Every now and then I run across a recipe for something with what immediately sounds like unusual ingredients for the genre. Then the more I think about it the more I ‘get it’. Such was the case when one of my blog idols, The Food Librarian , plucked this recipe from the Giada Delaurentis archive at The Food Network. After a minute or two of contemplation, I just knew I had to make it. I appreciate baked goods that aren’t too sweet yet have lots of flavor and while I’ve baked with Olive Oil before there was just something about the idea of adding balsamic vinegar to the mix that I just new would work. Balsamic is not just for salads! The effects of drizzling it on strawberries is legendary. So why not muffin? The other nice thing about this recipe is that its ingredient list is comprised of things you are more than likely going to have at the ready. Don’t have almonds? This would be quite good even with roasted pine nuts! Seriously. I may even try these with extra lemon and a hint of basil… This muffin definitely makes me think.
Last week I was fortunate to find the last remaining jar of Spiced Fig Jam that I made last fall. I think the jar was hiding out in the pantry closet waiting for me to make something worthy of its inclusion. Outstanding combination. I broke down and had to have two. (I never do that.)
I’m including some extra shots with this post because I’m still trying to master the lighting in food photography. I set up a makeshift light box in the garage but I’m not so sure I’m doing it correctly. Too many shadows flying around. This natural light picture below looks much more vibrant:
Olive Oil Muffins
This is what you will need:
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 4 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2/3 cup sliced almonds
- Powdered sugar, for sifting
This is how you make it:
- 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.
Update: I remade this recipe again but doubled the lemon zest and omitted the orange. I added 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves. They turned out amazing. Here's the updated recipe: