Roll up, roll up ladies and gentlemen its pop quiz time! What do you do with a lonely half carton of sour cream and the dregs of an OJ bottle on the verge of expiring? Make muffins of course! I know, I know it probably sounds like an awful lot of effort just to save a measly few ingredients. I swear it isn’t. It’s practically a one-bowl/all in mix. A muffin of minimal fuss. You’re probably also wondering why I don’t just drink the orange juice like any normal person. Because it’s boring, that’s why. And instead of feeling degraded trying to slurp up the dregs of juice, it’s far more satisfying to create something entirely new – and tastier – with the addition of a couple of extra ingredients. Sure, you can whack the sour cream on top of a baked potato, stir it through a casserole or soup for a hit of creaminess, serve it alongside a bowl of crispy homemade wedges or whip up a simple pasta sauce, but I believe that baking produces considerably more rewarding results. Furthermore, you can freeze the muffins and therefore extend the storage life of the sour cream/orange juice even more! Now that’s being waste savvy.
Before I get too side-tracked making excuses to bake (you’d be surprised at what I can come up with when I’m desperate) lets get back to the muffins. The outcome was pleasing to say the least, producing fluffy muffins that still retained some substance, or ‘oomph’, to them so it didn’t feel as though I was eating air. I’ve mentioned it before and I will probably mention it again, but I cannot stand excessively crumbly sweet muffins – in a nutshell artificial. Bah. Pouring over a syrup as soon as they came out of the oven helped mitigate that horror of horrors from occurring and simultaneously produced a beautiful sheen. Slightly sticky and ever so moreish….mmmmm.
If you don’t have sour cream lying around you can certainly substitute it with natural yoghurt and produce very similar results. Likewise you can just as easily use the juice from an orange (stating the bleeding obvious, I know) rather than that from a bottle. In fact it’s actually a more sensible idea as the muffins require the zest of an orange, however I cannot say if you would need juice from more than one orange or not. I zested mine and then ate the segments, as I was too peckish to wait for the muffins! Finally, if you don’t like poppy seeds – I won’t judge – then feel free to omit them and rather make ‘orange syrup’ muffins.
Orange Poppy Seed Muffins
Makes approx. 8 muffins.
½ cup plain flour
½ cup wholemeal flour
½ tsp bi-carb soda
½ tsp poppy seeds
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup plus 2 tbsp sour cream (I used light)
1 ½ tbsp. orange juice
2 tbsp unsalted butter/margarine, melted and cooled
Zest of one large orange, finely grated
3 tbsp orange juice
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp water
Preheat oven to 190C. Grease at 6-8 holes of a 1/3 cup capacity muffin tin.
Sift together the flours, bi-carb soda and salt into a small bowl. Stir through the poppy seeds.
In a large bowl stir together the sugar, honey, egg, sour cream, cooled butter and orange juice and rind until just combined. Gently fold through the flour with a spatula in big scooping motions. Try to avoid over mixing.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake for approximately 12 minutes or until light golden, they spring back when touched and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Whilst the muffins are baking, prepare the syrup by stirring together the orange juice, sugar and water in a small saucepan and bringing it to a boil. Boil for a minute then remove from the heat.
Once the muffins are cooked, carefully pierce the top of each muffin a few times with a fork or thick bamboo skewer. Slowly pour the syrup in a thin stream over the top of each muffin, being careful to not pour over too much at once. You want the muffins to absorb as much as possible and prevent too much excess from running all over the pan. Allow muffins to cool in the pan for three minutes. Run around the edges of the muffins with a spatula or butter knife and gently prise up the bottoms (they may be inclined to stick due to the syrup). Place on a wire rack to continue cooling.
Source: A Taste Without Waste original.