Berries continue to proliferate the market tables, and, hopefully, some berries have already been tucked away into the freezer. To have, at our fingertips, a great muffin recipe that uses ingredients that are already in the fridge and pantry just makes the journey from market to coffee break so easy.
Because this type of muffin is more like a ‘cake’ …and I’m searching for some frosting… I use a streusel topping to change-up the texture, keeping me interested and satisfied. The streusel, along with some orange butter, ensures that this muffin will hit the sweet spot at the next coffee break.
Tips for making great Berry Orange Muffins:
- Pairing berries and citrus is always the right decision.
- Fresh blueberries and blackberries were used in this recipe. Frozen berries can also be used, but ensure they remain frozen until they get into the oven. Blackberries can become quite large, so halving them works well.
- Don’t over-mix muffin batter. It is similar to pancake batter in that you don’t want to encourage gluten formation, which will toughen the final product.
- Using both oil and butter for the fat portion is done for a reason. Butter provides the flavour; oil ensures a moist and tender texture. If you choose, you can use just one fat ingredient – just ensure that it is the correct amount (75 mL, or 5 tablespoons).
- Buttermilk is invaluable in muffins, providing a rich tangy flavour without contributing to heaviness. You can buy buttermilk (full-fat), or you can make your own by adding a teaspoon of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice to some whole milk.
- There is always the temptation to add more fruit to muffins (if a little is good, then more must be better, right?). Too much fruit can weigh it down, causing berries to gravitate to the bottom.
Berry Orange Muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes Baking Time: 15-20 minutes
Yield: 12 medium-size muffins
300 g (2 cups/500 mL) all purpose flour
185 g (3/4 cup/185 mL) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons (10 mL) baking powder
½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) baking soda
½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
1 tablespoon (15 mL) grated orange zest
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk, at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons (7.5) pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (30 mL) melted unsalted butter (cooled)
3 tablespoons (45 mL) vegetable oil
1 ½ – 2 cups fresh or frozen (unthawed) blackberries and/or blueberries
Streusel Topping (recipe follows)
Orange butter (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons (30 mL) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (30 mL) brown sugar
¼ cup (60 mL) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons (10 mL) finely grated orange zest
1/3 cup (85 mL) finely chopped walnuts or pecans
2 tablespoons (30 mL) very soft butter
1. Preheat oven to 3750 F (1900C). Prepare 12 standard muffin cups with a coating of butter or an oil-based spray; or line the muffin pan with paper cups.
2. Make streusel topping: Mix together the sugars, flour, orange zest and nuts. Stir in soft butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
3. Make muffin batter: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. Make a ‘well’ in the center of the mixture.
4. In a small bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, melted butter, and oil.
5. Pour egg-milk mixture into the flour-sugar well. Fold gently together just until combined – you want it to stay somewhat ‘lumpy’.
6. Sprinkle the berries over top and gently fold in – just until evenly distributed – 3 or 4 folds. Do not over-mix.
7. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Batter should come almost to the top of the cup.
8. Top each muffin with some of the prepared streusel topping – about 1 tablespoon for each muffin.
9. Bake at 3750F (1900C) for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and firm, or when a cake tester comes out clean and dry.
10. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool for about 10 minutes before removing them from the pan.
11. Serve warm or at room temperature with some orange butter.
12. Orange Butter: Mix 1/3 cup (85 mL) of soft butter with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) grated orange zest.