These muffins are such a nice little surprise!
I’ve been feeling the loss of the great blood oranges of the season, but now I know the joys of a regular (non-blood!) orange muffin too. Phew! These are lovely. Nathaniel says it’s like drinking orange juice while you’re eating a muffin, and I agree. (I think my son would be a great food critic; he told me tonight as we were watching Chopped that he’d be a good judge on that show. Given how specific his reviews of my baking are, I believe he’s right.)
I knew I’d have to improvise a little with this one, since the first ingredient was “zest of 2 oranges”, which means nothing. What kind of oranges? What size? How much zest should I end up with? I ended up using what looked like juice oranges (vs. navel) and since the peel wasn’t all that gorgeous, I zested three of them, but only the best-looking parts of the rind. I ended up with something between 2-3 teaspoons, probably a little closer to three. I threw that into a bowl with cane sugar (only half a cup, skipping the extra 2 tablespoons), eggs, vanilla bean paste (instead of extract), canola oil, and yogurt.
The oil/yogurt mix was a little dodgy. The recipe called for 1/3 cup of oil, so I took out my measuring up and filled it halfway with yogurt first. (I learned the hard way not to do the oil first, because when you add yogurt to oil, it leaps out of the cup with gusto.) I topped it off with oil, only spilled a little bit, and poured it in.
I whisked. Thoroughly.
I added in the orange juice (squeezed from the ones I’d zested, not from the jug in the fridge) and rolled oats, then whisked again. The juice made it a lot frothier.
Next, the dry ingredients. Instead of all purpose flour, I used a combination of whole wheat white flour and wheat germ. I added baking powder, a healthy pinch of salt, and whisked.
Honestly, this is one of the simplest recipes you could make. I stirred everything together, being careful to stop as soon as the dry ingredients were incorporated, and scooped the batter into tins.
I also took a moment to taste it, with happy results, which distracted me enough to forget to sprinkle the extra oats on top.
I baked for 15 minutes, then let them sit in the pan for an extra five.
They didn’t really puff up, but they still looked nice, and smelled lovely. It was a long five minutes. Finally they were ready to emerge.
Score another win for citrus muffins! The texture is just right, substantial because of the oats without being chewy, the flavor is strong and almost juicy given that these have a good crumb, and they’re simple and straightforward but just different enough to be interesting. They’re also a mere 4 P+ on Weight Watchers.
I gave them their very own photo shoot the next day and watched them light up as the sun came out, then hid back behind the clouds.
ORANGE OAT MUFFINS RECIPE (original)
My version of Orange Oat Muffins (adapted from Tara’s Multicultural Table)
*I just played with this recipe, and made it even better. Revisions below.
3 teaspoons orange zest
1/3 cup cane sugar
1/3 cup of a combination of safflower oil and low fat vanilla yogurt
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon (generous) vanilla bean paste
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
4 tablespoons rolled oats + more for topping if desired
2/3 cup + 3/8 cup whole wheat white flour
1/3 cup + 1/8 cup wheat germ
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
Heat oven to 400 degrees (you will reduce the temperature later) and grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin.
In a large bowl, add the orange zest to the sugar, oil, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the orange juice and oats and stir well.
In a medium/small bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, and salt. (The best way to measure the eighth cups of wheat germ is to use a quarter measuring cup and fill it up 3/4 of the way with flour and then top it off with wheat germ.)
Fold the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients and mix just until incorporated.
Spoon the batter into muffin tins. If desired, mix some rolled oats in with the turbinado sugar and sprinkle on top.
Put the tray in the oven and reduce temperature to 375. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack.
Once the muffins have been around for a day or two, they might taste better warmed up.