It got sunny and beautiful over the weekend; and to top that, we got an extra day to lounge around.
Sun and clear skies make perfect road-trip weather in winter, so we grabbed the opportunity and took a day trip down south to Seattle. We drove along quaint and scenic backroads like the Chuckanut Drive listening to Highlife music on Spotify and zooming past charming farmlands.
In Seattle, we were enthralled by the magnificent space and sculptures at the Chihuly Glass and Garden. We went from turn to turn, just going, “wow!”
Inspired by our vibrant and colourful day, the next day I wanted to come up with an exciting breakfast to share with our friends who came back with us to scout wedding venues. I wanted something that felt special, hearty yet light and sweet with hints of romance. It does help that Valentine’s Day is coming up.
I think these blood orange poppy seed muffins fit the bill perfectly.
I’ve always found blood oranges seductive. That they are in season this time of year makes them even more alluring, perhaps it’s nature’s gift of love to us?
These muffins are inspired by the much loved lemon poppy seed bread. It’s citrusy, thanks to the addition of zest from the blood oranges, and has a delightful crunch from poppy seeds. There’s a touch of cardamom in the batter; it’s barely noticeable but I’m convinced it’s just the warm touch the oranges need to shine.
I also toast the poppy seeds for a few minutes to enhance its pleasing nutty flavours. It has the perfect amount of sweetness, just perfect for pairing with a hot cup of tea.
Our muffins did not last long; we brewed a large pot of tea and spent our morning lounging. There’s something magical about sharing in wonderfully ordinary acts with loved ones.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (or white whole-wheat flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar (pure cane sugar or light brown sugar works too)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Zest from 2 medium sized blood oranges
- Juice from zested oranges, about 1/2 cup
- 1/2 cup almond milk (or some other nut milk)
- 1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted (safflower or canola oil works too)
- 1/2 cup apple sauce
- 1 teaspoon pure orange extract (or vanilla extract)
- Toast poppy seeds first by putting them in a small skillet over medium-high heat, stir continuously for 2 – 3 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line muffin pan with baking cups (liners)
- In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and baking soda
- Add cooled poppy seeds, sugar, salt, cardamom and orange zest
- In a smaller bowl, whisk blood orange juice, almond milk, coconut oil together
- Stir in apple sauce and vanilla extract and mix well to combine
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in the wet ingredients and stir until evenly combined and batter is smooth
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan to about 3/4th full each
- Place in the oven and bake for 18 – 25 minutes until tops are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin just comes out clean