Years ago I picked up a ‘Best of the Best’ cookbook while traveling through Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. It was one of those modest-looking regional cookbooks bound with a plastic comb that might have been compiled by a local church or rotary club. This muffin recipe is a favorite from that book, although I’ve since lost my copy and fear it has been accidentally donated. Last week I found the recipe on a sheet of paper that I’d typed for my mom, and although it’s not pumpkin-spiced or fall-themed, I couldn’t wait to share it. The muffins make a nice breakfast at any time of year and they are extremely easy to make.
I remember the recipe’s headnote stated the origin was from Sedberry Hotel, a McMinnville Tennessee establishment (and apparently a pretty ritzy one for the place and time) which opened in early 1900. It closed in the 1950’s, but thankfully the muffins survived.
My first advice before making these muffins is to check your pantry and stock up on orange extract if necessary. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons in the batter and 2 tablespoons in the glaze (1/4 cup total!). I was dubious about using so much of the ingredient the first time I made these, but the end result is well-balanced and tastes just right.
The muffins do not brown while baking, so expect the tops to be pale when you remove them from the oven.
The garnishes of candied orange zest and coarse crystal sugar are my finishing touches, but they are optional. I used them spruce up otherwise plain-looking muffins for blog photos. They are tasty additions, but my usual decorum is to leave the muffins unadorned.
Yields 2 1/2 dozen muffins
3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 large can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple, undrained
2 tablespoons orange extract
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons orange extract
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to350°F. Line two or more standard 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners.
Make the muffins: Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the beaten eggs and mix well. Add the bowl of dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix until just incorporated (do not over mix). Add the can of crushed pineapple and orange extract. Mix again briefly until the pineapple and extract are dispersed throughout the batter. Using a small measuring scoop, place batter into paper liners about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the muffins spring back when pressed in the centers. Remove the muffins to a wire cooling rack.
Make the glaze: Combine the milk and butter in a medium saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and stir until melted (do not boil). Remove from the heat and stir in powdered sugar, orange extract, and salt. Pour glaze in a bowl and dip the tops of the muffins in the glaze. You may also spoon the glaze over the muffins if you prefer. Let stand until set, about 20 minutes.