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


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


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.