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- 1½ cups diced dried fruit (a mix of dried apricots, raisins, pineapple, dates and cranberries)
- 1/8 cup orange juice
- 1/8 cup rum
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia (or a mix of vanilla and orange extracts)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 heaping tablespoons coarse sugar (such as Demerara, Turbinado or white sparkling sugar), for topping
- In a medium bowl, mix the diced dried fruit, orange juice and rum and stir to combine. Heat the bowl of fruit in the microwave on high until steaming hot. Stir again and let sit for 5 minutes. Then pour the fruit and juice/rum mixture out onto a plate and allow the fruit to cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-muffin tin with paper liners and spray each cup with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, vegetable oil and sugar and beat until smooth. Add the eggs – one at a time – mixing after each addition.
- Stir in the fiori di sicilia and vanilla extracts.
- Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the butter mixture, mixing after each addition and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Stir in the fruit and any remaining liquid, stirring again until evenly mixed.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, dividing the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the batter with the coarse sugar.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out cleanly. (They will be a pale golden color.)
- Remove from the oven. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, transfer the muffins to a rack to cool completely.
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