Karen Gordon: baking recipes celebrate the flavor of oranges

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There’s something about oranges and baking that makes my kitchen smell like heaven. And oranges add both sweetness and a refreshing zest to baked goods.

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Oranges are like the sun at this time of year. With their warm orange hue and deliciously bright flavor, they add a bit of happiness to the day. There’s something about oranges and baking that makes my kitchen smell like heaven. Unlike lemons and limes, I love oranges because they add both sweetness and a refreshing zest to baked goods.

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There is a certain science when it comes to cooking with oranges. The flavor of citrus fruits tends to fade when cooked. It’s especially difficult when it comes to orange because it has a milder flavor. The secret to preserving orange flavor is in the zest. No aroma of orange oil, extract or powder compares to the flavor obtained from the orange peel itself. For recipes that call for freshly squeezed orange juice and zest, it’s always best to zest first, then squeeze because it’s impossible to grate an orange once it’s lost its shape.

Orange blossom and honey butter muffins

These orange blossom muffins are light, tender and crumbly. They are delicious on their own, but even more delicious when covered with a generous dab of homemade honey butter. They are big on orange flavor with just a hint of honey. The crumb resembles that of cornbread. These muffins are perfect for breakfast because they are not too sweet. The raw sugar topping is my favorite part of the muffin because it adds crunch and a bit of extra sweetness.

2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour

1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

1 tbsp. (15ml) baking powder

1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup (60ml) milk

1/4 cup (60 ml) orange juice

1/3 cup (80 mL) honey, microwaved until liquid

1/4 cup (57 g) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil

Zest of 1 orange

Raw sugar or Turbinado sugar

Homemade honey butter

1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2-1/2 tsp. (53g) honey

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1-1/2 tsp. (13g) icing sugar

1/4 tsp. 1/2 tsp (1 mL) fine sea salt

Move the oven rack to the middle and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with muffin tins and set aside.

In a bowl, put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine. In another bowl, add the eggs, milk, orange juice, honey, butter, olive oil and orange zest. Whisk well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Then, using a silicone spatula, fold the ingredients together until just about combined. The mixture will look lumpy with a few mealy spots.

Using a 1/3 cup ice cream scoop, divide the mixture into 8 muffin cups. Sprinkle each top of the dough with ¼ teaspoon of raw sugar.

Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 minutes, then without opening the oven door, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking for another 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly in the muffin tin before moving them to a baking rack to finish cooling.

Serve hot with homemade honey butter.

For the honey butter

Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter until light and creamy. Add honey, icing sugar and salt. Continue beating until the mixture is completely smooth. Serve with hot muffins. To store, place the honey butter in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Makes eight muffins.

Orange raspberry yogurt swirl bread

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Bright, lemony orange is paired with tangy raspberries and creamy yogurt to make a wonderful breakfast or afternoon tea. I love how the sweetness of the orange is cut with a bit of tartness from the raspberries, while the yogurt makes this bread moist, dense and tender. Both fresh and frozen raspberries can be used in the recipe. If using frozen, do not thaw the raspberries. Simply fold frozen raspberries, as you would fresh berries, directly into the dough.

1-3/4 cups (210 g) all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. (15ml) baking powder

1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) salt

2 large eggs

1/3 cup (olive oil

1 cup (285 g) plain Greek yogurt

3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar

1/3 cup (80 ml) orange juice

Zest of 1 orange

1 C. 1/2 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

6 oz. (170 g) fresh or frozen raspberries

1 tbsp. (15 ml) all-purpose flour

Easy Orange Frosting

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) icing sugar

2 tbsp. (15 ml) orange juice without pulp

Move the oven rack to the middle and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lightly grease an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 inch loaf pan. Then line the pan with parchment paper, leaving the pan with at least 3 inches of parchment paper overhanging on both long sides. Put aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Put aside.

In another bowl, add the eggs, olive oil, yogurt, sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Whisk until well blended.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Using a silicone spatula, fold the mixture until it is almost homogeneous. Do not overmix.

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Transfer 1/3 of the dough to another bowl. Add frozen raspberries and 1 tablespoon of flour. Using a silicone spatula, fold the mixture to combine. Do not overmix.

To create the swirl, layer the prepared loaf pan with a layer of orange batter. Then add half of the raspberry paste. Cover with a layer of orange paste followed by another layer of raspberry paste, ending with a layer of orange paste. Then, using a butter knife, create swirls on top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until the bread is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

Place on a wire rack and let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, before using the parchment paper overhang as handles to lift the bread out of the pan. Move the bread to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, remove the parchment paper and transfer the bread to the rack. Transfer the rack with the bread to a baking sheet. Using a skewer, generously prick the top of the bread. Drizzle the orange glaze evenly over the bread, filling in the gaps and letting any excess glaze drip off. Let the frosting set about 45 minutes before slicing.

For the orange glaze, add the icing sugar and orange juice to a mixing bowl. Using a spoon, stir the mixture until smooth. If the mixture is dry, add orange juice added in 1/2 teaspoon increments as needed and continue stirring before adding more juice. The correct consistency is achieved when the icing falls in a continuous stream, like a ribbon, into the bowl when the spoon is lifted.

Give a loaf.

Karen Gordon is a food blogger from North Vancouver who shares her recipe creations online at karentology.com and on Instagram at @karen.t.ology

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