orange you relaxed?

by hungryrabbit on April 22, 2011

Orange Muffins

As I have mentioned in the previous post, I used to associate Easter with an annual extravagant buffet luncheon with the family in Hong Kong. Now, after living in New York for years, I equate Easter with the parade of outrageous hats and relaxing breakfast/brunch with either just M or with friends. There’s something magical about a homemade brunch. No matter what the season or weather, the mood is always relaxed (once the cook is out of the kitchen).

Back in the days when my cooking skills were just adequate, the gatherings seemed to be more frequent. The act of getting together definitely trumped culinary execution. Now that food plays a more significant role, the focus on menu planning seems to take over the spontaneity of the social aspects.( It could also be the fact that I am getting lazy and just want to lounge around on Sunday morning.)

Even so, having the time to make something nice for myself and love ones is what I really enjoy. I realize I have not made muffins for quite a while. So for A special Easter weekend of relaxation and comfort, I will make these Orange Muffins studded with apricots. The fruit adds it’s own depth in addition to the citrus it’s absorbed from the orange juice. The fragrance of these sugar crusted Orange Muffins will evoke a sense of cozy comfort that is perfect for a Sunday morning.


Orange Muffins w Sugar Crust

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
make 10-12 muffins

1/3 cup granulated sugar,
1 teaspoons orange zest, grated

3/4 cup dried apricots (5 ounces)
1/3 cup orange juice

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
1/2 cup fine-ground, whole-grain yellow cornmeal (2-1/4 ounces)
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar (1 ounce)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
6 tablespoons sour cream (3 ounces)
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoons orange zest, grated

1. In food processor, process 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoons grated orange zest until pale orange, about 10 seconds. Transfer to small bowl and set aside.

2. In food processor, pulse dried apricots for ten 2-second pulses, until chopped fine. Transfer to medium microwave-safe bowl; add orange juice to apricots, cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until simmering, about 1 minute. Let apricots stand, covered, until softened and plump, about 5 minutes. Strain apricots; discard juice.

3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

4. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to combine; set aside. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl until well combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add granulated and dark brown sugar to eggs; whisk vigorously until thick and homogenous, about 30 seconds; add melted butter in 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition. Add half the sour cream and half the milk and whisk to combine; whisk in remaining sour cream and milk until combined. Stir remaining orange zest and strained apricots into wet ingredients.

5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; mix gently with rubber spatula until batter is just combined and evenly moistened. Do not over-mix. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, dropping it to form mound. Sprinkle a portion of orange sugar over each mound of batter. Do not level or flatten surface of mounds.

6. Bake until muffins are light golden brown and skewer inserted into center of muffins comes out clean, about 18 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in tin 5 minutes; do not invert baked muffins; use a paring knife to lift muffins from tin one at a time and transfer to wire rack. Cool muffins 5 minutes longer; serve warm.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Maris (In Good Taste) April 22, 2011 at 7:04 am

These look wonderful. I love the crumbly topping! Happy Easter!

Brian @ A Thought For Food April 22, 2011 at 7:19 am

These sure do look like the perfect muffins, with that fantastic topping!!! You know me and my muffins… can’t get enough.

By the way, aren’t you a clever guy with these titles. So funny.

RJ Flamingo April 22, 2011 at 7:50 am

This is a brunch treat I can totally get behind – love the bright flavor!

merry jennifer April 22, 2011 at 10:18 am

I would love one of these right now. Seriously. Ken, your photos are great, as always.

serena @bigapplenosh April 22, 2011 at 10:40 pm

These look scrumptious!

My Man's Belly April 23, 2011 at 10:40 am

I’d be more relaxed if I had a big basket of these with a cup of coffee right now. :)

sweetsugarbelle April 23, 2011 at 10:59 am

I can almost smell these! I love the texture of muffins. The crisp outter shell and the warm inside…deep breath. Simple yet heavenly. No family this year for Easter…I’m thinking this is the year of the brunch.

Jean April 26, 2011 at 12:06 am

I can’t think of anything that sounds more refreshing than a muffin full of orange and apricots. Just the thought of these orange bites is making me think Spring sunshine. It’s been gloomy here in northern CA so these little guys are a breathe of fresh air. I’ve been wanting to make something out of all the fruit I have in my kitchen and you’ve inspired me. :-)

Donna@NothingChocolate April 26, 2011 at 1:09 pm

What unique and refreshing flavors! Thanks for the recipe! Your food photos are the best!!

Jun Belen April 26, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Happy Easter!! The sugar crust on those orange muffins are beckoning me to make them for breakfast some time soon. Studded with apricots? Oh my!

foodwanderings April 27, 2011 at 11:59 am

Mmmm Haven’t made muffins in ages and I love everything muffin! I’ve got orange tangerine juice or maybe I will use the cuties clementines I go in the fridge. Thanks for the inspiration Wabbit!

Jackie April 29, 2011 at 3:25 am

Oh, these are lovely Ken! I bet they smell and taste amazing – maybe I’ll make some of these this weekend!

Jax x

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