Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Carols: Dreaming of a White Christmas and Orange Muffins

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,
just like the ones I used to know---
Where the treetops glisten and children listen
to hear sleigh bells in the snow.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,
with every Christmas card I write:
May your days be merry and bright,
and may all your Christmases be white.

Every year, my kids wish for a white Christmas.  As of this year, they average a 54% success rate.  I, on the other hand, always wish for the same thing: a baby grand piano.  My success rate: zilch.  I'm thinking I should start wishing for snow instead. 
This year, however, I'm just wishing for a perfect Christmas Day---the kind of day filled with children's laughter and family memories and lots and lots of good food.  I'm counting on Santa to jump start the laughter and stories with Christmas gifts, but it's up to me to provide the food.

I made the mistake of heading to the grocery store today, hoping I would find some sort of culinary inspiration for the big day.  Imagine 3,087 shopping carts and their frazzled drivers in one super market.  One woman was singing tone-deaf Christmas carols at the top of her lungs in the deli.  An aisle over, I saw a man throwing whipping cream by the armfuls into his shopping cart.  And a lady behind me in the checkout was having a loud, running conversation with herself regarding my shopping items, her shopping items, and the checkout display of peppermint tootsie rolls.  I guess shopping a few days before Christmas just brings out the "crazy" in some people.  

Me included.  

Somewhere in aisle 9, I panicked as I watched people frantically piling candied fruit and hams in their carts.  Rather than landing on the perfect Christmas meal shopping list, I simply grabbed what was closest to me and left the store.

I came home with a bag of tater tots, a gallon of milk, and a frozen loaf of Sara Lee pound cake. 

I don't know why I over-think this every year, but I do.  I should just stick with tried and true comfort food like this . . .

This makes a moist and dense orange muffin with a fresh and tangy glaze.  Not only are these lovelies the perfect brunch item, but they are also the perfect way to use up any oranges or clementines you have lying around on your kitchen counters.  

Glazed Orange Muffins  
(adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather)
Makes 2 dozen muffins


1 cup milk
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup sour cream
2 large eggs
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1½ tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
zest of 1 orange (or 3-4 clementines)

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange (or clementine) juice
1½ cups powdered sugar
1-2 tsp. orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line 24 wells of a muffin pan (or pans) with paper liners.  Mix dry ingredients in and then add wet ingredients.  Bake about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack placed over a baking sheet.

To make the glaze, combine the orange juice, powdered sugar, and orange zest in a small bowl.  Whisk together until smooth, adding more juice if necessary to achieve your preferred consistency.  Drizzle the glaze over the muffins while they are still warm.  Allow the glaze to set before serving. 

Even though our Christmas menu isn't boding well after today's shopping trip, I have a feeling that these muffins just might inspire the family bonding I'm dreaming of.  

If nothing else, maybe they'll be the perfect accompaniment to tater tots.

Happy Christmas brunches to you all!

1 comment:

  1. Ericka- Those sound suspiciously like a cupcake disguised as a muffin!;>) That makes it healthy, right? I was in the grocers today, too. What WAS I thinking? And I need to get rolls on Monday - THAT ought to be fun-xo Diana


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