- 2 oranges
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the muffin tins
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Begin by grating the zest from the oranges. (If you don't have a Microplane zester, please rush out to the nearest cooking-supply store and purchase one. Thank you.)
Cream the butter and granulated sugar in a bowl with a mixer. Crack in the eggs and mix until well combined, about 4 minutes.
Sift the flour onto a sheet of wax paper. Add it to the bowl. Gently stir with the mixer using as few strokes as possible so the muffins aren't tough.
In a small measuring cup or bowl, combine the buttermilk and baking soda. Add the buttermilk mixture to the batter and mix until just combined. Add the orange zest and mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
Grease 36 mini-muffin cups and fill each two-thirds full with batter. I like to use a small cookie scoop to put the muffin batter in the tins. Bake for 12 to 17 minutes, until light brown. Watch to make sure they don't get too brown.
Now, while the muffins are baking, prepare the glaze: Juice the 2 oranges whose zest you just stole. Add the orange juice and brown sugar to a medium bowl and stir together until just combined, but don't worry about dissolving the brown sugar completely. You want the glaze to be grainy and textured.
As soon as the muffins are done, drizzle the glaze all over the top. Be sure to thoroughly coat each muffin. Don't worry if the glaze drips all over the pan; that means more for you to lick up later. Serve the muffins warm on a beautiful platter. Watch your guests' eyes roll back in their heads as they savor each bite.
Photograph by Coral Von Zumwalt