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Marmalade Muffins
Marmalade Muffins Marmalade-filled muffins with even more marmalade on top; courtesy of David Reamer.

We’ve always been the kind of girl who slathers her morning muffin with a generous spoonful of jam. But Portland chef John Gorham convinced us there’s a better way to marry fruity spreads with simple baked goods. At his restaurant Tasty n Alder, Gorham fills his muffins with marmalade. The move gives the muffins a slightly bitter center that plays well with the sweet crunchy domes--and instantly pleases the jam lovers among us. We splurged on artisanal marmalade and pearl sugar to make these sunshiny beauties, then spent a leisurely Sunday enjoying them at home.

Makes 12 muffins (plus about 2 cups simple syrup)
Start to Finish: 45 minutes

Ingredients

Vanilla Simple Syrup

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

1 vanilla bean--pod split and scraped, seeds reserved

 

Marmalade Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1¼ cups low-fat sour cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

¼ cup orange marmalade

2 tablespoons pearl sugar

Directions

1. Make the syrup. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with the water, then add the vanilla bean pod and seeds. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside to cool completely.

2. Make the muffins: Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400˚.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the butter, sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest. Add half the egg mixture to the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold until just combined. Add the remaining egg mixture to the flour mixture and fold until just combined. (The batter will seem lumpy; do not overmix.)

4. Using an ice-cream scoop, fill each muffin cup one-third full with batter. Add roughly a teaspoon of marmalade to each cup, then divide the remaining batter among the cups. (The batter should be level with the top of the tin.) Sprinkle the pearl sugar evenly over the top of the muffins, then bake for 18 minutes or until a tester stick inserted into the center comes out clean.

5. Remove the muffins from the oven and brush the tops liberally with the simple syrup. (Reserve remaining syrup for another use.) Cool the muffins slightly, then remove them from the tin and serve immediately or at room temperature.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Stop by one of John Gorham’s restaurants next time you’re in Portland.

  • Refrigerate the remaining syrup and use it to glaze other baked goods or to sweeten your next cup of coffee. (Remove the vanilla bean pod or let it continue to steep in the syrup.) It will keep for roughly one month.

  • Look for pearl sugar (essentially a coarse sugar that doesn’t melt) in specialty cooking stores or online.

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