Sometimes an ingredient shortage can work in your favor. For want of a few more blood oranges, some Meyer lemons were used, and born out of the uncertainty of that unusual pairing, some poppy seeds were added. Thus, a brand new muffin emerged, and a very delicious one at that.
My intention was simply to make another batch of blood orange muffins, based on my very slight adaptation of a recipe I’ve used before. I started squeezing the blood oranges, noting how much more juice I was getting from each one since I was using a plastic juicer as opposed to just squeezing by hand. But then when I had squeezed the last one out, I looked at my measuring cup and I only had just over 3/4 of a cup. Disaster!
I didn’t want to throw away the juice, or risk having it go bad if I stored it, since I didn’t know when I’d be able to get more blood oranges. So I got creative: I decided to top off it off with Meyer lemon juice. Risky, I know. Bold, even. I am normally neither risky nor bold, but this was a baking emergency. I took out the lemons, and squeezed out enough to make a full cup of juice.
(Yes, that’s a Thomas the Tank Engine plate. Why not?)
Crisis averted, risk taken, I moved to the dry ingredients. I used whole wheat white flour, put in less baking powder than the original recipe suggested, added salt and pure cane sugar, and then, emboldened by the risky flavor experiment I was undertaking, I added two tablespoons of poppy seeds.
In a separate bowl, I whisked together olive oil, an egg, and the hybrid juice concoction.
I poured that into the dry ingredients.
I mixed swiftly and carefully, as the original recipe required, stopping the moment the flour was fully incorporated.
Hopeful skeptic that I am, I gave it a cautious taste. I became slightly more hopeful and marginally less skeptical, and scooped the batter into my muffin tin.
They were done in 18 minutes. I let them cool in the pan for another 5 minutes before moving them to a rack.
And the next day, in the early morning light, I moved them to the windowsill (or thereabouts) to capture them in all their weird citrus-y glory.
Nathaniel even gave me a muffin ship to play with.
And in the end, what were the results? DELICIOUSNESS! The muffins are tangy, bursting with strong, unique citrus flavor, soft in texture with just the right amount of crunch from the poppy seeds. I couldn’t be happier with these, and if you don’t count the emotional stress involved with running out of a key ingredient in mid-process, they were extremely easy to make.
(And for the Weight Watchers people, these are only 4P+, with the added bonus of using healthy olive oil instead of butter.)
BLOOD ORANGE AND MEYER LEMON POPPY SEED MUFFINS (adapted from the boot)
2 cups whole wheat white flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cane sugar (or white sugar if that’s what you have)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
Heat oven to 400 degrees, you’ll reduce the temperature later. Grease a muffin tin or line it with paper muffin cups.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and poppy seeds in a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the juice, egg, and olive oil until thoroughly blended.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir briskly and briefly, mixing as quickly as you can and stopping the moment you stop seeing spots of flour in the bowl.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, distributing as evenly as you can.
Put the tray in the oven and reduce temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for 15-20 minutes. (Mine were done at 18 but it will vary by oven.)
Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack. The muffins are nice when warm but the flavor really settles in the next day.