It’s blood orange season. A significant fruit in my life, it always reminds me of a memorable college trip to Sicily for a travel writing and photojournalism course. It was the most sensual and creative ten days exploring that ancient island with other thinkers, artists, writers and photographers. One of our favorite snacks were the blood-red oranges that accompanied us on our excursions and through the hill towns. Biting into one, juice streaming down our chins, was like taking a bite out of Sicily itself. (I’m sure we all made that metaphor several times.)
These are quite possibly the most successful thing I have ever baked. I always wished I had inherited my mom’s baking skills, but in actuality I have more of my dad’s hand at the savory side of things. I haven’t got the patience for measuring and usually just wing it. But these muffins? I followed the recipe to a T and they came out so incredibly perfectly muffiny. Crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, with just the right amount of orange fragrance.
Blood Orange Muffins
based on Mark BIttman’s recipe
3 tbs olive oil
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 3 oranges)
Heat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin and line it with paper or foil muffin cups if you like.
Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat together the egg, juice, and oil in another bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, combine the ingredients swiftly, stirring and folding rather than beating and stopping as soon as all the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter should be lumpy, not smooth, and thick but quite moist; add a little more juice or other liquid if necessary.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling them about two-thirds full and handling the batter as little as possible. (If you prefer bigger muffins, fill 8 cups almost to the top; pour 1/4 cup water into the empty cups.) Bake for about 20 minutes (about 30 minutes for larger muffins) or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before taking out of the tin.
Breakfast is going to be so good for the rest of blood orange season.