Lucia Muffins Recipe

These muffins are saffron-smacked and riddled with golden raisins, buttermilk battered and barely sweet. Said another way, Lucia buns reinterpreted as muffins. If you love saffron give them a try.

Lucia Muffins

Some of you aren't going to like these muffins, I just know it. But a number of you are going to love them. So, non-traditional muffin fans? These are for you. At a glance they look like cornbread muffins, but aren't. Far from it, in fact. These muffins are saffron-smacked and riddled with golden raisins, buttermilk battered and barely sweet. Said another way, Lucia buns reinterpreted as muffins. If you love saffron give them a try. And come to think if it, like cornbread, they might make an interesting ingredient in a stuffing, or panzanella.


The recipe was inspired by a recipe in A Swedish Kitchen, which in turn was inspired by a recipe in the Swedish food magazine Allt om Mat. I adapted it to the ingredients I had on hand and finally put to use, the straight-sided, Lodge cast-iron muffin tins that have been sitting on my countertop for weeks - amazing, btw.

Saffron aficionados, give these a go. The rest of you, sit tight, I have another baked treat coming up I can't wait to share. I promise promise promise it is worth the wait.

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Lucia Muffins

I used a blend of all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flour here, but you can exclusively use all-purpose flour if that is what you have available.

butter to grease muffin tins
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 loose teaspoon saffron threads
3 tablespoons natural cane sugar
1 cup / 240 ml buttermilk
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons water
1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup / 3.5 oz / 100g unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g golden raisins, chopped

Preheat oven to 400F / 200C with a rack in the top third. Butter a standard 12-muffin pan, alternately you can use liners.

Melt the butter over low heat and set aside to cool. You want the butter to be melted, but not hot.

Very briefly toast the saffron in a small skillet over low heat, stirring and shaking the pan continuously to avoid burning. The saffron should be fragrant, but stop before the threads change color. You are definitely better off under cooking than overcooking the saffron.

Use a mortar and pestle to grind the saffron threads with 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Pour the buttermilk into a cereal bowl. Add the saffron mixture, then the egg whites, water, and melted butter. Stir until well combined.

In a large bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, remaining sugar, and almonds. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and sprinkle with the raisins. Use a spatula to stir until everything barely comes together, avoid over-mixing. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups until about three-quarters full. The batter should fill 10-12 muffin cups.

Bake for 18 - 22 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into one of them comes out clean. Pop the muffins out of the tins as soon as it is reasonable (after a few minutes) and cool on a rack. If you leave them in the pan they steam and can be challenging to remove.

Makes 10 - 12 muffins (12 in the Lodge cast iron muffin pans)...

Prep time: 20 minutes - Cook time: 25 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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These muffins look very pretty. Unfortunately, I don't really like saffron. But I like the idea of a yellow muffin with non-traditionnal ingredients. Maybe I could try those with a bit of turmeric? Or swap a bit of the whole-wheat flour with a bit of cornmeal? I smell some experimenting this week-end! ;)


I have saffron and farm fresh yogurt and milk. Looking forward to trying out this recipe!


They sound so interesting...certainly worth a try!


in uganda we dont have most of those ingredients but i will try it with those that we have around and i will tell you what i think thanks alot dear.


You're right this is a love or hate recipe because of the saffron. Personally, I think it sounds delicious! In our family out of 5 people only 2 dislike saffron. More for the rest of us!


I have to give these muffins a try. The addition of saffron sounds very intriguing! Thank you Heidi for sharing the recipe. I love it! :) Your pictures always make me drool.


This flavor combination sounds amazing! Must try adding saffron, almonds, and raisins to my fresh creamed corn this summer! Thanks, Heidi!


Love the addition of saffron. This muffins are pure indulgence.


I love your tins. Do they work well? I have silicon ones, but they are a pain most of the time.. I also love saffron, and I am intrigued by there muffins. I was thinking about taking off the sugar altogether and serving them with a starter or a soup..


Ooh these intrigue me!! I haven't really baked or cooked with saffron before.... Its definitely on my to-do list! These look awesome and I love that they have golden raisins :)


Cast iron muffin tins?! Now we're talking!

LoveFeast Table

mmmm these look lovely Heidi, there must be something in the air, I've been baking too, only my cakes are slightly more indulgent than yours! Thanks for sharing your lovely recipes as always :)

Gemma @ Well Seasoned

I definitely want a set of those cast iron muffin tins. They would be awesome for cornbread or biscuits.

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

I am all for the nontraditional- and I love saffron! These look so interesting, thanks Heidi! xo K

Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble)

Cornbread and buttermilk sounds delicious! Unfortunately, buying more saffron will cost me my right arm... Pauline, you are right, they sound great for Easter brunch. Perfect timing, Heidi!


I think these look great! The recipe really interests me...but what are saffron threads?


I'd love to get my hands on those muffin tins. I have stoneware now that I really do love, the brown/bake so evenly. I never knew so many possibilities existed with saffron. I have only ever used it in rice. I guess I need to change that.

Christie {Honoring Health}

You have inspired me ... now I know what I am taking to Easter Sunday lunch for the family this weekend!


Those muffin tins are slick! Will add to my list to try but I don't know if they can top your whole wheat bran muffins with yogurt. They are heavenly.

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

Stellar looking muffins! I love trying new things like this and baking with non-traditional flavours. And by the way I love the muffin tins...

Joe @ Eden Kitchen

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