Sunshine Orange Muffins from The Best of Bridge

Pretty orange and poppyseed muffins from Canada's famous Best of Bridge cookbook series. They're barely sweet and even then, sweetened mostly with a whole orange (skin and all!) and one of my favorite pantry ingredients for a flavor boost, frozen orange juice concentrate.

Sunshine Orange Muffins from Canada's Best of Bridge ♥

Homemade Muffins, Warm from the Oven, Bright with Orange Flavor. Mere Minutes to the Table, Perfect for Casual Breakfasts and Weekend Brunch. Fun Picnic Food. Great for Food Gifts. Potluck & Party Friendly.

  • "I love the Sunshine muffins as well ..." ~ raidergirl3

Best of Bridge: A (Canadian) Family Tradition

Canadian readers, you know the Best of Bridge cookbooks, eh? You grew up with them too, eh? Your moms and aunts and cousins cooked with them, for weeknight suppers but most especially for parties too, eh? (LOL. Sorry, I’ll quit with the eh’s.)

After twenty-two years and six cookbooks, the Best of Bridge is gearing up for a new generation of cooks – with two collections of favorite recipes, “The Best of the Best” and “The REST of the Best” of the Best of Bridge. Confusing, I know, that’s a lot of bests. If a double-negative makes a positive, does a triple best make a surefire hit? Chances are!

The morning after the cookbooks hit my mailbox, I sat down with a cup of tea (real Red Rose, thank you …) but got no further than breakfast before draining my teacup (Royal Albert, thank you …) and turning on the oven.

Forty-five minutes later, we broke open warm muffins, barely sweet, extra-tender and full of orange essence. It would be easy to embellish these muffins – with orange zest added with the flour, say, or chopped golden raisins or toasted pecans or even, alors, mini chocolate chips. Me, I loved them plain with a little marmalade.

Once again, Best of Bridge, you are the best.

Sunshine Orange Muffins from Canada's Best of Bridge ♥

Six Degrees of Separation

My Canadian family has been swapping Best of Bridge recipes as long as I can remember.

But my own small Best of Bridge claim to fame comes from my American family. My dear Auntie Karen went to school with Linda Barber Jacobson (now deceased), one of the eight women who played bridge together in the 1970s and collected their recipes into one edition after another of the Best of Bridge cookbooks, a Canadian culinary institution. Last month Auntie Karen wrote, “There were four of us living in a room the size of a public phone booth. Two from Canada and two of us from the States. Wonderful memories."

But there's more! In 2015, Best of Bridge passed the torch spatula to a new generation of Canadian authors, including one of my very favorite food bloggers, Julie van Rosendaal of the Calgary-based food blog Dinner with Julie.

What Is Canadian Cuisine? What Are "Canadian" Cookbooks?

For me, the answer is easy. My Canadian recipes are family recipes, the ones that come from my mom's side of the family. Are they "Canadian" in the way that "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet" are American? Not really.

Awhile back, I scoured the cookbook sections in both Toronto and Winnipeg bookstores but found nothing that I felt really represented Canada well. Perhaps my search is a fool's game, is there one definitive "American" cookbook either? Of course not. I did find the lovely Across the Table: An Indulgent Look at Food in Canada by Cynthia Wine (what a great name for a food writer!) with gorgeous original watercolours by Canadian artist Mary Pratt.

So Canadian Readers, is there a cookbook you think of as "Canadian"? one you might gift to a visitor from another country, say? or one you think somehow wraps its arms around the vast melting pot that is Canada?

UPDATE Many thanks to the many readers who responded in the comments, I so appreciate your sharing your favorite Canadian cookbooks here!

BUT THERE'S MORE! I follow so, so many Canadian food blogs and it's wonderful to see the appearance of a "Canadian" food sensibility. It's showing up in cookbooks too, see this 2017 list of four new Canadian cookboks from Simple Bites. I'm off to check 'em out!

What's In Sunshine Orange Muffins? Pantry Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. Usually I'm a big fan of substitutes, in this case, I recommend sticking with the recipe, it just works.

