Sunday, February 17

Honeyed Orange Ginger Muffins (Quat, Optional)


It's February, cold, snowy, blustery February. The time when children and adults don their cozy mittens and puffy jackets to go sledding or ice skating or -- best of all -- build snowmen. That is if you live somewhere where there's weather. You know like "cold," "snow," "storm" and, the granddaddy of them all, "blizzard."

Since I'm in San Diego, I won't be building snowmen anytime soon (it was in the '70s earlier this week). So I've been occupying myself with a different winter pastime -- experimenting in the kitchen with the "quats."

After my success with Coconut Lemonquat Cake, I was inspired to keep baking.

So I wrote my next Kitchen Window article for NPR on kumquats, where I have recipes for:

  • Watercress and Endive Salad with Kumquats
  • Kumquat and Dried Cherry Chutney
  • Tilapia with Kumquat Citrus Butter
  • Coconut Kumquat Tea Cake
Now it's time for muffins. I actually made three different versions of this recipe, until this past Saturday, when the stars and elements aligned, creating the perfect muffin. Yes, that's a bold statement to make, but after you taste one, you may agree.

Orangequats (also called mandarinquats) are a citrus hybrid of kumquats and oranges. Don’t let their diminutive size fool you. These remarkably juicy fruits have a big, bold orange flavor that is twinged with tartness. Like kumquats, the entire fruit is edible, including the thin rind. Just watch out for a couple of tiny seeds inside that need to be removed (or spit out, when no one's looking).

Orangequats are wonderful for savory salsas on top of pork and seafood or sliced atop a salad of bitter greens such as frisee. For sweet dishes, try them sprinkled on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream, sliced and dipped in chocolate, or baked into cakes and muffins.

These sprightly yellow muffins taste and look like sunshine has been baked right into them. When you bite into one, you'll taste hints of honey, ginger, and vanilla and find them chock full of plump, sweet golden raisins and flecks of brightly colored orangequats. So I'm sending them to Lia of Swirling Notions, this week's gracious host of the wonderful Weekend Herb Blogging, created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen.

Don't despair if you can't find orangequats. These muffins are wonderful with navel oranges as well. I know, I've made and eaten both.

Honeyed Orange Ginger Muffins (Quat, Optional)
Makes 12 muffins.
Print recipe only here.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup freshly squeezed navel orange juice (about 2 oranges)
1/4 cup finely minced navel orange pulp (OR, if using orangequats, 3-4 de-seeded fruits, rinds included, minced until pulpy, about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon navel orange zest (about 1 orange)
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup coarsely chopped golden raisins

Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Spray a 12 mold regular size muffin pan with cooking spray.

If using orangequats, then de-seed them by slicing the fruits into rounds with a sharp pairing knife. Using the tip of the knife, gently pluck out the seeds.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, egg, and juice. Add the orange pulp, orange zest, ginger, honey, and vanilla, and whisk until just combined. Add to the flour mixture and stir quickly until well combined. Fold in the raisins. Spoon the batter evenly into the 12 molds.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing each muffin and placing on a wire rack to cool.

You might also like:
Date, Fennel, and Pistachio Scones
Persimmon and Date Bread
Banana Coconut Almond Bread
Warm Banana and Citrus Cups

Other orange-y desserts I've admired:
Orange Poppy Seed Cake with Candied Kumquats
from Swirling Notions
Orange, Chocolate, and Ricotta Cake from Lucullian Delights
Orange Creme Caramel from Trial and Error

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Abby said...

I've only had a kumquat once - in Florida. The home where I was staying had an indoor pool, where the owners grew kumquats! I tried to ignore the fact that they were grown in a chloring-air-filled room, but I love just eating the little treat whole. So cute!

I wonder if I can find them around here...

Peter M said...

Susan, I'll have a good smear of butter with those muffins please and thank you very much!

Simona Carini said...

I still have not seen these little jewels in the store. Today I made orange ice cream and I would love to try adjusting the recipe for orangequats.

Suganya said...

Ah! Just where you get all these fancy citrus... You make me jealous, Susan. I yoo-hoo-ed for finding tangerines in my local grocery.

Anonymous said...

How did you know orange muffins were my favorite? ;)

Manggy said...

