Tahoe-Truckee recipe: Orange brownies really are the new black
TRUCKEE, Calif. — I was at a women’s meditation retreat last week (AKA “Man bashing at a higher level.”) and one of the delights served with our afternoon tea were these “orange brownies.”
That is what the little tag hanging on the artfully arranged platter said: “orange brownies.” They didn’t look too special to me and weren’t shaped like brownies — kind of more like a muffin that just refused to rise — but I stuck one in my purse for later use.
Come about 10 o’clock at night and I am famished from all my going deep on this meditation, and voila! I remembered my weird looking muffins. (Yes, I took two. I was really working up an appetite with all the chanting.)
I ate the first one quickly, and wow! They are strangely amazing. Got the recipe from the camp cook, and wow again! It is a super easy recipe that logically should not result in such an incredible baked good — but it did and does.
These muffins have a great texture that is chewy like a brownie (thus the name) or even a macaroon, but without the coconut. Hmmm. Also there is no sticky jam inserted anywhere. Go figure.
I made them myself a couple days after I got home thinking “Noooo — something must be left out of the recipe camp cook gave me. It is a bogus recipe.” But nope, not bogus. Very good in fact.
Rave reviews once people got past the un-fluffy presentation. Americans … so used to muffins and bagels that look like pool toys. These orange brownies really are the new black, and the light citrus tang makes them perfect summer picnic fare. Enjoy.
One and 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter (two sticks), softened
4 large eggs
2 tsp. orange extract
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbls. orange juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your medium-sized muffin tins (you should have two on hand to make it easier) with vegetable oil and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine all muffin ingredients, using your hands to make sure the final product is well blended.
Scoop about 1⁄3 of a cup into your greased tins. These muffins really do not rise much and kind of look like a hockey puck (Hey! Good idea for a themed winter party) so if you want them larger, scoop in about a half a cup of dough.
Bake for 27 minutes for the smaller size and 30 minutes for the larger. Once cool, remove muffins from tins. Using a fork, poke wholes in the tops of the muffin to shape a square — one fork poke for each side of the square, then arrange on your serving plate.
Mix together your glaze of the confectioners sugar and orange juice. It should be thick, but fluid enough to pour into the holes on your muffin tops and then spread lightly over the same surface. If it is not, add a little more orange juice.
That’s it! Be sure to carry copies of this recipe in your bag when serving them — people inevitably ask for it.
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your favorite family recipes and the story behind them @firstname.lastname@example.org.