Prep 20 mins
Cook 25 mins
I adapted this from a Cooking Club of America recipe for Lemon-Lavender Muffins. It is lightly sweet, with a crunchy sugar topping, and a tender yet sturdy texture. I made it because I love oranges for lunch, and didn't want to waste all that lovely zest!
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange zest (2 small oranges, done with a Microplane)
- 1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 2⁄3 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice or 3 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, for topping
- Make Orange Sugar: Mix sugar with zest, crushing zest into sugar with a spoon, until evenly mixed and sugar appears damp and light orange from the oils in the zest. Set aside; store in airtight container in the refrigerator indefinitely.
- Heat oven to 400°F Grease bottoms of 12 standard muffin cups or line with baking cups.
- Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl (or whisk together until well blended). Stir in 2/3 cup of Orange Sugar until evenly combined.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together milk and orange or lemon juice; milk will curdle and thicken slightly. In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg; whisk in 6 tablespoons melted and cooled butter, milk mixture, and vanilla.
- Make well in center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Stir just until blended. Divide evenly among prepared muffin cups.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes before removing from pan.
- Place remaining 1/3 cup Orange Sugar in a custard cup or teacup; place 4 tablespoons melted butter in another custard cup or teacup. Dip tops of warm muffins first in melted butter, then in Orange Sugar, patting sugar on with a spoon if needed to form a sparkling sugar “crust” on top. This will get a little crunchy as the sugar dries. You'll probabably end with some butter and sugar left over.
- Serve warm or store, loosely covered for a day or two (airtight storage will make the sugar squishy instead of crisp). Best either fresh and warm, or after sitting overnight.