I had serious doubts about these muffins. For one, I don’t even LIKE Earl Grey tea (despite the Captain Picard connection), plus I thought they seemed a little off when I was scooping the batter into the muffin tin. I’d mucked around with the recipe without even a trial run, which is not a good baking process. I was worried about the texture. I was worried about the smell, and therefore the flavor. I was a muffin worrier.
I needn’t have worried. These muffins are so good, so perfect, that I looked forward to waking up this morning so I could eat another one. (And when I say another one, I mean another one in addition to the two I’d had after dinner the night before.)
The texture I was so worried about ended up being part of what makes them so magnificent. They’re just … soft. Beautifully soft.
The flavor? I boosted the bergamot in the tea with Meyer lemons, using more zest than the recipe specified, and adding in a little juice as well. The smell that concerned me was, I think, the baking powder, because it calls for a full tablespoon, and in the batter that smelled stronger than the lemon, but once they were baked, that problem disappeared.
MEYER LEMON EARL GREY TEA MUFFINS
(adapted from Serious Eats)
1 cup 1% milk
3 Earl Grey teabags
1 1/3 cups whole wheat white flour
2/3 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons low fat vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon Meyer lemon juice
1 egg, lightly beaten
Heat oven to 400 degrees, and prep a 12-cup muffin tin.
Pour milk into a saucepan and heat on medium low until hot, just shy of bubbling. Add the tea bags, swirling them around gently, then remove from heat and cover. Let steep for 20 minutes. Check to make sure the milk stays warm; if it cools off too much, gently warm again just before using, with the heat on low.
Melt the butter, so it’s cool by the time the tea milk is ready.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat germ, cane sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and nutmeg.
Beat the egg (lightly). Add the tea milk, the butter, the yogurt, and the lemon juice, and mix well.
Pour the liquid mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and mix just enough to incorporate. Pour batter into muffin cups, distributing as easily as possible.
Bake at 400 for 5 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 and bake for another 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack.