Sunday, February 5, 2017

Clementine Muffins

As I measure and sift, I am stricken with guilt and grief. The former because my family is intact and the latter because Ann's isn't. I cannot even begin to comprehend the loss this devastation brings. I visit with the assumption that food and conversation will assuage some of the pain. What do make for a friend who has recently lost her better half? Nothing I say or do can compensate for that loss.  But I try with humor and refreshments. 

This is a chai paani visit. In Indian terms, it means an afternoon of eating snacks like samosas, bhel and drinking copious amounts of tea, all the above interspersed with peals of laughter. I add a sweetish element with the muffins. I say sweetish as they are not full of the sugar rush experience. No white sugar, but a little brown sugar and honey add just enough sweetness. Orange blossom honey is my first choice, but clover or regular honey should work as well. The hardest part about making these muffins is taking the skins of the darn orange segments. I use easy-to-peel clementines, as this is orange season, but navel oranges would work just as well. I zest the skin and then peel each segment while my fingertips wither slightly, and I'm left with a pile of oranges pieces. No....most of the segments do not remain intact. But that's okay, as I need them in pieces for the batter. Sifted flour, baking powder and soda are gently mixed into melted butter, milk, cream, eggs, honey and sugar. It is an easy batter and bakes up moist and delicious.

Makes 12 regular muffins and 12 mini muffins OR 16 regular muffins

2 cups all purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 stick Butter
3 Eggs
2 big Clementines or Navel Oranges
1/4 cup Cream
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup Orange Blossom or regular Honey
1/4 cup light Brown Sugar
Confectioners Sugar

Line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake wrappers. Or butter the muffin pan generously. Use two pans if you are using all the batter to make regular muffins.

Spray 12 small fluted tart molds with nonstick spray.

Melt butter over low heat. Cool slightly.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Zest both oranges.

Peel the segments.

Heat oven to 375F.

Place zest, segments, brown sugar, honey, cream, milk and eggs in a bowl. Whisk well till combined.

Slowly pour cooled melted butter into batter. If the butter is hot, it will scramble the eggs.

Dump sifted flour into batter. Fold gently with a spatula or spoon till you do not see and specks of flour.

Divide batter into lined muffin pans.

Regular muffins need to be filled to 1/2 inch below the rim of the wrapper.

Fluted tart molds will need 2 tablespoons of batter in each mold.

Bake for 20 minutes or till a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the centre of the muffin.

Wait for a few minutes till muffins are cool enough to handle. 

Gently squeeze the fluted molds to release muffins.

Dust muffins with confectioners sugar using a mesh strainer.


Chai paani segues into the dinner hour. Our chatty afternoon goes by in a flash as we walk down memory lane, rage against the current political monstrosities and we laugh over golden oldies music from way back when. We miss your dear friend Sanjeev. I feel relief as I see the Choudry family smiling again.