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Muffin Mondays | Olive Oil Muffins with Orange & Pistachio

Having missed several weeks of Muffin Mondays while on vacation in Vietnam, I was excited to get back to baking as soon as I was home.  This week’s muffins are olive oil muffins with orange and pistachio.

Earlier in the year, I was fortunate enough to attend an incredible Spanish olive oil tasting at Jose Andres’ The Bazaar.  The pastry chef of The Bazaar made an incredible olive oil gelato with olive oil and rosemary cakes for dessert and I was so enamored with the verdant fruity flavor I asked her about olive oils and baking cakes. After an informative conversation about different varietals of olive oil and how they pair well with baking, I left the tasting with a complimentary bottle of the pastry chef’s favorite olive oil for baking – Oro Bailen, made from Spanish Picual olives.  Months later I had yet to bake with this gorgeous olive oil, so this week’s muffins were the perfect reason to put the olive oil to the test.


The olive oil muffins with orange and pistachio were dense, floral and bright.  They were not as fluffy as a muffin baked with butter, but instead had a nice heft to them.  The sweet and fragrant citrus permeates the muffin, while the meaty, nutty pistachio provide a nice textural contrast. The olive oil flavor remains subtly in the background imparting a lemony, earthy flavor.  I gave the muffins a little extra sweetness by adding a citrus glaze. Olive oil muffins with orange and pistachio go great with a cup tea for breakfast or as an afternoon treat.


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Olive Oil Muffins (adapted from Giada de Laurentis)


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

3 teaspoons orange zest

1 teaspoons lemon zest

1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons whole milk

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2/3 cup chopped pistachio


2 tbl sp fresh squeezed orange juice

1 cup powdered sugar



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin.

In a medium bowl, blend together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Using an electric mixer beat the sugar, eggs, and zests in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Beat in the vinegar and milk. Gradually beat in the oil.

Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended.

Crush the almonds with your hands as you add them to the batter and stir until mixed.

Fill the muffin tin almost to the top of the paper liners.

Bake until golden on top and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.


(optional) For glaze mix orange juice with powdered sugar until mixture has no lumps. Spread over cooled muffins.

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  • Kristen
    October 10, 2011

    Pistachios and citrus glaze? Yum! My muffins turned out pretty dense too, but I loved the flavor 🙂 It was fun baking “together.”

  • Baker Street
    October 10, 2011

    Pistachio and the glaze both sound excellent! So glad to have you back and baking with us! xx

  • Ah yes I remember the olive oil tasting. How fun! I can see that the pistachio & orange would pair very well here. Nice choice. Definitely not fluffy muffins but one of my favorites so far.

  • Anita Menon
    October 10, 2011

    I can smell them right off the screen. Deep flavours – orange and pistachio- you cannot get better than this.

  • Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen
    October 10, 2011

    OMG! Olive oil tasting at the bazaar?! Lucky lady! This recipe is definitely one of those that deserves the fancy olive oil!

  • Nastassia
    October 10, 2011

    Kristen – loved how dense they were because they magically weren’t dry it was a nice change of pace 🙂

    A – Glad to be back!

    Bianca – That tasting was incredible, what olive oil did you go home with?

    Anita – I loved how fragrant these muffins were from the orange!

    Adrianna – it was so fun, especially the part where we got to taste the olive oil inspired food churned out from the Bazaar kitchen! and yes these muffins were totally worth the fancy olive oil 😉

  • Barbie
    October 10, 2011

    Glad to be baking with you this week!

    Your muffins are so tempting… makes me want to eat them right now.


  • F for Food
    October 10, 2011

    This recipe looks fantastic.

  • Nastassia
    October 10, 2011

    Barbie – I absolutely loved these muffins one of my faves so far!

    Elliot – It is fantastic and completely addictive 🙂

  • Esi
    October 11, 2011

    I’ve tried baking with olive oil and it didn’t turn out so well, but I do like olive oil sweets. Must try again.

  • Stay-At-Home-Chef
    October 11, 2011

    I was sceptical to bake with olive oil but it all turned out well! I would love to try using pistachios and a citrus glaze – sounds delicious 🙂

  • the roaming belly
    October 11, 2011

    man that looks soooooo good. i can never say no to a good looking muffin…. and those muffins look good. besides, you can’t go wrong with pistachios!

  • Carrie @ poet in the pantry
    October 11, 2011

    That glaze looks like the perfect finishing touch! Beautiful muffins and it sounds like they tasted great, too!

  • Nastassia
    October 12, 2011

    Esi – I was skeptical at first but worked out well, def give it another try!

    Carrie- The glaze definitly added the extra sweetness the muffin needed!

  • Banana Wonder
    October 12, 2011

    Love love loving this olive oil muffins! I like how the cake becomes dense and I bet these were super flavorful with that Spanish olive oil. Glad you are back in muffin zone – I sure have missed you.

  • I honestly don’t remember the olive oil but I think it was the picual one. Yeah I know, really descriptive 😉

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