Bleak midwinter days call for cheerful tea towels and citrusy fresh-baked muffins.
These are super basic little muffins, quick to whip up and guaranteed to make your house smell delicious. Cardamom isn’t the most common spice out there – it’s crucial to chai tea, which I love, but otherwise I don’t use it super often. But the floral notes of the spice pair perfectly with the orange for a fresh muffin that feels like winter and spring at the same time, in the best way.
The sprinkle of sugar on top adds a bit of crunch and sweetness that make these perfect for an after school snack or accompaniment to a morning cup of tea. It also means they taste best the day you make them, because there’s just no way to keep that crunchy crackle on a second day muffin – at least not that I’m aware of, but I’d love to be told otherwise if you have a tip! Although to be clear, I had no complaints from my kids about eating them two days in a row…sugar, after all, is delicious no matter how you sprinkle it ;)
I have a lot of muffin recipes I love but there’s always room for a new one in my heart and these little gems were just what the doctor ordered. Let me know if you try ’em!
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 large orange
- ½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup canola oil or light-tasting olive oil
- ½ cup milk
- ⅓ cup orange juice
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 Tbsp coarse sparkling sugar for topping, or 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 375° and line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a separate medium bowl, use your fingers to rub the orange zest into the granulated sugar to make orange sugar (and an amazing smell :)). Add brown sugar, eggs, oil, milk, orange juice and vanilla to the sugar mixture and whisk thoroughly to combine.
- Add the sugar mixture to the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Evenly scoop the muffin batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the tops with the additional sugar.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs but mostly clean.
Adapted from Laurie at Simply Scratch.