Belinda Jeffery

Mandarin & hazelnut muffins

These muffins are based on a recipe I tore out of a magazine over 30 years ago and have carried around with me ever since, always meaning to give them a try but never quite getting there, but now at last I have, and I’m so glad I did as they’re oh-so good! I’ve reworked the recipe quite a bit, but the thing that attracted me to it in the first place was that final dousing of the muffins in freshly squeezed mandarin juice and the idea is a real winner. I hope you enjoy them!


Makes 12 medium-sized muffins

  • 100g hazelnuts
  • 220g plain flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (165) sultanas
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup (180ml) buttermilk
  • ¼ cup (60ml) light olive oil
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Finely grated zest 3 mandarins
  • 100ml mandarin juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Small handful coarsely chopped hazelnuts, for decorating
  • 1 cup (250ml) freshly squeezed mandarin juice, extra, for trickling over the top of the muffins

Preheat your oven to 180C, then tuck 12 paper muffin or cupcake liners into a 12-hole muffin tin.


Tip the hazelnuts, plain flour, caster sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and whiz them together until the hazelnuts are finely chopped. Tip the mixture into a large bowl, then stir in the sultanas.


Put the eggs, buttermilk, light olive oil, melted butter, mandarin zest, 100ml mandarin juice, and vanilla into the food processor, and whiz them together for about 15 seconds until they’re thoroughly combined. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture then stir the two together until they’re just combined – don’t overdo this mixing or the muffins will be tough.


Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. (I use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop for this, as it makes scooping the batter out of the bowl and into the muffin cups neatly so much easier.) Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts over the top of each muffin.


Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly pressed and a fine skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer the muffin tin to a cooling rack and leave the muffins to cool in the tin. While they’re still quite warm, slowly drizzle about 1 tablespoon of the extra mandarin juice over the top of each one. You’ll find some of the juice will run off and down the sides of the muffin cup, but don’t worry, once the muffins are cool, remove them from the tin and spoon the juice in the bottom of the cup back over them.


They really don’t need anything served with them as they’re very moist and full of flavour…however, a dab of butter is always a good idea in my book!


P.S. They freeze well for up to a month.