Tuesday, January 29, 2008

TWD: Orange Berry Muffins

In my typical manic style, I've thrown myself back into blogging with a vengeance. Not only am I doing the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival, but I've signed myself up for Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD). TWD started after several of the ladies involved (April of Abby Sweets, Laurie of Quirky Cupcake, and Michelle of Sugar & Spice) received Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours" for Christmas and decided to bake a recipe from the book every Tuesday. (Don't quote me on the group origins, please check out the other blogs for the background and previous recipes. And all their other wonderful recipes as well. I've been reading Quirky Cupcake for a while and despairing at the lovely creations featured in her Cupcake Hero contest. I haven't worked up enough courage to attempt that one yet though!)

I stumbled onto TWD last week and promptly ordered the book to have it in my hot little hands. Once I had the book, it seemed like an excellent idea to make the same thing the TWD group was baking this week if only to see how mine looked stacked against better real more experienced other bakers.

Behold my attempt at making the muffins!

Pathetic, aren't they? This is even the second batch. The first one is shown in the photos below. I thought that maybe my baking powder was old (expiration date 2005, huh) so I replaced it and tried the recipe exactly as written again.

The rise just isn't there. If you go look at the other ladies (the three from above, plus now there's also Nicole from Crazy Delicious , Ashley from Eat Me Delicious, and Jaime from Good Eats 'N Sweet Treats), they all have lovely, normal looking muffins.

I'm going to blame it on the weakness of my baking-fu altitude. Yeah, yeah, that's it. But aside from the rather flat top, the muffins taste delicious. I love the addition of the orange, and based on the rate of disappearance from the work kitchen, the coworkers approve as well.

Orange Berry Muffins
(Source: Dorie Greenspan “Baking: From My Home to Yours” p. 3)

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
About 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons honey
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries–fresh preferably, or frozen (not thawed)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds of 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 is 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 bakes, 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.