Earl Grey & Orange Muffins

These muffins came about as a result from my weekly brainstorming about scones, tea, and English snacks in preparation for my Sunday English connection recipe in celebration of a new Downton Abbey.  Tune in Sunday evenings 9/8 central on PBS!

I love using a glass measuring cup instead of a small bowl when baking – it is easy to handle, easy to microwave, and easy to wash – just throw it in the dishwasher.  
I used Tazo tea for this recipe.  The earl grey is a lovely flavor – black tea with the orange flavor of bergamot and a touch of lavender.  
To include the tea in these muffins, I simply cut open 4 tea bags and poured them into a measuring spoon.  Then, I mixed the tea directly into the flour mixture.  

I added orange zest to bring out the bergamot flavor even more.  I used about 1/2 an orange for the zest in this recipe.

Make a well in the dry ingredients to make mixing easier.  
I like my muffins bigger so I filled only 11 cups for this recipe. 
As you can see, there are already a few missing – these were pretty popular around here this afternoon.  These lovely muffins turn a nice golden brown – they almost remind me of a lemon poppy seed but I think the flavor is more subtle and less sweet.  The muffin recipe below, from Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book, minus the flavorings, is a perfect base for any muffin.  Just swap in other ingredients.
Blueberry muffins – add 1 cup blueberries.  
Chocolate chip muffins – add 1 cup chocolate chips.  
Lemon poppy seed – add 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, plus increase sugar to 1/2 cup.  
Cranberry muffins – add 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries plus 2 extra tablespoons sugar.  

Banana muffins – reduce milk to 1/2 cup, add 3/4 cup mashed banana, and no paper liners.

Earl Grey & Orange Muffins – makes 11 – 12 muffins, adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book

1. Grease eleven or twelve 2-1/2 inch muffin cups or line with paper liners, set aside.  In a medium mixing bowl combine 1-3/4 cups flour, 1/3 cup sugar, and 2 teaspoons baking powder.  Add 2 tablespoons early grey tea (from about 4 teabags) and 1 tablespoon orange zest.  Mix well.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

2. In another mixing bowl, or glass measuring cup, combine 1 egg, 1/4 cup melted margarine or butter, and 3/4 cup (almond) milk. Add the egg mixture all at once to the dry mixture.  Stir just until moistened – batter will be lumpy.

3.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan, filling each cup 2/3 full.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, till golden.  Cool in pan, on a rack for 5 minutes.  Remove and serve warm.

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