  • Orange Flavor! The orange flavors in these muffins are really special and come from two sources. First, a whole orange, that's right, including the skin where intense orange oils are found. Second, frozen orange juice concentrate, something I consider almost a miracle ingredient in my kitchen.
  • Typical Wet Ingredients egg + vegetable oil
  • Typical Dry Ingredients sugar + all-purpose flour + whole-wheat flour + baking powder & baking soda + salt
  • For a Striking Appearance poppy seeds (optional but quite pretty)

How to Make Sunshine Orange Muffins

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in three easy steps. You can definitely do this!

  • GET OUT THE BLENDER! This is an unusual first step but it's key to grinding up the whole orange. Be sure to cut it up first and most of all, be sure to remove any orange seeds. They would probably grind up but would add an unwelcome bitterness.
  • CONTINUE WITH THE BLENDER? SWITCH TO A MIXING BOWL? I usually move to a mixing bowl but Best of Bridge calls for finishing mixing the muffins right there in the blender.
  • BAKE Scoop the muffin batter into standard-size muffin cups and bake.
  • That's it!

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this fun muffin recipe inspires you, please do save and share! I'd be honored ...

Sunshine Orange Muffins ♥, barely sweet, sweetened mostly with a whole orange and one of my favorite pantry ingredients for a flavor boost, frozen orange juice concentrate.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes but honestly, best after a few hours
Makes 12 regular-size muffins
  • 1 whole orange, skin left on, ends trimmed, halved, seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (135g) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (47g) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 125g
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour, fluffed to aerate or 62g
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, optional but pretty

PREP Heat the oven to 375F/190C. Spray a muffin tin or line cups with paper or (my favorite) silicone muffin cups.

BLENDER Place the chopped orange, OJ concentrate, egg, sugar and oil in a blender and whiz away until smooth and airy, about a minute.

MIX Now – decide if you want to save a dish and continue mixing in the blender or go easy on yourself and move to a mixing bowl. If continuing with the mixer, add the remaining ingredients and run the blender just until the ingredients are mixed, scraping the sides early to avoid overmixing.

Me, I move to the mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix with a large fork or a spatula just until blended.

SCOOP Using two spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape, fill the muffin tins evenly.

BAKE for 15 – 20 minutes until golden and a cake tester (affiliate link) inserted in the center comes out clean.

LET COOL. Serve with butter and jam or plain. The flavors develop over a couple of hours and the muffins stay moist and tender for a good two days.

ALANNA’s TIPS Based on a pantry inventory of something like a dozen jars, seems to be I like buying jams and preserves more than eating them. But call me hooked on something called “Scandinavian Delights” Orange Danish Spread from Elki Corporation. For anyone keen on an online order, they are sold on Elki’s website but for a depressing $7.50 a jar plus shipping no doubt. But I found a few jars of the marmalade-like preserves (except WAY less sweet) at Marshall’s for $3.50 each and hope to snag a few more next visit. The poppy seeds are my addition, I love how they look. Plus, y'know, seeds ...
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Muffin: 138 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 17mg Cholesterol; 345mg Sodium; 22g Carb; 1g Fiber; 10g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 5 & Freestyle 4 & myWW green 4 & blue 4 & purple 4 & future WW points This recipe has been "Alanna-sized" with reductions in processed sugar and flour and increases in natural sugars, flavor and whole-grains.
Adapted from The Best of the Best from the Best of Bridge Cookbooks. This and The Rest of the Best seem to be new releases of the 2004 editions of these cookbooks. Many thanks for complimentary copies from the publisher, Robert Rose. DISCLOSURE My Disclosure Promise

More Morning Muffin Recipes

~ muffin recipes ~
A collection of savory and sweet muffins ♥
Make-Ahead Bran Muffin Batter ♥, mix now, bake in small batches later, including a single microwave bran muffin in a mug.

Rhubarb Muffins ♥, less sweet, all whole-wheat, moist and fruity.

Hearty Heart-Loving Muffins ♥ A Veggie Venture, moist, fruity muffins, all you want in a morning muffin. Whole-grain, low-sugar, no added fat plus carrots, apple and raisins and a surprise ingredient.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ orange & orange juice concentrate ~
~ poppy seed recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2012, 2017, 2019 & 2023 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous4/18/2012

    I think more than 22 years--Best of Bridge was given by Remax as new house gifts in the late seventies. I still have mine, along with all the following books, and love them all!

  2. I love the Sunshine muffins as well, but I add walnuts. Orange + walnuts = yum

    If I had to give up all my cookbooks, and keep only one, it would be the Best of the Best books.

