Clementines are a type of mandarin orange, a botanical cousin (or sibling, maybe? Biology 101, anyone?) to both the satusma (Japanese mandarins) and tangerines (Mediterranean mandarins, named for the Moroccan city of Tangier). The modern orange, with a tangled family tree and offspring of its own, was likely a way-back-when hybrid between mandarins and pomelos.
The cold-hardy citrus makes its way into markets every winter, tucked into charming little fruit crates, and as I am a total sucker for cute packaging I always end up with five or so pounds at Christmastime. Fortunately, clementines are lovely to eat, too: sweet, seedless and easy-to-peel. I’ve wanted to take them beyond snacking and bake with them for awhile now, and this tender, fragrant muffin recipe from Guardian baking columnist Dan Lepard finally fits the bill. (I liked them so much I’ve frozen a batch for our breakfast spread on Christmas morning.) Make the optional glaze if you’ve got a sweet tooth, but I think they’re ethereal all on their own.
Clementine Oat Muffins
adapted from Short and Sweet by Dan Lepard, 2011; makes 9 muffins
- finely grated zest of three clementines
- scant 1/2 C (100 ml) clementine juice and pulp
- 1/2 C + 2 Tbsp (125 g) superfine sugar
- 1/3 C (75 ml) vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 C (50 g) rolled oats (not quick-cooking), plus more for garnish
- 1 1/2 C (200 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
for the (optional) glaze:
- finely grated zest of one clementine
- 1-2 Tbsp clementine juice
- 3/4 C (100 g) powdered sugar
Preheat over to 350 degrees and line muffin tray with paper or foil liners. In a medium bowl combine the sugar, oil and eggs; beat with a hand-mixer for 3-4 minutes, until pale yellow and slightly thickened. Add the juice and mix to combine. Fold in the oats by hand.
In a medium bowl, whisk the baking powder and flour. Fold into the wet mixture until just combined. Spoon into the prepared liners, about 4/5 of the way up. Sprinkle with a bit of oats to garnish, if desired.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden and a toothpick comes out nearly clean, with just a few crumbs (if it’s wet, it’s not done, but take care not to overbake).
Remove, and if using, stir the glaze ingredients together and spoon over the muffins while hot. Let cool completely before serving.
Note: I adapted this recipe from the metric standard, but included the original measurements in the event you’ve got a scale at home. The original recipe also called for two medium eggs.