Blood Orange Muffins


I had my eye on this recipe for a few weeks before I got a chance to try it. I’d picked up a bag of blood oranges at Trader Joe’s and I knew there had to be a good recipe out there.

Look at them!

blood oranges

The recipe called for an entire cup of juice and I had to do all the squeezing by hand. It took forever, as well as all eight of the oranges in the bag. When I was done, the kitchen looked terrifying. The carnage! Nathaniel came wandering in and called me a murderer.


blood orange juice

Once I got most of the orange blood wiped up, I started in on the dry ingredients. Flour (whole wheat white), sugar (cane), salt, and baking powder. The recipe called for 3 teaspoons of baking powder, which felt like a lot, but that’s the same amount I use in my own favorite banana yogurt, muffins, so I decided it was probably okay. I whisked.

dry ingredients

In another bowl, I beat together the egg, olive oil, and blood orange juice, which I strained first just to remove any lingering seeds and large pieces. (Remind me again to buy a juicer.)

juice egg oil

And that went into the bowl of dry ingredients.


At this point the recipe was very specific about mixing SWIFTLY, BRIEFLY, and I assumed this was more than the usual caution about overmixing. I sensed there was some delicateness to this recipe worth respecting, so I mixed it swiftly and briefly, stopping as soon as all the flour was incorporated.

batter in bowl, mixed

The batter was a strange, gray-pink sort of color, but that didn’t scare me. Blood oranges are weird, I’d already embraced that.

I scooped the batter into muffin cups.

batter in muffin cups

I had done my usual trick of heating the oven 25 degrees higher than the directions said to. I put the tray in, reduced by 25 degrees, and set the timer for 15 minutes. They were ready in closer to 20, as the instructions said, and smelled orangey but also just a bit…doughy. I couldn’t come up with a better word for it. I admit, I was worried I’d just wasted eight oranges on something inedible. They looked nice, though.

muffins in tray, baked

muffins on rack

The bottom line? These are kind of delicious. They DO have too much baking powder, or maybe it’s a hair too much flour. The first bite you get that baking powder/flour taste for a moment, in the second bite it fades, and by the third it’s forgotten as you get this wonderful new combination of light crumb and tangy sweet orange. And the aftertaste is almost juicy, if that makes any sort of sense.

I’m hoping to get back to Trader Joe’s soon, pick up some more, and try again to see if I can make these perfect, but they went quickly and were very liked by everyone, despite their agreement on the first bite powdery flavor. A little less flour, a little less baking powder, and we may have blood orange muffin perfection. Well worth it, as I’ve never tasted anything else quite like them. In a good way.


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