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Golden Orange Rosemary Muffins

December 14, 2011

I don’t have a Christmas tree this year. Instead, I have a decorative gold metal branch in front of my fireplace on which I’ve hung my ornaments and my stocking with care. And a pine-scented candle. But my sister has a beautiful tree where the presents are slowly piling up, and I at least have delicious baked goods to perfume my home if not the scent of a fresh-cut noble fir. Browned butter and oranges, rosemary and crunchy sugar, these are the scents of the season. I’ll get a tree next year.

The color of these Orange Rosemary Muffins is an alluring promise of the delight to come. Deeply golden-hued, sparkling with sugar, encased in a paper wrapper so it feels like opening a gift when you tear into one. These muffins are lightly sweet, faintly spiced and laced with citrus. Pile them in a basket at breakfast with a side of honey butter and they’ll be devoured in no time. Or do what I did and leave them on your neighbors’ doorsteps. ‘Tis the season for giving, after all!

It was exactly one year ago that I made a batch of Christmas Shortbread, another baked treat laden with the piny scent of fresh rosemary. Coincidence? I suppose something about this time of year must just give me a hankering for this woodsy herb, one of my very favorites. If you’ve been snipping sprigs of rosemary to put on your roast meat and potatoes, try mincing some up and throwing it in your baked goods, too. Trust me. I wouldn’t lie during the holidays. That would just be wrong.

Orange Rosemary Muffins

© Copyright 2011 Carly Sullivan of Tart to Heart

Yield: 12 muffins


  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 orange, zested and juice
  • 1 cup (or more) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and browned
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Raw sugar, for topping (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease with cooking spray.
  2. Place the butter in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt and sputter until it is thoroughly browned. Set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl combine the flours, sugars, leaveners, salt, nutmeg and orange zest.
  4. Juice the orange into a glass measuring cup. It should yield about 1/4-1/2 cup liquid. Add enough buttermilk to measure a total of 1 1/4 cups liquid.
  5. Add the buttermilk and juice, eggs, vanilla and cooled browned butter to the dry ingredients. Gently combine until smooth.
  6. Scoop the batter evenly among the muffin tins. Sprinkle generously with raw sugar. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 12-16 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Smear with honey butter and enjoy!

It wouldn’t be amiss to add some nuts to these muffins. I think some toasted pecans or walnuts in the batter would be fabulous, so if you’re a nut-lover, give it a go!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2011 4:17 pm

    No sugar or sweetener (honey, maple syrup, etc.) in the muffin batter? That’s asking a lot of one little orange, isn’t it? Are they sweet enough to be breakfast muffins? I usually scant sugar in recipes, but this looks radical. Ah well, maybe I’ll try them and see.

    • December 14, 2011 4:20 pm

      Oh my goodness thank you! I completely forgot the sugar in the recipe! I’ll fix it now.

      • December 14, 2011 4:24 pm

        That looks better. Feel free to remove my earlier comment, or part of it, if you wish.

  2. December 14, 2011 4:20 pm

    What pretty, festive cupcakes… love the combination of flavors, as well:) I love rosemary in anything!

  3. December 14, 2011 6:45 pm

    Reblogged this on booklovershere.

  4. December 14, 2011 11:40 pm

    These look fantastic! I love rosemary almost as much as lavender. My two favorite herbs. Definitely putting this on my “to bake” list.

    • December 15, 2011 8:26 am

      I absolutely adore lavender as well. Let me know if you try out this recipe!

  5. December 15, 2011 8:12 am

    I like how little sugar there is and that it has a savory kick. These are perfect.

  6. December 20, 2011 5:28 pm

    These look delicious! I love using oat flour and I think the rosemary would add something extra special.

  7. January 26, 2012 11:18 am

    I just made a variation on these. I’ll be blogging about it soon and I’ll put up a link to your recipe — thanks! (I used cornmeal and all purpose flour, lemon extract rather than vanilla, made a few other small changes). The brown butter smell was amazing.

    • January 30, 2012 1:35 pm

      I’m so glad you tried them out! I look forward to seeing your version 🙂

      • January 30, 2012 1:54 pm

        Thanks, Carly. You know, I shouldn’t have promised to put them up — what I should do is make yours first with no variations (so hard for me to do). I did write a post about them. Maybe I’ll still use it — dunno.

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