Best Orange Muffins Ever2
January 23, 2013 by Meg G.
This weekend, I went looking for an excuse to bake something sweet and delicious and I found two: 1) leftover oranges 2) Heather’s promise to bring her her students a breakfast treat on Monday morning. The verdict? Orange
Actually, while we’re on the topic, did you know that there is an entire subculture dedicated to the cupcake vs. muffin debate?
Let’s be real, folks. There is a very small difference between a cupcake and a muffin, usually centering on whether or not it’s frosted. So, when you top these orange muffins with an orange glaze, does that mean you’re eating cupcakes for breakfast? (But there are REAL oranges in there!) Honestly, they are so darn good, you’ll want to eat them for breakfast AND dessert.
Not that I know anything about that…
The comments on the original recipe (by Rebecca Rather, courtesy of Annie’s Eats) suggested that it was a very subtle orange flavor. So, I made a few adjustments to really up the orange factor and WOW. These are good. They are light and fluffy, with just the right combination of citrus and sweetness. This recipe made 12 regular sized
cupcakes muffins and one bread loaf. Heather took the muffins to work and we may or may not have eaten the entire loaf in 3 days. I told you it was that good. Here goes!
For the muffins:
- 1/2 cup milk (we used almond milk)
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 2 sticks (16 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Zest of 1 orange (organic if possible) -or- 1 teaspoon orange extract
For the glaze:
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1-2 tsp. orange zest (organic if possible) -or- a drop of orange extract (1/4 teaspoon?)
A note on the zest vs. extract situation. Since you’re using the skin of the orange (which is exposed to pesticides in conventional farming practices), the recipe recommends organic. My oranges were not organic and their peels were looking pretty rough, so I substituted for orange extract. I made up the above conversions, but they seemed to work pretty well. I’m sure the flecks of zest would have made these even more pretty to look at, but I think the extract did a fine job on its own.
I would not recommend substituting bottled OJ, as there is often added sugar, the nutritional value is decreased through pasteurization, and the flavor pales in comparison.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line wells of a muffin pan with paper or silicon liners and/or spray loaf pan with cooking spray.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the milk, orange juice, sour cream, eggs, melted butter, and extract, if using. Whisk together to blend.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir to blend. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. If using, fold in the orange zest with a spatula.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups and/or loaf pan. Bake about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If baking a loaf, it will take about twice the amount of time (30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf and your oven). Let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack placed over a baking sheet.
- To make the glaze, combine the orange juice, confectioners’ sugar, and orange zest (or extract) in a small bowl. Whisk together until smooth, adding more juice if necessary. We needed to add a bit more liquid (in 1/2 teaspoon amounts) to get it to drizzling consistency.
- Drizzle the glaze over the muffins/loaf while they are still warm. Allow the glaze to set before serving. Store in an airtight container.
As you can see, the muffins are a lovely soft yellow color and the loaf is more golden. Drizzled with the glaze, they’re almost as beautiful as they are delicious!
Warning: I wound up with a bunch of extra glaze (oh darn!). I’m thinking about making some homemade pop tarts later this week and using it on them. Stay tuned!
These look wonderful as is, however, now I know what to do with the leftover cranberry sauce I froze. It’s going in the middle of the muffins. Can hardly wait. My thoughts on muffin vs cupcake (I like both) it’s the leavening agent, the ratio of wet to dry ingredients and the method of combining them.
Pamela – I’m intrigued by your cranberry sauce-filled orange muffin experiment. Do let us know how it goes!