Orange Cream Cheese Muffins

27 07 2011

I always end up spreading my muffin batter amongst too many tins and ending up with lil’ dinky muffs. When instead, I should probably just make like 6 mondo muffs. In this case though, I’m glad they’re a little bit smaller, because these guys are less muffins and more like cake. Moist, dense, melt in your mouth cake muffins. They’d be perfect with a white icing or cream cheese frosting on top.

And lets get it out of the way and talk some food science here for a sec. Room temperature eggs. Gotta have ’em, though it’s something I forget to do all the time. When making a batter, you’re creating an emulsion by creaming the fats with the sugars and then adding the eggs. Fats and liquids are essential unmixable so you need to create a water-in-fat emulsion. If cold eggs are used in a room temp batter, you can curdle the batter or cause it to be too liquid-y; the emulsion breaks. And as a result, flat, dry, flavorless baked goodies. Room temp, people. Plan ahead or your treats are facing certain DOOM.

Orange Cream Cheese Muffins
Adapted from eat me, delicious

1 large navel orange; zest, peel, keeping the pith, break into 6-8 pieces
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature, broken into 4 pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 375. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin tins/paper. (My muffins came out a little bit small when I divided the batter into 12. Next time I would make between 6-8 big ass muffs)

In a food processor, grate the orange then add the cream cheese and process in 3 10-second intervals, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each buzz.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cut the butter into 1-in. pieces and place in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the machine and add the orange/cream cheese mixture, then mix for another 1 minute. Add the sugar in a steady stream. Then blend in the eggs, yolk and vanilla.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, mixing until just blended after each addition.

Pour into lined muffin tins and sprinkle the top of each muffin with some sugar. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown and springy to the touch. To ensure even baking, towards the end of the time, rotate the pan from top to bottom and front to back. Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool.

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