Olive oil muffins

There's a restaurant, Maialino, in New York City that I've heard great things about.  I haven't had the chance to eat there but honestly, there are so many amazing restaurants in NYC that it's impossible to keep up.  
Specifically, I heard a lot about Maialino's olive oil cake and the recipe is available at Food52.  I remember seeing the recipe and being interested but ultimately passing on it because...well, it's hard to explain but in that moment, it seemed like almost too much cake.  It called for a lot of olive oil and I just thought it might be a treat best saved for eating out where you can savor a slice with your mate. 
I still haven't made it to Maialino but now I have a good idea what their signature cake tastes like, thanks to David Lebovitz!  Instead of cake, it's in muffin form (individual cakes we can justify eating in the morning - even better!), which is also how it's available at the restaurant.  It's just what I'd been looking for without realizing it - a small scale recipe!  Apparently, David had brunch there recently and the olive oil muffin made an impression on him so he took the cake recipe available at Food52 and reworked it into muffin form.  All I can say is...thank you, David!  
Now I totally get what all the raves are about.  These muffins are really good.  You might look at it and think it's just another muffin but truly, it exceeded my expectations.  They're moist and flavorful - with fruity extra-virgin olive oil and a flavor of orange, as the batter is infused with fresh orange zest, and a combination of orange juice and Grand Marnier liqueur.  You end up with a full-bodied cake/muffin that has a great mouthfeel in every bite.  My husband and I were both surprised by just how good it was. 
Baking the muffins in these paper muffin molds mimics how they arrive at the restaurant.  I love these baking cups and I'm seriously thinking I need to find a good bulk source because not only are they great to use in a practical sense, they make your muffins and cakes look pastry-shop ready!  The paper molds I used are slightly larger than the ones David uses so for a half recipe, I ended up with 3 muffins (instead of 4).  One made a perfect size for breakfast though you don't want to stop eating at all.  I can tell you they stayed lovely and moist the next day so next time I make these, I will bulk up my output.  


David's recipe makes 8 muffins.  Since he gives weight measurements, it was easy to divide the recipe in half to make a few for a taste test in my first go-round.  I didn't realize the paper molds I had, which are 2.75 inch by 2 inch high, were slightly larger than the ones he used so I ended up with 3 muffins...three very good muffins.
If you like a simple hand-mix batter, this is one of those.  Since we're talking about olive oil muffins, using a good extra-virgin olive oil is obviously recommended.  I used Rao's extra-virgin olive oil, which I just bought along with a bunch of their other products.  We were in Las Vegas recently on vacation and got to eat at the Rao's restaurant there (if you're familiar with the restaurant in New York, you know it's essentially impossible to get a table there unless you really know somebody); the food was fantastic and it inspired me to come home and order a ton of Rao's food products (you probably know already but in case you don't, their jarred marinara sauce is the best).
I love cakes and baked goods with orange flavor and this one has some orange zest and a mixture of orange juice and Grand Marnier liqueur together.  It all works beautifully with the olive oil somehow and I highly recommend following along with the recipe.
My muffins took about half an hour in the oven to rise and set.  It's lovely when cooled and you've got that crusty top going on.  Even when you lose that crust, you've still got all the moist and flavorful cake to enjoy.
I was a little worried that I might have over-mixed the batter (despite consciously trying not to) since my muffins weren't as fluffy as David's looked.  Luckily, a few bites told me that all was well.  These are some seriously delicious muffins.  Give them a try if you think they're something you'd enjoy!  These make a fabulous treat for brunch...and I know we all love brunch!

Recipe:

Olive Oil Muffins
From David Lebovitz, adapted from Maialino restaurant's olive oil cake recipe via Food52

- Makes 6 to 8 muffins (depending on size) - 

1 1/3 cups (185g) flour
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (180ml) fruity extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup (180ml) whole or lowfat milk
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1/3 cup (80ml) mixed: half fresh orange juice, half Grand Marnier

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Set eight (2 1/2 x 1 3/4 inch) paper muffin cups on a baking sheet.  [I used slightly larger ones that are 2 3/4 x 2 inch high, which will fill 6 muffins.  Alternatively, you can use regular muffin cups, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 way.]

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Make a well in the center of the bowl.

Whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest, and mixture of orange juice/Grand Marnier together in a medium bowl.  

Pour the wet ingredients in the center or well of the dry ingredients.  Stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.  Do not overmix, which will cause the muffins to be tough; small lumps in the batter is fine.

Fill muffin molds 2/3 to 3/4 way full.  Bake until the center is just set and muffins tops are golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes (check early since mine were ready in about 30 minutes).  Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.  

Muffins can be kept in an airtight container, at room temperature, for 2-3 days. Though you lose the fresh crusty tops you get with a fresh muffin, they stay nice and moist and the flavor even develops a bit more the next day.  




40 comments:

  1. Very moist and delicious! I love the smooth fine texture and the beautiful golden colour.

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  2. The ability to make truly great muffins eludes me, and these look like truly great muffins! Maybe I was simply lacking the right recipe before?(One can hope!) I know olive oil does amazing things to the texture and moisture in cakes and cookies, so your tempting description of these muffins makes them hard to resist! You are my go-to person for small batch wonders, Monica!

