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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Panettone Muffins

Do you know we don't even have our tree up yet? Yes, it is true. It has always been this way with David and I. Our very first Christmas together we got the most gorgeous tree because we bought it at the last minute. We were living in Port Townsend, Washington then. Now, we just go and cut one down on our property. We still don't get one put up until the weekend before Christmas. Now we get some spindly little spruce tree, half the time a pair of loppers is all you need to cut it down. We still make a big production of the whole thing. David gets out the saw and we look around the yard as though we are choosing from the finest Balsam Firs and then he drags it down the hill as thought it is some bulky tree. The truth is I don't think we have had a tree that I couldn't pick up with two fingers. Usually one of the dogs thinks it makes a fine stick and runs around the yard with it. Yet somehow, just like the Charlie Brown tree it looks pretty good once you get the lights and ornaments on it. So that's what we will be doing this weekend. 
What we eat on Christmas day is another story. Menus are discussed weeks in advance and planned out to the final detail, including breakfast. I like to make something fairly easy on Christmas morning so I can sit around and sip my coffee and open all my BIG, EXPENSIVE presents from Santa. I know he will be bringing lots of them and I have to plan enough time to open them all. Right Santa? Ok, maybe not. I still like to relax and drink my coffee anyway. These Panettone muffins are great for that. If you soak the fruit the night before they come together pretty easily in the morning. So you can have plenty of time to open all your Christmas presents.
These muffins are meant to mimic the Italian Sweet Bread with the exception that they are much softer and cake like in texture. I love the slightly floral scent of the Fiori di Sicilia. If you aren't able to find it, or don't want to order online I would recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest and a couple drops of almond extract instead. If you don't have the white sparkling sugar feel free to replace it with Sugar in the Raw found in the baking aisle at the grocery store. Use whatever dried fruits you have on hand, I liked using ones with a variety of color so the muffins look pretty when you tear them open. They go great with a cup of coffee while sitting next to the wood stove on Christmas morning. Happy Holidays everyone!

Panettone Muffins
adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 1/2 cups diced dried fruit (I used apricots, cranberries, dark and golden raisins, currants)
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp rum (optional)
1 tsp Grand Marnier (optional)
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup milk
2 generous tablespoons coarse white sparkling sugar, for topping

The night before:
Mix the dried fruit, orange juice and liquor (if using) in a bowl. Cover and let sit overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin, or line with 12 paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups with non-stick vegetable oil spray; this will ensure that they peel off the muffins nicely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugar until smooth.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine. Mix in the Fiori di Sicilia and vanilla.
Whisk together the baking powder, salt, and flour. With mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
Stir in the fruit, with any remaining liquid.
Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups quite full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins generously with the coarse sugar.
Bake the muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they're golden brown on top, and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for a couple of minutes, or until you can handle them. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

Makes 12 muffins.


  1. That looks so good Nicole. I have been thinking about so many cookies and muffins to bake for the Holiday. I have such a long list to complete and now I am tempted to make your muffins too. Afterall its Christmas time of the year, a time to indulge and not worry about calories, right? I am going to try your muffin soon.

  2. These muffins are absolutely awesome!!!! Love panettone (made 4 last week, traditionnal way)! I will keep this recipe not to far!

  3. Looks delicious Nicole! Your photos are exquisite! I hope Santa gets the message in time...big...expensive and just what you are dreaming of!

  4. I do love panettone, and it always seems overpriced - I should get to work - these look good. Your photos are perfection! Thanks for visiting my bog, too!

  5. Happy New Year! The muffins look amazing and I love your photos. One of my goals for the New Year is to work on my photography. Thank you for sharing your photos and experience with the muffins.

  6. I love your cupcake wrappers and the candles in the background. Beautiful photos!

  7. Your muffins look gorgeous. Beautiful pictures! I hope you join us for more ABC bakes in the future. Let me know if you'd be interested in becoming an ABC member. We would love to have you :o)

  8. Love your pictures,they just breath snow and holiday season, wonderful!

  9. Your muffins are pretty as a picture with those wrappers. Very festive. And I like your tree story - did Santa listen to your delicate prompts?

  10. Beautiful photos!! Muffins look amazing! Love the cupcake papers. Awesome!


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