Be careful what you wish for. Earlier I begged for sunshine, and lots of it, as I gobbled blood oranges as fast as I could peel them. I should have specified “with warm temperatures.” Mother Nature granted my request— in letter, not spirit. For the past few days, the sunshine has come screaming through the windows like a white blade of steel. Despite the blinding light, the temperatures plummeted. The once submissive snow turned to adamant ice so stubborn that drivers must aim their wheels in the ruts or face a jolting ride that threatens to dislodge important parts of the undercarriage.
One look at the thermometer and the bob-sled-run roads and I cranked on the oven. Then I got out the manual juicer.
I produced a simple, old-fashioned muffin, and quite a bit of blood-orange-juice carnage in the kitchen. I should dub these Counter-Intuitive Muffins since lemon juice and lemon extract help boost the orange flavour, and the batter goes in the oven baby-pink but emerges oatmeal brown.
I ate one while I wrote up the recipe notes.
I ate one while I set up the photo shoot.
I ate one after just to make sure they were still tasty.
The rest went in the freezer for a rainy day. I will celebrate the rain when it finally comes. I’ll rejoice in the deluge with blood orange muffins studded with ruby-red tart cherries and wrapped in circus-tent paper.
- ½ cup sugar
- Grated zest of 1 blood orange
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
- ¾ cup chopped dried tart cherries
- 1 cup fresh blood orange juice (3 to 4 oranges)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
- ¼ teaspoon pure lemon extract
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- Pre-heat the oven to 375°F and place the rack in the centre. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper cups.
- In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and orange zest together. The sugar will resemble wet sand. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sprinkle in the chopped dried cherries and toss with your hands to ensure the cherries are coated and evenly distributed.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, lemon extract, melted butter and eggs. Pour this over the flour mixture. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, gently combine the ingredients until the flour is just wet. Work quickly and be sure you don't over-stir or the muffins will be rubbery.
- Fill the muffin cups. I use a ¼-cup cookie scoop but a spoon will do just fine. The only trick is to distribute the batter evenly. The muffins might look a bit over-filled but they won't rise much in the oven, so this isn't an issue.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
- Allow the muffins to cool in the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, remove the muffins and store in an airtight container.
This recipe has been adapted from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.