Thursday, April 23, 2009

Orange Berry Muffins

Brunch is something that is fairly new to me. Not the concept, mind you, but the application. Growing up… we had a big, early breakfast and a light lunch. There was no intermingling of the two.

And now, as an adult… the idea of brunch seems fantastic to me! I mean, really… it just sounds like an excuse to eat more food and drink booze at the same time.

You mean I can have quiche and bagels and pastries? Yes, it’s brunch.

And I can have bloody marys and mimosas? Yes, it’s brunch.


So, while the concept is awesome, the application is still a little troublesome for me. You see, much to my surprise (and probably my former college room-mates), I’ve become a morning person. Normally on the weekends, I choose to wake up to my alarm around 5:30 or 6:00 am, but even when I don’t… I can’t sleep past 7:30. Yup… 7:30 is sleeping in for me (even when I’m hungover. Ugh). So, there is no way I can go from 7:30 till 11:00 or later to engage in brunch. I have to eat a little something for breakfast, and by that time, I’m just like… “ehhh.. screw it, I’m hungry… let’s eat breakfast.”

A couple of weekends ago I was invited to a brunch and it took me all of 2 seconds to accept the invite. The spread was awesome… I definitely overindulged in the quiche, fruit, pastries, and of course… the bloody marys (there might have been a mimosa in there as well… and maybe just some sparkling wine when the OJ ran out. I mean, maybe. I can’t be certain). It was nice. Honestly, I think it was the first actual brunch gathering at someone’s house I’d ever been to.

My offering for the brunch? Well, in all honesty, I have a boatload of brunchy recipes that I've been stockpiling, but this time, I needed something quick to make with the ingredients I already had... so I made Dorie Greenspan's Orange Berry Muffins. These were actually picked for Tuesdays With Dorie before I joined, so it’s kind of like a rewind recipe.They turned out delicious and were super quick to whip up.

Since then, I’ve decided. I want to be a lady who “brunches.” I mean, sure… I’ll have to eat a little something to tide me over until the later hours of brunch, but… is that so bad? I’m already trying to figure out a way to offer up a brunch for mother’s day (even though logistically speaking, a brunch is a hard thing to throw in a family of golfers).

Make these muffins for your next pot luck brunch. They won’t make you the most popular guest (because, obviously that goes to the people who bring the booze), but I guarantee they’ll get gobbled up fast.
Orange Berry Muffins
from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, Baking: From my Home, to Yours

These muffins are so fragrant and delicious. The orange scent just fills the kitchen as they bake and the taste is just enough without overpowering the blueberries. I didn't have any buttermilk, so I used sour cream and heavy cream to make the 3/4 cup. I also might have added a little more honey and I know I doubled the sugar to 2/3 cup. (Hey, what can I say? I like my muffins sweet!).

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
About ¾ cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons honey
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
⅓ cup (2.33 ounces) sugar
2 cups (9.6 ounces) all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries - fresh, preferably, or frozen (not thawed)
Decorating sugar, for topping (optional)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
Pour the orange juice into a large glass measuring cup or a bowl and pour in enough buttermilk to make 1 cup. Whisk in the eggs, honey and melted butter.

In a large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of orange strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough - the batter will be lumpy and bubbly, and that’s just the way it should be. Stir in the blueberries. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. If you want to top the muffins with decorating sugar, sprinkle on the sugar after the muffins have baked for 10 minutes. When fully baked, the tops of the muffins will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins will come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.

1 comment:

Elyse said...

Yep, the booze-bringers always steal the show, but you know what? You'd totally win my vote with these awesome-looking muffins. I'm a breakfast and bruncher, too! I need both. Waking up so early...well, you just have to eat SOMETHING! I can't wait to try out these muffins. Hope you can get your Mother's Day brunch together!