Muffin Monday: Olive Oil Muffins

Olive Oil. Liquid Gold.

Did you know that out of all edible fats olive oil is the most digestible?  The health benefits of this particular oil are numerous, as are their flavour profiles. Like wine, olive oil can come in a variety of tastes that range from fruity, rich, buttery, light, delicate, full and robust. Because of the versatility behind this particular oil along with the undeniable health benefits, I have always been a fan. That being said, I have never baked with olive oil.

Now I realize that using olive oil in baking has been done for centuries and the results have been professed across kitchens all over the globe, but for whatever reason the combination of baked goods and olive oil conjure up unnatural tasting goodies in my mind. I know, I know, I know…I have issues.

After reading the rave reviews online for this particular recipe, I decided to suck it up. The recipe that Anuradha from Baker Street chose for this week comes from Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis. It was meant to be a last ditch healthy effort before the onslaught of what I can only imagine will be sinfully delightful holiday muffins (coming soon!) With 1 cup of sugar and only 1 ¾ cups flour, I’m not sure if healthy is the best word to describe these muffins. Somehow I’m thinking the ¾ cup olive oil is not able to magic the unhealthy away.

The recipe is straightforward and comes together quickly and easily – my type of muffin. Along with olive oil, 2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar are called for along with a mixture of lemon and orange zest. Not doing much for easing my concerns here people! Because I didn’t have any fresh oranges, I opted to use an orange extract (¾ tsp). I also made my muffins gluten-free; choosing almond flour (2/3 cup), quinoa flakes (½ cup), brown rice flour (½ cup), tapioca starch (¼ cup) and xanthan gum (¾ tsp). In light of the citrus flavours in the batter I opted to use a nice, fruity extra virgin olive oil which I thought would complement the lemon and orange flavours. As for the balsamic? I would just have to cross my fingers (and toes).

In the end these muffins turned out well and exceeded my expectations! That being said my expectations were low (sorry Giada). They were edible and the olive oil really allowed for these muffins to stay nice and moist. The citrus zest was a nice addition, and the vinegar heightened their flavour without tasting vinegary. The sliced almonds paired well with the almond flour, really dialing up the nutty taste and texture. However, we all found these muffins to be waaaaay too sweet. And we skipped the powdered sugar on top! You could probably use half the listed amount and it would be sufficient. Can’t say I will be making this recipe again, but if I were I would consider using agave nectar as the granulated sugar just seemed too harsh with the other gentler, healthy ingredients. Are you picking up what I’m putting down?!

Adios until next week’s muffin adventure!

For a copy of the original recipe for Olive Oil Muffins, please visit Baker Street and be sure to check out what the other food bloggers have baked up this week!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.