    My Best claim to fame is that my uncle dated two of the women, so we always got the books for Christmas presents and have been making their recipes, and collecting the raves, for many many years.

  3. Rona Y4/18/2012

    Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book! Originally published in the 1960s, I think, so it mostly focuses on the "Canadian" recipes from those of European descent, but it has many classics, including some which are no longer in vogue. Some examples: Fricandeau, Malpeque Oyster Stew, Holubtse (Ukrainian stuffed cabbage rolls), Glazed Back Bacon, Hot Cross Buns, Blueberry Grunt, Maplewood Doughnuts, Quebec Sugar Pie, Grape Jelly.

    For a more multicultural view of Canadian cooking, I would look at cookbooks from centres or services for immigrants. I have one called "Homemade Heritage" that was published as a fundraiser in Winnipeg (in the 1980s, I think), and it has a wide range of recipes rooted in different ethnicities, but all Canadian none-the-less.

  4. Oh! I used to have a carrot cake recipe that involved using a whole orange and it was the absolute best one I ever tried. Will definitely try this recipe. I guess you could make it into a cake as well!

    If you wanted to turn it into a carrot cake recipe what proportions of the other ingredients would you use?

  5. When I think of a quintessentially Canadian cookbook I think of all the small books published by church groups or schools.

    Or if I want a taste of my childhood, I turn to the Mennonite Girls Can Cook Cookbook. Every time I look through it, I see recipes for food my mom and grandmas made when I was growing up.

  6. Thank you for reminding me about the Best of Bridge books, always impressive recipes and never fail!! Although at times to much reliance on canned products!
    Then to my surprise you mentioned a name I haven't heard for a long time, Cynthia Wine, who I enjoying listening to her being interviewed by our CBC Radio Morning side host Peter Gzowski .. As a food Critic in Winnipeg, she would go anonymous.. and would provide most interesting reviews! I didn't realize she wrote any books! Thanks for that! Her father was a salesman in rural Saskatchewan in the thirties and I remember her saying he would only order hot tea and a boiled eggs as that he felt was safe to eat. how things and our eating out styles have changed!

  7. 2doggirl4/19/2012

    The Company's Coming series of cookbooks from Alberta are very Canadian! Many simple and delicious recipes.

  8. Anonymous4/23/2012

    The magazine Canadian Living is a great source for Canadian Cooking. I`ve lived in the U.S. since the mid-70`s, and my mum has given me a subscription to the magazine every year I`ve lived here! I also enjoyed the Company`s Coming Cookebook series by Jean Pare, and of course the little church and women`s group cookbooks are always best!

  9. kirsten4/26/2012

    Yum! I've devoured the "Muffins! a cookbook" by two of our mothers' classmates, Joan and Marilyn, but I have to tell you my newest muffin craze-soaked oatmeal muffins. Take a cup of rolled (not quick) oats, a cup of buttermilk, and combine in a bowl on the counter for a while (minimum 30 min, max for me has been 6 hours). Add 1 cup flour (whole wheat works great), 1/3 cup brown sugar (def could be less), 1/4 cup oil, 1 egg, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp each baking soda & salt. I'll go check to see if there's anything else I'm missing in a minute, but I make the recipe so often it's memorized. That's the basis for me. To that I usually add a cup of pumpkin (that I baked and portioned out into baggies before freezing-actually I'll toss the frozen pumpkin on top of the buttermilk-oats and just let it hang out while it thaws) and handful of chocolate chips. I've switched it up with a cup of diced unpeeled apple and butterscotch chips, or chopped dried cherries and chocolate chips. Nearly always with the chocolate chips-my handful is about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup and my kids still think they are putting one over on me getting dessert for breakfast or snack. Mini chips work best as a few go a long way. This could be converted into a savory muffin really easily (saw your Sweet Potato and Feta ones on Veggie Venture and will try those too when the CSA gives me sweet potatoes). The muffin is so moist and tender. I found the original recipe I think on allrecipes, I know the description was something about the guy's then-girlfriend making them. Oh, and they bake a bit longer than I usually do muffins-18 min at 400F.

  10. I was just introduced the the Best of Bridge cookbooks last year by a Canadian friend. They're great. As a fellow WW Lifetime member, I love how you Alanna-size your recipes and include the PointsPlus value. Bookmarked to try very soon!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna