Eating well on a road trip is a whole lot easier than it was before iPhones. When my husband and I drove across the country from New York City to Silicon Valley in 2001, I mapped out our route every night using our fold-out paper maps and diligently cross-referenced them with my dog-eared copy of Roadfood, which was then the ultimate food guide for road warriors in America.
We ate well on that trip – pizza in Chicago, barbecue in Kansas City, fried chicken in Oklahoma City – but it took real planning. Now I can look up a good local restaurant on Yelp while we wait for the stoplight to turn green.
We took an overnight trip from Columbus, Ohio to Nashville this past Christmas to visit friends. We stopped in Kentucky midway for a quick lunch in Louisville, and after scanning a wealth of options (I need to go back!), we opted for an efficient and tasty visit to Wild Eggs, a Louisville brunch spot so popular that it is now quickly expanding into nearby cities and states.
We split a Southwestern-themed Benedict, with green chili corn cakes in place of English muffins, and a side of cheesy grits with sausage. The kitchen generously split the Benedict in two, giving us each full servings of potatoes and a golden muffin dotted with poppy seeds.
Poppy seeds made me think lemon, so when I broke the warm muffin open and took a bite I was surprised to find the deliciously moist muffin subversively savory instead. It was less like an everything bagel and more like a soft, savory scone. I’ve been wanting to make it since.
My simple version is probably not as rich or complex as the Wild Eggs one. But at a restaurant I’m just eating one; at home I’m making (and maybe eating) a whole batch. And to me an easy recipe is the difference between actually cooking and saying to heck with it.
Funny that it only takes poppy seeds and a bit of dried onion to make a plain sweet muffin into an unexpectedly savory one. You could go whole hog and add sesame seeds and dried garlic too, but I like the subtlety of the Wild Eggs muffin, which unlike an everything bagel doesn’t stick with you all day.
This is so fast to make. Wet ingredients into dry. Muffins don’t like to be overmixed.
It’s a thick, sticky batter.
Pros say you can generate more lift in your muffins if you start them at 400 degrees F and finish at a lower temperature. I’ve accidentally over-browned too many baked goods in hot ovens, so I prefer a temperature that gives me a little more wiggle room, even if it means less-than-maximum height.
I try to take the muffins out of the oven as soon as they are done. It’s too easy with muffins to over-bake into a hard crust and dry center.
A little sweet, a little savory, with a pleasing crunch of poppy seeds. Something different for brunch, or a fun dinner roll alternative, or a quick portable breakfast.
It’s a rare muffin that appeals more to adults than kids.
Which leaves more tender, savory goodness for us.
I love these not-too-sweet muffins, inspired by the everything muffin served at Wild Eggs in Louisville. Less like an everything bagel and more like a soft, savory scone, they are a subtly subversive delight for brunch or even dinner.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (OR 3/4 teaspoon table salt OR 1 teaspoon Morton’s kosher salt)
- 1/3 cup neutral-tasting oil or melted butter
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Use butter, oil or nonstick cooking spray to grease 9 cups of a muffin/cupcake pan.
- In a mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, poppy seeds, onion and salt.
- In a small bowl or mixing cup, add oil, milk and egg, and use a fork mix until egg is well combined.
- Pour liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined (don’t overmix). Use a spatula to make sure dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl get mixed in. Batter will be thick and sticky.
- Spoon the batter evenly into the 9 greased muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake about 15 minutes, until muffins are slightly golden on top and spring back to the touch (or test with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean). Gently pop the muffins out of the pan with a table knife or the small end of a chopstick (bamboo is gentler on a nonstick pan). Serve immediately.
- For a lighter, bouncier muffin texture, use 2/3 cup milk. This will give you a smooth-topped, more cupcake-like muffin instead of the textured top and denser crumb of this scone-ish one.
- If you don’t have dried onion flakes, substitute 3 tablespoons of finely minced fresh onion.
- I love buttermilk in baked goods, which gives a little boost in flavor and moistness. If you have buttermilk or plain yogurt on hand, try making these two substitutions: 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder plus 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (instead of 2 teaspoons baking powder) and 1/2 cup buttermilk, OR 1/4 cup plain yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup milk (instead of 1/3 cup regular milk).
- Pros say you can eke out more lift in your muffins if you start them at 400 degrees F and finish at a lower temperature. I’ve accidentally over-browned too many baked goods in hot ovens, so I prefer a temperature that gives me a little more wiggle room.
- The Wild Eggs muffin is very subtle compared to an everything bagel. For a more intense experience, you could add sesame seeds and dried garlic flakes in addition to the poppy and onion.
Here’s the link to a printable version