Monday, September 30, 2013

Grand Marnier Orange Muffins #MuffinMonday

I am going to hazard a guess that most of my readers can walk into a grocery store or a liquor store and pick up a bottle of anything that suits their fancy, given the budget and an ID that says they are of age.  Here in Dubai, it’s not that simple.  When we arrived last November, my husband handed in his passport to the relevant authorities and waited almost three months for a resident’s visa.  Then the application process began to get a permit to buy alcohol.

I am not sure what the hold up was, but that was finally approved in June and handed over to him in August.  And it's only good for one year, expiring next June, of course.  He has a monthly spending limit and there are only a couple of businesses that are allowed to import and sell alcohol so you have to go to one of their outlets to shop.  And make sure you bring the permit card or alcohol license, as it is called here!

Up until this summer, we were stocking the bar with duty free purchases from when he traveled.  Now we are like real people who can go to the store and buy another bottle of wine when the urge hits.  Or when the weekend comes.  I’m sharing this little window into my world just to tell you that I used Grand Marnier in this recipe because, with a little skip and a jump, I can go into our bar now and find almost whatever I need for any recipe. Or go buy it.  Yay!

Since this week’s muffin ingredient is oranges, the orange liqueur intensified the flavor and made these muffins wonderful.  As they baked the whole house smelled like I was sitting in a citrus grove, basking in the warm sunshine.

Do you ever bake with liqueurs?  Please share your favorite additions by leaving a comment.

1 3/4 cups or 220g all-purpose flour
1/2 cup or 115g sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup or 60ml Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1/2 cup or 120ml freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup or 60ml sour cream
1 large egg
1/4 cup or 55g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Zest of 1 orange

Optional but recommended – sugar to sprinkle on before baking.  (I used several tablespoons full.  Don’t be shy. When it bakes, the sugar makes a nice crunchy crust.)

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your muffin pan by greasing it or lining it paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, the sugar, baking powder and salt.  Grate in the orange zest and stir well.

In another bowl, whisk together the Grand Marnier, sour cream, egg, melted butter and orange juice.

Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold them together until just mixed.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Top each muffin cup with a generous sprinkle of sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a rack for a few minutes and then remove the muffins to cool completely.



  1. LOl it could be worse! when my parents lived in Saudi they only had alcohol bought on the black market or brewed themselves!

  2. too funny... but at least you got access to all the good hooch now! (and you can put it in everything!)

    When I moved up here to the mountains, I didn't really think much about it being a dry county, until I got a craving for a bottle of wine. It was a 40 mile drive to the closest store just to get anything.
    I felt like a mad smuggler - every (infrequent) trip to the city I loaded up the car with as much hooch as I could carry

  3. Oh, absolutely, Fiona! I know that some folks are much worse off than I am! That's what make me skip and jump with gratitude. :)

  4. You just don't think of those things until the urge hits! My sister used to live in a dry county in Texas and I remember having to plan ahead if you wanted wine with dinner. I would like to see your trunk on a stocking up trip, Toby!

  5. Thanks, Sue! We loved these muffins. Hope you enjoy them as well.

  6. That's crazy that you can't buy alcohol easily! I love baking with alcohol and Grand Marnier has such great flavor. Know these muffins must be delightful!

  7. YUM! I've never cooked with liqueurs before but we have some Grand Mariner in the house so that would be fantastic! I'm sorry you have to go through so much to get alcohol there - I guess we get used to all the comforts of being an American and can't imagine not being able to buy whatever I wanted. There are trade offs to being a world traveler! :)

  8. Wow, I had no idea it was like that in Dubai. How interesting! I love Grand Marnier, but wish it wasn't so expensive. It seems like there's nothing to between the $4 bottle of no-name Triple Sec (which is kind of gross), and the $40 bottles of Grand Marnier and Cointreau.

  9. I will NEVER again complain about having to run out to the liquor store!

  10. The middle east really is like another world when it comes to alcohol! It's crazy! I love baking with alcohol...though I've never delved into Grand Marnier. These muffins look worth a first try!

  11. Any orange liqueur is great in orange muffins, Joanne. Give it a try!

  12. There you go, Betsy! Just helping people see the good in their own lives. :)

  13. You crack me up, Nancy! But I must admit I am happy about it too.

    The muffins were some of my best, if I do say so myself. I attribute it to the alcohol. :)

  14. Some larger liquor stores might sell the airplane bottles as well, Lori. Which come in pretty handy for baking.

  15. It's also pretty good used straight as a glaze, Kelli, but then you get the stronger alcohol flavor which some people might not like.

    There are indeed trade offs! Over all, I am happy with the life we've chosen though. So I guess that's a good thing.

  16. G'day! These looks terrific Stacy and are now on my list to do!
    Will be great for parties, entertaining which we do the whole year through! Thank you!
    Cheers! Joanne

  17. Hi, can I use self raising flour for this and omit the baking powder?


Where in the world are you? Leave me a comment! It makes me happy to know you are out there.