These poppy seed muffins are enhanced with the flavor of almonds. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

These poppy seed muffins are enhanced with the flavor of almonds. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

The smell of almonds and early mornings

These almond poppy seed muffins are quick and easy to make and great for early mornings

My first day at my last bakery job was in early May. I woke up as the sky was just lightening, long before the lights were on in any of the other apartments in our building. I braided my hair back as tightly as I could and covered it in a buff to keep the flour out (a lesson I learned from a coworker at a previous bakery). I dressed in athletic clothing, packed my clogs in my backpack, and left before my husband’s alarm went off.

The bakery was just a few blocks away, across the street from Chilkoot Charlie’s in the heart of Spenard. The walk was chilly and heavily scented with the morning batch of bread at Franz. I was the second person to arrive, and I always would be, because my counterpart on the other side of the bakery was one of those “if you’re not early, you’re late” kind of people.

He needed to start the muffins straight away to get all his work done in time, and the first batch he made that day was the almond poppy seed. I could smell the moment he opened the lid on the giant bottle of almond extract — it filled the bakery and perfumed my cup of coffee while I planned my cookie batches for the day. It was so often his first batch, that now the smell of almonds always reminds me of early morning.

I woke up very early Saturday morning to prep food for our weekend trip and was inspired to bake some muffins for breakfast for our early morning car ride. I brought my cup of coffee to the counter and opened my tiny bottle of almond extract while I wrote my packing list and mentally prepared for our trip.

The silence of my kitchen reminded me of the tranquil moments before the giant mixers started their whirring and the relentless beeping of the oven timers began … thankfully, my home never gets that noisy.

These almond poppy seed muffins are quick and easy to make, great for early mornings.

Almond Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

¾ cup whole milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons almond extract

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. You can also generously grease the muffin tin if you prefer not to use liners, but I find that the liners make cleanup easier.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, brown sugar, poppy seeds and salt.

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and almond extract.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined, but do not overmix.

Portion out evenly into the cups, filling each just over halfway. You should have enough for 12 muffins.

Bake immediately for 20 minutes, rotating halfway if necessary.

Allow them to cool in the tin just until you can handle them enough to remove them.

Let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container. If you store them before they are totally cooled, condensation will make them soggy, so don’t be hasty.

Store at room temperature for up to a week.

More in Life

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: This and that

Organizations are running out of people to keep them going

This Al Hershberger photo of his good friend Hedley Parsons was taken in Germany in 1945, after World War II had ended. Parsons and Hershberger came to Alaska together a few years later, and in 2010, when Parsons was interviewed for this story, he may have been the last person living who had actually attended George Dudley’s messy funeral
This parting was not sweet sorrow — Part 2

The funeral was scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 5, and spring break-up was in full, sloppy bloom at the Kenai Cemetery

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
A copy of “People, Paths, and Places: The Frontier History of Moose Pass, Alaska” stands in sunlight in Soldotna on Friday.
Off the Shelf: Community history project a colorful portrait of hometown

The book features the work of students at Moose Pass School and integrates further stories pulled from a community newspaper

The Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra performs. (Photo courtesy Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra)
Anchorage orchestra group to visit Kenai Peninsula for 10th annual tour

Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra will play four shows from May 30 to June 2

File
Minister’s Message: Boasting only in Christ and the Cross

The Reverend Billy Graham advised every president since Truman during his lifetime

Corn cheese is served alongside grilled beef, kimchi and lettuce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Planning barbecue with all the bells and whistles

Expect kimchi, lots of side dishes, piles of rice, marinated meat for the flame and cold fruit for dessert

Noa (voiced by Owen Teague) in 20th Century Studios’ “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.” (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios)
On the Screen: New ‘Planet of the Apes’ expands, brings new ideas to franchise universe

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” tells a story that feels more rooted in fantasy than the post-apocalypse vibe of its predecessors

A mural depicting imagery and iconography of Kenai brightens the entryway of the Walmart in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Visible art raises people’s spirits’

Local artist’s mural introduced as part of Walmart renovations

Former North Kenai resident George Coe Dudley, seen here during the winter of 1950-51, was a hard-drinking man. His messy funeral in 1967 in Kenai echoed his lifestyle. (Photo courtesy of Al Hershberger)
This parting was not sweet sorrow — Part 1

“Dudley was an easy-going, laid-back sort of guy, always laughing and joking, as well as hard drinking.”

Most Read