Some mornings you’re on.

You know, when you seem to glide effortlessly through the morning routine: wake up a few minutes before the alarm, refreshed and ready to greet the day; breakfast comes together like magic; hopping in the shower doesn’t make you cringe at the thought of stepping out afterward, drippy and cold.

Today I had one of those mornings. I managed to sleep until 0655, miraculous for me, an habitual early riser. Whipped up a brilliant, Spring-y breakfast of toasted quinoa and millet, dried figs, cardamom, jaggery, coconut and pistachios, topped with a splash of half & half. The NYT crossword: dominated. The hot shower doubled as my personal recording studio for George Harrison’s “Sometimes”. I managed to knock out the laundry and a homework assignment all before 0900.

Even my attempt to empty the refrigerator for lunch was lovely: the last Indian-spiced lamb burger from the freezer, served with warm naan and yogurt garlic dipping sauce. And because the meal needed some veg, I julienned a carrot, diced a few red pepper strips from yesterday’s curry, cubed a chunk of Edam and tossed those all together with chopped scallion, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and toasted black and white sesame seeds.

carrot and capsicum salad

Scrounging for the lamb burger, I noticed a half-pound bag of pine nuts bought in a fit of glee a few weeks back. Bill’s Greek market on Lake is one that cuts straight to my heart: an unassuming storefront opens into a bright, spacious and immaculate gem run by a pint-sized Greek lady. One step into Bill’s is like entering a Mediterranean agora, complete with an adopted Greek grandmother for your stay. The latest visit yielded mahlab, za’atar, fresh green olives, lavash, homemade labneh, and the pine nuts. At $11.99 per pound, I couldn’t help myself.

I’d be very unhappy to see my pine nuts turn rancid Deep within my ever-growing folder of recipes was the perfect solution: orange pine nut muffins. Clearly it was a sign that I’d saved the zest from my blood orange

Sometimes you’re just on.

Orange Pine Nut Mini Muffins [makes 20 mini muffins]

Printable recipe

If you don’t have a stand mixer, simply be extra careful not to overmix during the alternate additions of dry ingredients and yogurt; and be sure to let the butter come fully to room temperature for easier creaming. This recipe can be easily doubled, or more.

1/4 c unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 c superfine sugar

1 c all-purpose flour

1/2 t baking soda

pinch salt

1 large egg

1/2 c whole milk yogurt

1-2 t orange zest

2-3 T pine nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 375° F and place one rack in the middle position. Line a mini muffin tin with liners or spray with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add egg and beat until mixture is light and fluffy.

Separately, sift flour, baking soda and salt. Add the orange zest and toasted pine nuts, stirring to distribute. With mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients and yogurt to butter mixture – starting with the dry ingredients and ending with the yogurt. Do not overmix or you will end up with tough, dense muffins. Divide batter evenly into muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes, checking every 3 minutes thereafter if the muffins are not yet lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean — mine took exactly 20 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week; or freeze in a similar container for 2-3 weeks.

Adapted from sass & veractiy

tinymuffins_orange pine nut

Now if you’ll excuse me, I could go for a little sweet.