Marmalade is just as popular a topping for toast as jams, jellies and other fruit preserves are, and its strong orange flavor makes it a popular ingredient in some baked goods, as well. Marmalade is a jelly – a fruit preserve made from sugar and fruit juice, as opposed to fruit puree – that has pieces of fruit suspended it it. It is typically made with the juice, flesh and rind of oranges. Seville oranges, or bitter oranges, are the standard citrus used in marmalade (particularly in English marmalades) because their relatively high pectin content allows the preserve to set firmly and their distinctive bitter note is a pleasant contrast to the otherwise sweet orange juice.
While orange marmalade is the most common variety, marmalade can actually be made with other citrus fruits. This is great news for those who aren’t fans of the bitterness that many traditional marmalades contain. These blends – like the Three Fruit Marmalade pictured above – use sweet oranges, lemons, limes and even grapefruits to create a sweeter preserve that still has that zesty citrus flavor.
One or two biscotti are a terrific compliment to a cup of coffee or a mug of tea. Just about any flavor will do, whether you like anise flavoring or you prefer your biscotti dunked in chocolate. These Orange Almond Biscotti are certainly a good option. Biscotti are twice baked cookies that are known for being dry, crisp and having a long shelf life. These biscotti are richer than most biscotti recipes and use a fair amount of butter, and so they have a more tender texture and are a little less “hard” than some other biscotti. They still go extremely well with coffee, of course, they just don’t need to be dunked into the cup to be edible.
The primary flavor in these biscotti is orange, and the flavor all comes from fresh orange zest. I used about three tablespoons of orange zest from two large oranges just to flavor the batch – and it comes through in a wonderfully fragrant batter and very flavorful cookies. Sliced almonds are added to the batter, as well, adding a very subtle almond flavor and a lot of crunch.
Dip these biscotti into some melted dark or semisweet chocolate to dress them up after baking, especially if you are planning to serve these as dessert with coffee or intend to pack them up to send off as a gift for the holidays. Chocolate and orange blend together perfectly. The biscotti keep well when stored in an airtight container, so the biscotti make a treat that will last around the house all week long, as well as one that ships well to family and friends.
I was inspired by a recent trip to an olive oil farm to do a little baking with olive oil. Vegetable oil, canola oil and other flavorless oils are the standard when it comes to baking. Olive oil isn’t often used because it has a distinct, and sometimes strong, flavor that just isn’t going to enhance all recipes. That said, olive oil can be a great addition to a recipe when that fruity, olive flavor is allowed to stand out and these Orange Olive Oil Muffins are a great example of that.
The muffins use olive oil as their primary fat, where other similar recipes might use butter, and get most of their flavor from the oil itself and from the orange juice in the batter. Since there aren’t too many competing flavors here, the flavors of the olives do stand out. They don’t make the muffin savory (there is plenty of sugar to keep them sweet), but they do make the muffin richer and more complex than a plain oil would. Fresh orange juice gives these muffins a bright citrus flavor without overwhelming the olive oil. Sprinkling the tops of the muffins with sugar before baking makes the tops crispy and adds a nice contrast to the fluffy interior of the muffins.
The key to baking with olive oil is to choose an extra virgin olive oil that you really like the flavor of. You’re not going to like the flavor any more once it’s in a muffin or cake, so choose something good to start out with. These muffins are great with plain oils, but I also tried them with the incredibly good Mandarin Olive Oil from Ojai Olive Oil that really brightened up the orange flavor even more. That particular oil has an amazing mandarin orange flavor and is as good for dressing salads as it is for baking up muffins like these.
Who doesn’t like a creamsicle on a hot summer day? The ice cream-filled orange popsicle is a favorite summertime treat for many people – and this is that classic popsicle in cupcake form. These Creamsicle Ice Cream Cupcakes are orange cupcakes that are filled with vanilla bean ice cream and topped with a zesty orange glaze. Like their popsicle namesakes, these are stored in the freezer and ready to serve as a cool treat on a hot day or any other time that a creamsicle craving hits!
The cupcakes are easy to make and turn out to be moist and tender. I used both butter and vegetable oil in the cake, as cakes made with vegetable oil tend to stay a little bit moister after being frozen. Freshly squeezed orange juice is going to give you the best flavor in these cupcakes, and by freshly squeezing the oranges you’ll also have plenty of zest to further boost the flavor. If you don’t have oranges at hand, you can use bottled orange juice. Again, try to go with fresh, not-from-concentrate juice for the best flavor even when using bottled juice. The cupcakes will still turn out well, but the orange flavor might be slightly subdued. To punch it up even further, add a bit of orange extract or a few drops of orange oil to the batter.
The finished cakes have a great combination of orange and vanilla flavors. When I hollowed out the cupcakes to fill them with ice cream, I tried to make as much room for the filling as possible. I also used a good quality vanilla bean ice cream, slightly softened, to fill them up. The glaze added some extra sweetness and brightness to the cakes, and really reminded me of the orange “shell” that makes up the outer layer of a creamsicle.
These cupcakes should be stored in the freezer and taken out shortly before serving. Once they are glazed, allow them to set up in the freezer for at least an hour. At that point, you can cover them with plastic wrap and they’ll keep for a week at the very least (probably quite a bit longer if you have a lot of self control!). The orange glaze gives you a nice burst of orange when you take a bite, and it sets up very nicely in the freezer without getting too hard. If you are in a hurry to dig in, just stuff the cupcakes with ice cream, top with a spoonful of glaze and serve right away!
Orange slices make a delicious addition to salads, fruit compotes and even to baked goods, but the membrane that makes oranges easy to peel and section by hand can make a tough addition to any of these sweet dishes. Generally, the best way to prepare an orange to go into a dish is to supreme it. Supreming an orange, sometimes described as sectioning an orange, is when you cut an orange (or other citrus fruit) down to its most tender and jewel-like segments. It is easy to do and all you need to get started is a very sharp paring knife.
Start by removing about 1/2 inch from the top and bottom of your orange. You want to reveal the fruit beneath the peel and you don’t want to cut away too much of the fruit, so the exact size of your rounds will vary based on the size of your fruit.