Monday, October 20, 2008

Orange Berry Muffins and Mental Gymnastics

Baking for me is always a balancing act, and I'm not talking about getting the recipe or the oven temperature right. The balancing act is all in my mind. On the one hand, I hear the constant refrain of: should I really make this? / do I want the calories? / who is going to eat it? On the other: it looks so good! / I so love baking! / It has to be healthier than bought baked goods! (oh yes, dear readers, I used to be in spin). And a new justification has now appeared since I am doing this blog: the pictures will look so pretty on my page!

These muffins didn't really need that much mental gymnastics to get me to make them. Store-bought muffins around here tend to be the size of a small planet and taste like Play-doh. I am never tempted to buy one. It is a sad fact that if you want a decent muffin, you really need to make it yourself. I spotted this recipe in my Dorie Greenspan cookbook ("Cooking From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan), and was immediately entranced by the addition of orange flavours to the blueberry muffin batter. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Dorie, in the blog world, she is the queen of baking. A group called "Tuesdays With Dorie" is working their way through her cookbook; I love keeping an eye on what they have been up to. Meanwhile she has her own blog about her life in Paris and the US (here) that is completely charming. And in case you were wondering about the muffins: light and fluffy and beautifully flavoured, the orange definitely adds something special.

Orange Berry Muffins
from "Baking From My Home To Yours" by Dorie Greenspan

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
About 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons honey
8 tbls unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 200C. Fit a 12 hole muffin tin with paper muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

Pour the orange juice into a large glass measuring cup and pour in enough buttermilk to make 1 cup. Whisk in the eggs, honey and melted butter. In a large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of orange strong (the more you rub the more orange oil is released from the zest). Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough - the batter will be lumpy and bubbly, and that’s just the way it should be. Stir in the blueberries.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. When fully baked, the tops of the muffins will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins will come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.


Patty said...

Hi. this looks delicious....I think even my youngest (who will eat nothing that resembles a fruit or anything that might contain a fruit) will love them.


Lisbeth said...

Suzie, what a coincidence that you visited our blog just when we had photos from Denmark since it doesn't happen often - and might even be a first since we started blogging. Perfect timing for the danish comment :)
My friend who lived in Sydney for a while just loved your apricot danishes so based solely on her, I don't think Danish expats are too concerned with the state of the Aussie danishes.

Prudy said...

I made these a couple of weeks ago with cranberries. I think this has to be my favorite muffin recipe. Oh, I can absolutely relate with the mental gymnastics. The blog provides the motivation to bake more than ever before, but the effect can be a little frightening. I'm just grateful that the holidays are coming so I can bake and give away.

Lisbeth said...

Also, thanks a lot for the link to Dorie Greenspan's blog - I had no idea that she herself (and not just the Tuesdays with Dorie)was to be found in the blogosphere.