I was quite young when Seinfeld was on TV, but I distinctly remember the episode with Elaine and the muffin tops. I probably saw a re-run of it when I was a bit older, but I remember agreeing whole-heartedly with everything Elaine said about muffin tops, they’re most definitely the best part of a muffin. I always eat the ‘stump’ first so that I can savour every bite of the crunchy top. If a muffin doesn’t have that crunchy top, then it’s a failure of a muffin in my books. Harsh but true.
On my constant and perpetual search for more recipes to add to my ‘to make’ list I discovered a whole bunch of recipes for muffin tops. I also discovered that some resourceful companies had created specially-designed pans just for making muffin tops. I wonder if they were around in Elaine’s day. I’m sure they must’ve been, but I had never heard of them before. Either way, I didn’t want to have to buy more equipment to house in our tiny kitchen, so I went with this cookie recipe which uses good old baking trays.
These cookies may not have been made according to Elaine’s instructions (make the whole muffin, remove the stump), but they’re pretty true to their name. Moist and dense with a crunchy exterior just like a muffin top, but with a hint of cookie-ness in there to allow for easy preparation and baking.
I made two batches of these, one I slightly under-cooked and the other I slightly over-cooked (the pictures are of the over-cooked batch). I preferred the under-cooked batch, they were more like a muffin and less like a cookie, but the over-cooked batch were still pretty damn tasty. I’ve included instructions for both below, so you can have the perfect muffin tops to suit your tastes.
Lemon & Poppyseed Muffin Top Cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes + 1 hour chilling
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
115g butter, at room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
⅓ cup milk
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ a lemon
¼ cup poppyseeds
- In a medium bowl, combine plain flour, baking powder and salt and mix well. In a separate large bowl, cream butter and caster sugar with a wooden spoon or electric mixer, until pale and creamy. Beat in egg, then stir in milk, lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until just combined. Add poppyseeds and stir a few times to distribute evenly.
- Chill dough in fridge for about 1 hour. While dough is chilling, pre-heat oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
- When dough has chilled, remove from fridge. Scoop out 2-3 tbsp of dough and roll into a smooth ball, set on baking tray and repeat with remaining dough, leaving a 3cm gap between each cookie. Bake for approx. 15 minutes for a softer muffin top or 18-20 minutes for a drier, more cookie-like muffin top.
Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.