latter is getting to try new and different products in my recipes. I received a sample set of honey from bee raw honey, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. The first thing I made was one of these tarts. I made one again the next day, and one the day after that. It has been thoroughly tested, and deliciousness is guaranteed. You’ll feel pretty lucky too, after you eat one.

Honeyed Almond Blackberry Pinenut Tart

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So Simple: The Coffee Sugar Solution

I’m not usually one to add sugar to my coffee, but every once in a while I bring a roast home that could use a little sugar to help cover up the burnt taste of the over-roasted beans. I’m always annoyed by the multiple dirty spoons from stirring in sugar to each individual cup by time I finish out a pot of coffee. Today it hit me (and I’m sure I’m not the first one to think of this): Add the sugar to the coffee while it’s steeping. I wouldn’t recommend this in an automatic coffee maker, but works perfectly in a French press. I made a simple syrup (1 part water + 1 part sugar stirred over medium low heat until the sugar is dissolved) and added it to the French press when I poured in the hot water. I had a perfectly sweetened pot of coffee. I added 3 tablespoons of simple syrup to a 32 oz french press of coffee. Start there and tweak it to your tastes.

Lemon Green Tea Cookie Sandwiches

Matcha is one of those things that most people either love or barf up. It’s strong, pungent, and unmistakeable. I love it on its own, I extra-love it paired with sweet lemon.¬† I had the opportunity to try a couple matcha samples from Rare Tea Republic, and I couldn’t help but make frosting out of it. The tea lends the most spectacular green color to the buttercream. And this is a flavor combo you won’t soon forget (whether you’re loving it or barfing it up).

Lemon Green Tea Cookie Sandwiches

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White Chocolate, Ginger & Cranberry Scones

Buttery, sweet, and tart. These scones are a nice way to kick off a cold morning. You can make these ahead and freeze them for up to a month, making it a snap to have a warm breakfast.

You can swap out the trio of add-ins with just about anything in the same amount. Try pecans, chocolate chips, and caramel bits. Or chopped dried apricots, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon chips.

White  Chocolate, Ginger & Cranberry Scones

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Trash to Treasure: Apple Peel Roses

It’s the season of apples. Pies, tarts, oatmeal, cider, cake. Magazine and food blogs are chock-full of apple recipes. But what about the peels?

These simple apple peel roses can be brushed with lemon juice (to keep them from browning) and used as a centerpiece at dinner.

Or they can be brushed with butter, sprinkled with brown sugar, and baked to top a cake or cheesecake:

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