Delicious muffins filled with dry fruits and bursting with citrus flavour
Our mother used to make a citrus bundt cake when we were young and she would puree an entire orange, peel and all, and then add it to the batter. One day we had a neighbourhood friend over while she was getting ready to bake this cake and we all decided to keep her company in the kitchen; our motivation being to lick the batter from the bowl and spoon before they got tossed in the sink for washing. As we settled in to watch her progress, we were surprised by our friend’s reaction to watching her blend the orange. She leaned over and whispered, “You’re not supposed to eat the peel!”.
“Really?” we answered. That was odd. We ate orange peel in all sorts of ways, whether it was chopped up and added to our parents’ homemade Greek sausages or cooked in a simple syrup to make a classic spoon sweet Greek dessert. And we had certainly seen slices of orange helping to flavour the syrup that would then be poured on galaktoboureko and baklava. You can be sure that those slices boiled in sweetness were eventually eaten, peel and all.
Our mother is not the first to puree an entire citrus fruit and add it to dessert; many know that this is a great way to infuse flavour and moisture to your baked goods. One day we’ll have to share her original orange bundt cake recipe, along with the orange peel spoon sweet and homemade Greek sausage…what do you guys think? Good plan?
For now however, we’ve used that basic idea of pureeing an entire orange to make these orange muffins with dates and dried figs. Easy to make, full of flavour and texture, these muffins are a great way to either start your day, or end it. Muffins as a late night snack are often a missed opportunity.
Since this recipe calls for the entire orange for this recipe, we try to use organic oranges whenever possible. If you can’t find organic however, don’t stress about it too much. We promise that our parents did not scour health food stores for pesticide-free produce when we were growing up, and although they are exceptional gardeners they never tried to grow oranges in Canada. What our parents did do however is wash the peel of the orange very, very well in a mixture of warm water, white vinegar, and a bit of dish soap. The orange was then thoroughly rinsed before being dried and blended for the cake.
Chopping dried fruit like dates and figs can get messy. We find it easier to snip them into pieces using kitchen scissors, or cutting them with a slightly greased serrated knife. Also, if you don’t like dates and figs you can also substitute with raisins…or chocolate chips!!
The topping of these muffins gives them an added bit of sweetness and a lovely taste and texture. If you are trying to keep these muffins healthier, you can opt not to include the topping.
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Orange muffins with dates and figs
- 1 orange
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped dry figs
- 1/4 cup chopped dates
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup oat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the topping
- 1/3 cup large flake oatmeal
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- rind of one orange, chopped up
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash your orange, chop it into large chunks and remove any seeds (Do not peel your orange). Place in blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or other large size bowl if using a hand held mixer, combine the pureed orange, egg, brown sugar and olive oil.
- In another bowl whisk together the oat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Mix the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Then, add in the chopped dry figs and dates and mix until well combined.
- Prepare the muffin pan by spraying it with cookie spray; use muffin liners if you like. Fill your muffin cups 2/3 of the way full.
- In a small bowl mix together the topping ingredients and then divide equally among your filled muffin cups, on top of the batter.
- Bake in middle rack of your oven for 15 - 20 minutes.