Olive Oil Muffins


1 1/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup whole or lowfat milk
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1/3 cup mixed: half fresh orange juice, half Grand Marnier
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF line muffin cup liners in a muffin tin with eight indentations.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest, and orange juice/Grand Marnier mixture.

3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the olive oil mixture. Stir the ingredients together with a flexible spatula until they are just combined but do not overmix. There may be some minor lumps in the batter, which are fine. (Overmixing will cause the muffins to be tough.)

4. Fill the muffin molds 2/3rds to 3/4s full of batter and bake until they just feel set in the center and the tops are golden brown, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a bit before serving.

Storage: The muffins can be baked two or three days ahead and kept at room temperature in an airtight container. Although they will lose their crusty top the flavor will be more pronounced the next day as the crumb gets saturated with the olive oil and Grand Marnier flavors. They can also be frozen for up to two months.