When I was an intern at a television production house in DC in 2007, my only aim was to secure a permanent position at the end of my internship so that I could continue to stay in America. We were around 5 interns and only 2 positions were available so everyone brought their A game to work. We were the yes interns. We were up for anything: helping editors late into the night with the scripts, coffee runs, filing and organising every boring administrative project, 6 am call times, lifting heavy equipment and even pretending to workout to keep up with our very fit German boss who at the age of 65 still biked 10 miles to work everyday. If all this wasn't enough, I started baking to really one up my fellow interns. It didn't matter what time I got back to my aunt's house (she was kind enough to put me up, do my laundry and feed me chicken curry when I got really home sick), I would make a batch of cookies, a bundt cake or muffins to bring into work the next day.
Suddenly everyone knew my name, even our aloof boss Andre. He would thank me profusely for whatever I brought in and made sure to stop by the pantry every morning to check if there were any goodies. I used a few recipes on repeat and more often than not, I turned to my favourite, Ina Garten. Her orange chocolate bundt cake was fantastic and I would bake it often in muffin tins to spare everyone the messiness of slicing and cleaning up afterwards. The bright, zingy citrus flavour married really well with that of the rich, decadent chocolate and it was hard to just eat one.
I would like to think it was my hard work and smarts that finally landed me the job at the end of summer but I'd be lying. It was most definitely the muffins. I have been baking some version of the recipe for years now and was happy to stumble upon this one. It was easy, light and tasted as good as Ina's. Give either of the recipe a go if you need a little pick me up or impress your boss.
Orange Muffins- adapted from pretty.simple.sweet
Yields: 12 standard-sized muffins
- 150g granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoon orange zest
- 250g all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup freshly squeezed and strained orange juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup add-in of your choice: dark or white chocolate chips, berries, raisins, nuts
Pistachio Topping (optional)- adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons orange juice
- 50 gm pistachio (shelled)
- 1 tsp orange zest
- Preheat oven to 190C. Grease 6-8 muffin cups or line them with liner papers.
- In a large bowl, toss together sugar and orange zest. Add flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix to combine. In another medium bowl, whisk eggs with oil, buttermilk, orange juice, and vanilla extract until well combined. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it, then stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula just until combined. Do not over mix. Fold in add-ins if you are using any.
- Divide batter evenly between muffin cups (almost all the way to the top). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from the tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the pistachio topping: In a small pan, add all the ingredients and let it come to a simmer on low heat. Once muffins have cooled, pour glaze over the tops using a tablespoon, letting it drizzle down the sides.