Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Olive Oil Muffins

I have the public library to thank for the bounty of good recipes I get. My two little darlings and I have a routine: we go there and get them the Mt Everest-stacked high stack of children's books, 1 cookbook for me, and then we bring them all home, read the life out of them, and then three weeks later, return, and do the same thing all over again. It's a system I'm quite fond of.

Fate must collide with my luck whenever I return to the library because I always seem to have impeccable timing when all the "good" cookbooks are back in stock there. One of Giada de Laurentiis' newer cookbooks sat waiting on the shelf and I instantly checked it out. This gem of a recipe was located right inside towards the front and it grabbed my attention immediately, almost as if the words, "olive oil muffins" were flashing at me like Las Vegas neon lights. Desire and curiosity go well together.

You would never really expect to soil your muffin batter with olive oil, would you?? Me neither. Yet, it provides moisture: light, spongy, somewhat flavorful, moisture. I love the unpredictable crunch from the smooshed up almonds and the fresh zest of lemon and orange in abundance. I would sit and zest the skin off lemons and oranges all day if I had no other life- there is nothing to compare with that aromatic scent of citrus... AHH. It's what heaven will smell like.

Lastly, everyone who has sampled these muffins seems to say the same things: "Wow. I would've never thought.... soo delicious.. ...so moist...... so flavorful". And if you think I mis-typed the recipe, well, I didn't.... the muffins really DO call for balsamic vinegar too, which seems a bit counter-intuitive, but fret not, you don't taste it whatsoever.

Yup. I can't keep this recipe to myself. I hope you'll try them asapers!

Olive Oil Muffins

{Giada De Laurentiis}

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons orange zest

2 teaspoons lemon zest

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons whole milk

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Powdered sugar, for sifting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin. Blend together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer beat the sugar, eggs, and zests in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vinegar and milk. Gradually beat in the oil. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Crush the almonds with your hands as you add them to the batter and stir until mixed. Fill the muffin tin almost to the top of the paper liners. Bake until golden on top and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins onto a platter and let cool for 5 more minutes. Sift powdered sugar over the muffins and serve.

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