Wow, I feel like I could finish those all in one go. I tried to make muffins exactly once, but it was a magnificent flop.. I still feel the pain.. (dramatic)
Your pictures have given me some more courage :)

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Kumquats, lemonquats, orangequats? Never seen or eaten them. But orange and ginger seems a nice combination and your muffins look very nice and moist.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Kumquats are so great. I recently made marmalade out them - awesome. So I can imagine what this was like. AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

Ginger and orange is such a wonderful combination. It's one of my new favorites.
I can nearly taste the sunshine :)

Toni said...

I love kumquats - kind of miniature oranges with an attitude. These muffins look like they'd be the best breakfast EVER!

David Hall said...

Absolutely superb muffins! So much so that I'm going to make them this week with my daughter. Thanks for that, just what I needed.


Asha said...

Never tried Quats so far! Ginger and Orange sounds good. Enjoy the sunshine in San Diego. Temp is up here but raining because of the Tornado in Alabama today.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

abby-Yeah, I wouldn't pair chlorine with kumquats either. Good luck in your search!

peter-Two pats of buttah comin' up!

simona-You could try they sell all types of produce. Or you could just take a trip to San Diego. I'd have you over for dinner. :)

suganya-I love Minneola tangerines. They're definitely worth yoo-hooin' over!

maryann-I'll have to remember that next time you're in San Diego!

manggy-Trust me, I have had my fair share of flopped muffins, but I swear these are good ones to try, even for the muffin-impaired. ;)

aparna-I do hope you find some. The muffins are great with navel oranges too.

meeta-I love kumquat marmalade.

linda-That is so lovely, thanks.

toni-You're right --they do have big "A"!

david-You just made my day!

asha-Stay safe and dry!

MeloMeals said...


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A gorgeous combination! Nice muffins! I love kumquats...



Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

All these posts about quats are making my mouth water! I've only seen kumquats here in New England -- so maybe a trip to California is in order.

Patricia Scarpin said...

These look delish! I love citrus. And muffins. :)

Mike of Mike's Table said...

These sound delicious and I'm on a muffin bent now, too, so I'll have to try this out. I was dismayed to not find any -quats at the store beyond the usual kumquats after you got my mouth watering last time.

RecipeGirl said...

Oh dear, another one of those fruits I've never eaten or cooked with. I love to pick up new things like that up and experiment. Your blog has inspired me to go searching for them. From your pics, looks like you picked them up at a Farmer's market in town?

cmoore said...

What a beautiful post! I love your NPR article, too. My first and thus far only experience with (kum)quats was rather negative: they were halved and served with a bit of burnt caramel atop a mascarpone-pine-nut torte. I think in slightly smaller servings (chopped, thinly sliced, pureed) they might be a bit more palatable...

Anonymous said...

Great post! The muffins look brilliant and I really enjoyed your NPR article. I wish I could get the quat variations, but I'm happy to have plain old kumquats to play with.

Brilynn said...

I've never had kumquats before, let alone orangequats, but I'm determined to find and use some this year.

Kajal@aapplemint said...

Susan , i only discovered kumquats last year , and am in love with them every since. Cant find them everywhere, but for me i get them only when i'm in Hongkong. The coconut lemonquat cake looks gorgeous , so do the muffins. U've got me craving come girl :D

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I feel deprived - It's been raining in NY, and I haven't seen anything that sunny at the market in months! Thanks for a ray of sunshine from the West Coast!

Rachael said...

ooh, more tantalizing recipes! I still haven't tried a kumquat. I bought a bag of them after one of your previous posts but I forgot that I bought them and had to throw them out : ( next time, I'll remember

Pixie said...

I'm so in the mood to bake today. These muffins sound delicious and how lucky of you to have such wonderful weather!

Swati said...

Too good muffins Susan..Just mouthwatering!!

Susan from Food Blogga said...


rosa-Many thanks!

lydia-It was sunny and warm yesterday.

patricia-I know you love citrus, so these should be to your liking!

mike-Good luck with the search.:)

recipegirl-Yup, the farmers' markets are the best.

cmoore-I agree, smaller pieces are much more palatable especially for the first time! Thanks for the kind words about my article too.

ann-Thank you so much, I enjoyed writing it.

brilynn-Good luck!

kate-The ones you get in Hong Kong must be splendid.

tw-Glad it brightened your day. :)

rachael-Oh, no, poor kumquats! Put them right in the front next time so you remember. :)

pixie-We are lucky.

sigarcraft-Oh, thanks!

Cakelaw said...

