I made something kind of unusual for this time of year Tropical Muffins. Who ever heard of tropical food in the early Spring? We just had snow on the ground last week! Well, don’t tell anyone but I’m wearing white shoes too.
I’m just kind of kooky that way.
The thing is, I stumbled upon a surprise in the grocery store recently. Oranges. On sale! Don’t you always feel a tiny bit freaked out any time you buy oranges on sale this time of year? Will they be good? Will it be a waste of money?
Sorry, Michael Pollan. I know we’re supposed to buy local, but all I can say at this moment is thank you New Zealand for these absolutely delicious oranges.
This is what we used to do with peeled oranges when I was a kid.
We used to walk around saying, “Ouch, I hit my thumb with a hammer. Now it’s swollen!” (I lived in a very small town. We needed amusement.)
Henry Ward Beecher once said that we ought to carry ourselves in the world, “as an orange tree would if it could walk up and down in the garden, swinging perfume from every little censer it holds up to the air.”
Be the tree! With that in mind I decided to show my appreciation for that orange and the miles it had traveled by using every bit of it that I could. I ate the luscious fruit and promptly put the peel in the food processor and blended it into a fine zest. That way I could use it in my next recipe. But what should I make?
Muffins are such a nice way to start the morning and the idea of a muffin bursting with the flavor of orange sounded too hard to resist.
And this muffin has surprises – both inside and out. The muffin itself is a lightly sweetened combination of orange, banana, and strawberry. The topping includes almond meal and orange zest.
Is this the way to start a day or what?
Any way you stack ’em, these are the muffins of the day.
(Adapted from Eating Well)
- 3 tablespoons almonds
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
- 1/ 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 ¾ cups flour, or whole-wheat pastry flour (see Note)
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup soy buttermilk, soy milk combined with 1 tbsp vinegar
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 banana, mashed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ¾ cups strawberries, chopped
- Bakers, start your engines…by heating your to 375°F.
- Prepare your muffin pans. I used silicone so no preparation needed, but you can lightly spray your pan with vegetable spray.
- Prepare Almond-Orange Topping: Pulse almonds, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon orange zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor until finely ground. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, stir to combine, and transfer to a small bowl and set aside. But don’t wash out that food processor bowl just yet.
- Next, combine the soymilk with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. You can do that right in the food processor bowl because you’ll be adding other ingredients to it soon. Let that sit for a minute to allow the vinegar to do its work.
- In a medium bowl combine 1 3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Set aside
- Back to your soy buttermilk. You should notice that it’s beginning to curdle a little. That’s great! To this you now want to add your remaining wet ingredients including, the banana (I let the food processor do the mashing so I just chopped it a little before adding it), orange juice, 1/4 cup of oil, flax seed, water, and vanilla extract. Pulse a few seconds until the mixture is smooth.
- Next add your chopped strawberries to the flour mixture. Stir until the strawberries are just coated.
- Pour the wet ingredients from your food processor bowl over the strawberry-infused dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Divide the batter among the prepared muffin pans.
- Sprinkle the top of each muffin with the almond-orange topping and gently press into the batter.
- Bake the muffins 18 to 20 minutes until done. I used a piece of dry spaghetti inserted into the middle of one of the muffins to check if they were done.
- Let the muffins cool for a few minutes before devouring. You don’t want to burn your mouth