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    1. You must have very high standards but that's certainly a good thing. : ) I was really surprised by how good these were. My hubby and I are big fans. Recipes with gram measures make dividing into small batches so easy, though David L. already shrank it down a lot to begin with.

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  3. I recently read David's post and love that you made it! The texture looks ahhhhmazing! Really a gorgeous treat and you know we enjoy a little Grand Marnier in our baking over here. Hope you had a lovely weekend!

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    1. David is the man! : ) These muffins were so good. You will definitely enjoy them, Tricia! Time to bring out that Grand Marnier. ; )

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  4. These muffins look delicious, Monica! Sometimes the best recipes are those that don't *look* extraordinary but actually are phenomenal. My mom's a big fan of the light citrus tones, so I'll bookmark this for the future (:

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    1. These were so good, Monica. Definitely recommend! Thank you!

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  5. Delicious looking muffins! You know I've never tested out olive oil sweet recipes seriously before. Only once I think I tried a chocolate olive oil cake and wasn't impressed. These muffins are urging me to give it another shot as they look moist, doable and obviously healthy. And David, of course! No messing with the genius.

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    1. I hear you...as you know, if David says it's good, it's going to be good! Love that man! : )

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  6. Muffins! I like... It looks nice and delicious! Thank your recipe! ^^ I will try... Healthoop

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  7. I am totally in love with your muffins! They have to be so moist with that olive oil. Keeping this recipe to make pronto!

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    1. They were very tasty; hope you try them one day!

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  8. The texture on these muffins looks incredible!! I've only recently started playing with olive oil in baking but I am totally in love. Must try these out!

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    1. For whatever reason, I've been reluctant to bake much with olive oil. I guess I assumed the taste might be too strong/fruity. Anyway, these were incredible...highly recommend. : )

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  9. The muffins look really delicious,... I actually love olive oil in muffins.

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    1. Good to know...I will be less shy about using it in baking now.

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  10. Oh Wow! These muffins look so delicious. You know Monica, in Portugal they have exactly the same sort of muffins (Rice Muffins and Olive Oil) thanks for always suggesting great recipes.

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    1. That's very interesting. One of the best things about traveling is learning about culture through food and tasting some amazing things. Those muffins sound wonderful. : )

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  11. Love how moist and delicious these olive oil muffins look. Whenever there is a choice between butter and olive oil, I would always opt for olive oil. So this is a MUST try recipe for me.

    Anu
    www.mygingergarlickitchen.com/

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    1. I cook almost totally with olive oil so I know what you mean. Now I have to start grabbing it for baking...

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  12. These muffins look incredible, Monica! I love the olive oil in here - the texture is perfect, so soft and delicious!

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    1. Kelly, these were so good. We were kind of amazed for some reason. : ) Hope you're having a good week.

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  13. They look so good on the inside, I'd love a bite or two right now.

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    1. I think you'd like it, Adina. Thanks.

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  14. Anything with orange zest and Grand Marnier is a hit with me! I will definitely try these Monica, I love the sound of them. I have plenty of those baking cases which need using! Delicious :-)

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    1. I hear you! I love the punch of flavor from orange zest and Grand Marnier is one of my favorite liqueurs (next to Amaretto). : ) Great to hear from you, Jo! And I want more of these paper molds. I'm hoarding mine since I have to order them and they're a bit more expensive than regular muffin papers.

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  15. These turned out perfect Monica! That's awesome that you recreated these muffins from the NYC restaurant. I bet yours are even better!

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    1. I'm so happy David Lebovitz shared his recipe! So tasty, Ashley!

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  16. I am so glad read your wonderful article. Im looking forward to read more of your works and posts. You did a good job! Try to visit my site too and enjoy.

    triciajoy.com

    www.triciajoy.com

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  17. I love individual treats and this muffins look really good! I'm already imagining a lot of variations for them - chocolate chips, raisins, nuts... yum!

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    1. Making muffins is always relaxing and rewarding, isn't it? And so many varieties and possibilities. I just made my hubby a small batch of blueberry-lemon ones yesterday. : )

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  18. I love olive oil and these muffins look so fluffy and moist!

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    1. I highly recommend them...very yummy!

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  19. These olive oil muffins look and sound magnificent, Monica. I agree with you about the variety of eateries in NYC and the inability to keep up, and also the recommendations on Food52! Thank you for sharing a winning recipe!
    Ciao,
    Roz

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    1. Yes, so many great places to eat. Aren't we all just lucky? : ) Glad to be able to make these at home...very tasty little muffins! : )

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  20. Goodness, Monica, those look absolutely perfect. I LOVE olive oil cake, in general, and you can tell from the photos here that these were major winners. I really have to get some of those muffin papers, too: those make everything look just that much better. definitely trying these.

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    1. I thought they tasted much better than they looked (the paper definitely helps in the looks department!). I think my husband and I were struck by how good they are maybe in part because there's no nuts, no crumble, no spices to speak of to rave about but the muffins were just so delicious. I highly recommend!

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