Hi Susan, these do look perfect! I have never seen nor tried orangequats before (nor kumquats for that matter!) - thanks for the strking photo of them at the top of your post. Will bookmark this - I am always after the perfect muffin for morning tea to go with my never-ending quest for the non-boring lunch.

Veron said...

look at those adorable muffins. Makes me want to reach through my monitor and grab one. I've never tried ginger in baked goods before...must try!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That tea cake looks so happy! I love kumquats and I don't think I've seen the orangequats. I will be looking now.

Chibog in Chief said...

one word: gorgeous!! i love all these wonderful flavors trapped in this little muffin :-)

Half Baked said...

The muffins look mouthwatering! I have never heard of orangequats either, but they look delish!

Ivy said...

Susan they look great. Never seen kumquats in our farmers' markets but only in Corfu. I've tried a liqueur made of kumquats and its great not only to drink but in sweet and savory dishes.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic recipe! And thanks for the lesson in citrus! Those muffins sound like a really fantastic combination! Bravo.

Annemarie said...

Those look and sound wonderful. I sadly don't think I could lay my hands on those fruit since I'm nowhere near a San Diego-like climate, but I shall live vicariously.

Scribbit said...

Orangequats sound terrific--I'd never known about those guys!

And I thought of you this weekend, my sister and brother in law came back to town and for dinner I decided to make their favorite, Phad Thai, which oddly enough I've never had but heard it's good. Yes, I know you're not supposed to have an experiment when guests come but the recipe was too exciting to resist. And it was so fun to do--I had a terrific time and it turned out fabulous. I had to think of you and your cooking prowess and think you'd have been just a little proud of me :)

Anonymous said...

Those kumquats looks divine! and we would like to order a dozen of your beauteous muffins please. Do you offer espresso's too? :) Thanks!

Stella said...

I so want one of your muffins right now!
I'd love to taste the Kumquats in 'em!

KayKat said...

Orangequats?! Crazy! I'm hoppin' jealous now!

Yum, yum, yum! Send me some, please? :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for linking to my blog on your cranberry entry! these orange-ginger muffins look amazing... i must try them soon! :)

Nora B. said...

I believe you Susan, these do look like perfect muffins and from the recipe, I can only imagine how perfect they would taste!

Susan @ SGCC said...

These look like the perfect bright, sunshiney muffins to wake up with. I only wish I could find orangequats around here. :(

Susan from Food Blogga said...

cakelaw-These are definitely "not boring." Hope you give 'em a try!

veronica-Fresh ginger is lovely in baked goods.

tanna-And it made me happy when I ate it!

dhanggit-Trapped and happy together!

halfbaked-Oh, thanks! Glad you know about them now.

ivy-Liquer would be lovely too. I really like limoncello.

joy-Oh, many thanks!

annemarie-Maybe a trip is in order? ;)

michelle- I am proud. And jealous--I wish I was invited. Pad thai is one of my favorites!

white on rice-Only if you ask really nicely. ;)

valentina-Sweet and tangy!

kaykat-Well that's cause they're hoppin' good!

riceandwheat-You're welcome!

nora-Like sunshine was baked inside!

susan-They're great with regular oranges too.

SteamyKitchen said...

Love the NPR story!!!

I grow, er, trying to grow limequats. Some nasty bug is getting to the leaves though.

zlamushka said...

Susan, this is funny, casue I just posted a huge Christmas kumquat cake on my blog. We must think alike ;-)

Mansi said...

awesome! just drizzle some more honey on those muffins and I'll relish all of them:)

Andrea said...

I haven't seen any produce that pretty in several months! I enjoyed your article at NPR!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

jaden-Thanks! Pesky bugs. Darn.

zlamushka-I'll be checking it out!

mansi-I like the way you think. :)

andrea-Oh, thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great combination! I love kumquats as well.

Elizabeth said...

I really like the sound of the ginger in these. Good idea, Susan!


P.S. You make mittens, puffy jackets and snow seem so fun and inviting! And then I look out the window and see MORE snow falling here. Hmmm. I think I'd rather be where you are....

Kalyn Denny said...

They certainly look perfect all right! Yummy. Maybe I can send you some of our snow; I certainly don't want it.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

scientist-Then you've gotta try these muffins. Thanks for stopping by!

elizabeth-Your "P.S." sounds like what my mom says.:)

kalyn-Sure, I'll take a little, just not too much. What would I do about the mittens? ;)