Corn and Apricot Muffins with Orange Essence

Corn, apricots, and oranges sounded like the worst possible combination. So did orange juice, chai tea, and shallots. But Baking Illustrated and Hyvee have become my mainstays for trusted recipes, so I went big for dinner and made Orange and Sage-Glazed Pork over Whole-Grain Pasta with a side of Corn and Apricot Muffins with Orange Essence. Izzy had the saddest face on while we ate the pork loin chops. Since my pictures of her are usually from above, gravity eclipses her jowls from the shot and you can’t fully appreciate her bulldog pout. Here is Izzy pouting head on. Perfect look for a Monday:

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Then, because impossible combinations had become the theme of the day, I bought a sheer black and orange floral Lane Bryant (never say never!) blouse at Savers ($1.99!) to style as a dress layered under a black sweater. Here I am proud of unlikely successes:

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Corn and Apricot Muffins with Orange Essence

Baking Illustrated

Ingredients

2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest, grated
1 1/2 cups dried apricots (10 ounces)
2/3 cup orange juice
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
1 cup fine-ground, whole-grain yellow cornmeal (4 1/2 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
In food processor, process 2/3 cup granulated sugar and 11/2 teaspoons grated orange zest until pale orange, about 10 seconds. Transfer to small bowl and set aside.
In food processor, pulse dried apricots for ten 2-second pulses, until chopped fine (I don’t have a food processor—but my birthday is next week! Hint, hint..) Transfer to medium microwave-safe bowl; add orange juice to apricots, cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until simmering, about 1 minute. Let apricots stand, covered, until softened and plump, about 5 minutes. Strain apricots; discard juice.
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to combine; set aside. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl until well combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add granulated and dark brown sugar to eggs; whisk vigorously until thick and homogenous, about 30 seconds; add melted butter in 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition. Add half the sour cream and half the milk and whisk to combine; whisk in remaining sour cream and milk until combined. Stir remaining orange zest and strained apricots into wet ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; mix gently with rubber spatula until batter is just combined and evenly moistened. Do not over-mix. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter evenly among muffin cups, dropping it to form mound. Do not level or flatten surface of mounds.
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Bake until muffins are light golden brown and skewer inserted into center of muffins comes out clean, about 18 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in tin 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack.KP and I agree that the orange-sage-chai pork tenderloin chops were the best dinner we have had since the eggplant parmigiana. The reduction of orange juice and chai with shallots and garlic is incredible, and tastes great over pasta (wish we had somewhere in town we could buy quinoa spaghetti! Missing the NW).

The apricot-corn muffins taste wonderful, especially with a cup of chai tea! 4 stars!

Happy MLK Day.

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5 thoughts on “Corn and Apricot Muffins with Orange Essence

    1. Hey, thanks for the tip Mike! They should expand their inventory considering this is the International Year of Quinoa..ha

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