Recipe Post: Orange and Grapefruit Peel Muffins


Ok, ok, I know this recipe sounds potentially…problematic (code for EEWWWWW), but I implore you to try it out first before judging. This muffin recipe is unique, I’ll grant you that, but its origin comes from one of my favourite Canadian cookbook authors, the late, great Edna Staebler, who, with several cookbooks to her name, was a quiet pioneer in food frugality and simplicity, doing more with less, and helping to change the way many people see food.

Ms. Staebler helped me, many years ago, to see that food, real food, was not only tasty, wholesome and good for you, but also simpler and far easier to prepare than the makers of boxed, canned, and frozen prepared meals would have consumers believe. I have all of her recipe books, and I try very hard to make something new at least a couple of times a year from her hundreds of personally-developed recipes…instead of relying on my super-favourite old standbys of hers, as I am wont to do.

Back to the muffins. It’s important to remove as much of the white pith (the inner rind) as you can from the grapefruit rind, as this is very bitter and you will taste it in your final product. Then again, if you don’t happen to have a grapefruit in the house or don’t like the sourness anyway, you could use just all oranges, or maybe try a lime or lemon peel to zing it up a bit. According to The Hubster, I have a bad habit of changing up recipes constantly, always searching for the elusive “perfect” combination, so to make a recipe exactly as shown is quite a struggle for me.

…aaaaand speaking of changing up recipes, did you know that you can add up to 1 cup of chopped dates or raisins or another dried fruit to this recipe, or maybe some chopped nuts of your choosing, to make it to your own taste and preference? How about adding a handful of large flake oats inside and on the top of each muffin, or maybe a streusel? Ooh, the possibilities are endless…

I’m incorrigible.

Orange and Grapefruit Peel Muffins

Original source: Edna Staebler, More Food That Really Schmecks

YIELD: 12-14 standard muffins | PREP: 10 mins | BAKE: 18-20 mins

  • 2 cups/250g/9oz AP flour
  • 2 tsp/9g/0.5oz baking powder
  • ½ tsp/2g/0.1oz baking soda
  • Peel of 1 grapefruit and 1 medium orange (or 2 clementines), excess white pith (inner rind) removed
  • 1-2 cups/240-480mL/8-16fl.oz buttermilk or soured milk*
  • ½ cup/94g/3oz granulated sugar
  • ½ cup/110g/4oz brown sugar
  • 1 tsp/6g/0.25oz salt
  • ½ cup/115g/4oz salted butter, coconut oil, or shortening, room temperature
  • A few pinches of Turbinado sugar or other sanding sugar for the tops of the muffins (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F/205°C, and place rack in middle of oven. Prepare two 12-cup muffin tins by either using paper liners or greasing each cup with butter or shortening.
  2. Into a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients, and set aside.
  3. Rough-chop the grapefruit and orange peels; place in a blender or food processor, pour in 1 cup of the buttermilk, and process until the peels are finely ground.
  4. Add the sugars, salt, and butter/margarine, and mix again until the mixture is well-combined and mushy-looking. It will likely look split at this point, but that’s fine; it will come together in the end.
  5. Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients, and stir JUST ENOUGH to blend; you may need to add more buttermilk at this time. Don’t overmix or you will get unappetizing tunnels in your final product and they will be tough to chew. Truuust me.
  6. Spoon into prepared muffin tins 2/3 full, sprinkle Turbinado sugar over the tops if using, and bake for 20 minutes, rotating tins once during baking.
  7. Remove from oven once a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from trays and let cool completely on rack. Can be stored, covered, up to 3 days in a cool, dry place.

* To make your own buttermilk, pour any milk you have on hand into a glass measuring jug that is at least 1 cup larger than the amount of buttermilk you need. Per 1 cup of milk add 1 tbsp of lemon juice or white vinegar; stir thoroughly to combine. Place measuring cup into microwave and heat on high for 1 minute, in two 30-second increments, stirring in between. The milk should be warm to the touch and somewhat lumpy. Stir to blend and use as directed.

Note: the higher the fat content, the richer the flavour of the final product, but nearly any milk will do, including non-dairy milks. I have had great success in “souring” coconut milk, and I would happily give a try to almond, rice, or cashew milk if I needed to make this recipe vegan.

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