Monday, March 2, 2015

Mini Orange Muffins

 So, we're in Winter's home stretch, and everyone is wishing for Spring and sunshine and warmer weather, correct? Well, why not whip up a batch of these little gems?! Will they bring warmer weather? No. But will the deliciously fresh orange flavor remind you of a lovely sunny day? Absolutely! Seriously, wouldn't you love a little burst of sunshine with every bite? They're the perfect little punch of citrus, just sweet enough, and they're great with an afternoon tea or your morning cup of coffee. They're a snap to throw together too. Ready in no time at all! This recipe is from Martha Stewart and I will definitely be making them again!

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for tins
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
Zest and juice of 1 orange

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees and butter small muffin tins. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream 1 cup sugar and butter until smooth. Add the eggs and beat until fluffy. In a glass measuring cup, combine buttermilk and baking soda and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt; add to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating until well mixed. In a food processor, grind the raisins and orange zest. Add to the batter and combine. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, about 12 minutes. Remove the tins to a cooling rack. Brush the tops of the muffins with orange juice and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup sugar while still warm; let stand 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pans.

I used mini muffin paper liners instead of buttering the tins. Makes life SO much easier, I think.
If you want to make regular sized muffins, just adjust your baking time and let them go until they're done in the center and spring back when lightly tapped.
Instead of purchasing buttermilk, just add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a one cup measure, then fill it the rest of the way with milk. Microwave it for 30 seconds. It will curdle, which is exactly what you want.
 Speaking of the buttermilk, when you add the baking soda to the buttermilk, be sure it is in a large container because it will bubble up and overflow a small measuring cup. Remember when we used vinegar and baking soda to make a volcano erupt in science class? Same thing. Just be sure you have a large enough cup to accommodate it.
I wanted the muffins to be a little more ORANGEY, so I added a 1/4 tsp of pure orange extract. Just sayin'.
These muffins freeze really well, so make a double batch, store some in the freezer, and then you'll have some on hand for the next time you need a little sunshine.
Oh, btw, if you're part of the "I hate raisins" club, (and many of you are, I'm surprised to learn), be sure to add them anyway. They're ground up in the recipe anyway and you don't even know they're there. But they do add a deliciously moist texture to the muffin. Just trust me on this! Maybe I'll use craisins next time. Love them.

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