I have a standing obsession with a pastry called “le Gibassier” from the Pearl Bakery in Portland. It is a breakfast roll studded with candied orange peel and anise seeds, and flavored with orange blossom water. As a finishing touch the warm rolls are brushed with clarified butter and tossed in sugar.
I can't always make it to the Pearl Bakery when a craving strikes, and making the real thing requires time and patience. I've created a muffin recipe that resembles le Gibassier in flavor, but can be made fairly quickly. I used the Doughnut Muffin recipe from the Downtown Bakery and Creamery in Healdsburg, California as my “bones”. I used Rose Levy Beranbaum's butter cake technique to mix the batter. I made many tweaks along the way, and more versions than I care to count before they came out to my liking. —hardlikearmour
Test Kitchen Notes
Move over lemon poppy, orange anise is new muffin in town. I’ve loved the pairing of orange and anise ever since I had my first piece of Swedish limpa bread a few years ago and Hardlikearmour’s recipe didn’t disappoint. The muffins are a cinch to put together and even easier to consume. One, two, three muffins were gone before I knew it. A couple of notes: The crumb on the muffins reminded me more of a cake than a muffin so I preferred the muffins split, toasted, and swiped with butter. And I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to measure the anise seed before or after crushing so I measured it after; next time, I'd measure it before because I wouldn’t have minded even more anise flavor. I wholeheartedly recommend this recipe for a Community Pick. —melissav
- Makes 12 standard sized muffins
cups all-purpose flour
cup sugar (preferably baker's or castor sugar), plus additional
tablepoon baking powder
teaspoons crushed anise seeds
cup plus 3 tablespoons whole milk, divided
tablespoons orange liqueur
teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
cup unsalted butter, softened, divided
- Preheat oven to 350º F with a rack in the center. Grease and flour a standard-size muffin tin and set aside.
- Remove zest from orange using a vegetable peeler, taking care to remove minimal white pith with the zest. Stack the strips and cut crosswise into approximately 1/8-inch pieces. Set aside. Juice the orange into a 1 to 2 cup glass measure. You should have barely 1/2 cup of juice. If necessary add water so you have barely 1/2 cup liquid. Add 3 Tablespoons milk, the orange liqueur, and the optional orange blossom water to the juice. Set aside.
- Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup milk and the eggs until combined. Set aside.
- Place dry ingredients in the bowl of a mixer, and mix on low for one minute to combine and aerate.
- Cut the butter into 2-tablespoon sized pieces and place one of the pieces into a small oven or microwave safe bowl for melting to brush on top of the warm muffins. Add the remaining butter to the dry ingredients along with the orange juice mixture. Mix on low until the dry ingredients are moistened, then increase the speed to medium for 50 to 60 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
- Add the orange zest. Add the milk and egg mixture in 3 equal portions, mixing for 15 seconds between additions. Stop the mixer and remove the bowl. Stir a few strokes with the rubber spatula making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Portion the batter into the prepared muffin tin. I used a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop to do this. Bake for about 25 minutes rotating the pan 180º after 15 minutes. The edge of the muffins touching the tin should just be starting to turn golden, and the muffins should spring back when gently pressed.
- Transfer muffin pan to a cooling rack. Melt butter in the warm oven or the microwave. After the muffins have cooled for 5 to 10 minutes, brush the tops with the melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Allow to cool at least 30 minutes before removing from pan and serving. Consume with glee!