Orange Rosemary Muffins with Pinenuts

I already wrote this once today.  You know, when you sit down and immerse yourself in a post, wallowing in the moment of getting everything just right, choosing the perfect photos, and salivating all over again over what you made.  No, not on it.  About it.

And then your browser shuts down.  The post is lost, and your motivation to begin again is just not there.

That would be me, now.  And the feeling overshadows the fun I had this morning making these lovely muffins.  So I’m trying to suck it up and get rolling once more.

You’ve already looked at the photo and are wondering where I could have come up with this one.  Or maybe you’re not wondering and you just want me to stop blathering and get on with it.  I don’t blame you.

So here’s the short version:  We’re going to Italy this summer.  Although some of the time will be spent near Florence, the bulk of our time will be spent in Rome and Sorrento near the Amalfi coast where lemons are everywhere.  So I’ve had citrus on my mind and when Helene of Tartelette chose citrus as the featured flavor of Sugar High Friday #43, well, I surprised myself by choosing not lemons as I’d been planning, but oranges.

And I just happened to have these cute little Italian terra cotta pots…



*** Someone brought it to my attention that I left out an ingredient quantity — 1 tsp. baking soda.  Thanks!

  • The terra cotta pots hold exactly 8oz. or 1 cup.  Comparatively, large muffin cups also hold 8 oz. and the more standard 12-muffin pans hold 4 oz. or 1/2 cup.
  • I used a convection setting at 375 degrees F and checked the muffins at 10 minutes, then in 3 minute intervals until they were nicely golden brown, no longer wet-looking on the top, and a wooden skewer inserted in the center came out clean.  I am still not buying the often described 20 percent reduction on heat and time for convection ovens.  I think it depends on what I’m cooking.  At most, I keep an eye on the food, and reduce the temp if things begin to get brown too fast, but rarely by more than 5 or 10 degrees.  Not very scientific, but I’ve been experimenting with my oven for 3-1/2 years, and nothing’s completely conclusive, just with any other oven you have to get to know.
  • I’m thinking you could add 50 percent more rosemary to this and pine nuts that are more coarsely chopped so there’s more of a crunch in every bite.  The flavors are very nice together.
  • The muffins are excellent without the glaze that we just drizzled on after removing them from the pots, and I had the juice from the orange, so why not?The crema fresca natural is a very thick, but pourable table cream that has the slightest bit of sourness, but nothing near to our sour cream or even creme fraiche, which would work fine in this recipe.  It can be located in the deli case at your grocery store along with other Mexican creams and cheeses if you’re lucky.
  • The texture of these muffins is fine, and extremely moist.  The top and sides have a nice crunch which presents a great contrast.  The fragrance is lovely.
  • I wish I could take credit for the terra cotta pots, but I saw the idea in a Jamie Oliver cookbook in a cheese bread recipe and actually bought them for that.  They worked so well, expect to see more later.  I’ve got requests from family about what comes next.
  • And I’m already wondering whether some extra virgin olive oil instead of all the butter would work with these muffins.  A little less saturated fat never hurt anyone.  And it’s more…Italian.  Ciao!


15 thoughts on “Orange Rosemary Muffins with Pinenuts

  1. Well I’m glad you found the inspiration to type this up. Very creative and beautiful presentation. The terra cotta pots serves as a pretty but functional method of cooking. Briliant!

  2. I know how terrible it is to write about a happy cooking/baking and have an equal amount of fun with the writing and then have it go out in a puff of smoke. Even since I’ve become a save fanatic it still happens.
    But then you say you’re going to Italy and I don’t feel so bad for you 😉
    Your terra cotta pots are really fun and perfect. The muffins are terrific – what could beat rosemary, pine nuts and Italy!!! Wonderful

  3. The clay pots are adorable..I also have some in my stash
    for the same purpose, but never acted on the idea. Do you soak the pots first? I would love to know how you
    went about finding places to rent for your Italy trip..We
    would end up in a hotel. I think that is really cool, staying in an apartment during the trip..

  4. Thanks, Courtney. Writing it again soothed the savage beast so to speak. Thank goodness!
    Tanna, I’ll be you do know. We all do, right? And you’re right about not needing to feel bad, because Italy is pretty wonderful to look forward to. Can’t wait.
    Hi Melissa — The pots don’t need soaking first. I thought about giving them a good coat of fat, but didn’t the parchment & spray worked really well and the muffins slide right out with the parchment snug around them. As far as doing the apartment thing in Italy goes, I read through Rick Steves just to find some leads on connecting things. We’re doing the entire trip without a car, so it’s been interesting to plan. The apartment in Rome is leased by a company that has lots of them to choose from. We ended up with a little hotel in sorrento, but are waiting for confirmation on a villa outside Florence that is 10 separate apartments. I’d die without the internet. I spend lots of time searching and bookmarking…

  5. Oh how I hate when I lose a post. 🙁
    I love the muffins being baked in the pots, very Spring. I also like the use of pine nuts.

  6. these are so cute! I found the link to this on tastespotting, was immediately intrigued by the flower pots idea! very nice work!

  7. Ciao Bella~
    The oranges, the pine nuts, and the rosemary bring back memories of bella Italia. I just got home and am in real need of a real cappuccino.
    The poppies were blooming and the weather was perfetto. You will have a wonderful time.

  8. these muffins really look delicious and the composition of the photos is very nice. I’m glad to read that there are so many people that love Italy and italian food! I’m italian and I think that Italy is a wonderful place for holidays, I spent 28 years there and when we have time we love to spent our holiday discovering new Italian places .

  9. Hi.
    These sounds delicious.
    Could you tell me how much baking soda and salt to add?
    I would like that. Thanx

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