The almond paste gives these muffins a dense, moist texture and a deep, rich flavor, brightened by the tart accents of citrus and dried berries.
- 6 tablespoons orange juice
- 3/4 cup dried tart (about 4 ounces) cranberries, cherries, blueberries
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 7 ounces (one package) almond paste, crumbled
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, hot
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
Yield: Makes 30 mini muffins or 10 regular muffins.
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375°F.
Step 2: Bring juice to simmer. Remove from heat and add berries; let stand about 10 minutes to plump up the berries.
Step 3: Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.
Step 4: With an electric mixer, blend the almond paste and melted butter in large bowl.
Step 5: Add eggs 1 at a time and beat until egg is fully blended. Scrape down bowl before adding next egg.
Step 6: With a spatula, stir in the juice, cherry, and orange peel by hand.
Step 7: Add one third of the flour mixture at a time, using the spatula to fold it into the wet ingredients. To keep the muffins tender, fold as little as possible—stop when all the flour is blended. There is no need to work out all the lumps!
Step 8: Use silicone mini muffin pan and bake about 20 minutes. To test for doneness, lightly press down on the top of the muffin. If it springs back, it’s done. You can also insert a tester into the middle of the muffin; if it comes out clean, the muffin it is done.
1. Sifting makes it easier to incorporate the wet and dry ingredients with as little folding or stirring as possible.
2. Once you add the dry and liquid ingredients, it is important to bake the muffins immediately. The baking powder works in two phases: first when it comes into contact with liquid, and second when it is exposed to heat.
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