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.

SNE

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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Comments

I love saffron and am always ready to try it in a new dish! These will make a great Easter Sunday breakfast. thanks Heidi!

Amanda

Will have to try these for the little ones...easy to have children try anything in muffin shape....

A Little Yumminess

Wow!! I can't wait to try these out!! Yeahy, another excuse to bake :D Thank you!! Looking forward to more amazing recipes.

Anonymous

I had to make this when I saw it. Perfect blend of sweat and salty. I used 100% whole wheat pastry and it turned out truly perfect. My husband and I agree its the best muffin we've made on your site. We love it and it will be a family staple. :) HS: So glad you liked them Joanna, and thanks for reporting back.

joanna

Very different, but I like different! Have yet to use saffron, isn't that crazy? Not-too-sweet muffins are my very favorite kind.

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

I am intrigued by the saffron.

Sense of Home

Can I just put in the whole egg? I hate to waste the yolks. Thanks, Renee

renee

I love Lucia buns so much I even buy them at Ikea -- these look like a wonderful alternative. And it helps that I have all of the ingredients ...

Kate @ Savour Fare

So funny you all noticed the muffin tin! That was the first thing i noticed too. I think i may be one not to like these muffins. Not much of a fan for cornbread muffins : (

deborah

is that a skinny laminx tea towel i spy? so cute. love how they're popping up everywhere. muffins are added to my baking list!

Ashley

The name cant be any better:) Lucia muffins:) will have to try those...saffron is always expensive, there is no shortcut to it i guess...but its still far from Christmas, Santa Lucia is on 13 Dec...Thanks Heidi! Love your blog!...xx

Lucia (Lu)

Hmmm... I'm one of those people who is oddly ambivalent to muffins. Love scones, adore zucchini (and the like) breads, flirt with cupcakes. But I do like saffron, so perhaps this recipe will be my litmus test as to the trad vs non-trad muffin question. Surely, one of life's mysteries ;)

Blake @ Salt Teak & Fog

Hmmm... I'm one of those people who is oddly ambivalent to muffins. Love scones, adore zucchini (and the like) breads, flirt with cupcakes. But I do like saffron, so perhaps this recipe will be my litmus test as to the trad vs non-trad muffin question. Surely, one of life's mysteries ;)

Blake @ Salt Teak & Fog

Heidi - I have to tell you that I have never been a big fan of saffron, and I'm not sure why that is....perhaps I've just never had it in the right dish. That's what I tell myself anyway, and so I am always on the look-out for that one recipe that will turn me around on saffron....these muffins sound delicious, perhaps this is the one? - S

Oui, Chef

I'm really interested in this, but around here one small box of saffron threads (about 1T, if that) can be as much as 7 dollars. Does anyone know where I can order saffron online for a reasonable price?

Ghibbitude

Marty, soy milk with a bit of apple cider vinegar left to sit for 10 minutes for so thickens up pretty nicely and works well as a buttermilk substitute. If I have some, I sometimes mix in a bit of plain soy yogurt as well.

Beth

Wow ^^ I Think I'll Be Making These Sometime Soon .

Anberu

I'd definitely be one of those who will love this recipe! Saffron muffins? Bring it on!

Amanda at Enchanted Fig

This recipe sounds delightful! I can't wait to try it!

Danielle L.

I know this makes me crazy but I really don't like saffron. That said- they look lovely!

Melange a Trois

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