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Italian Panettone Muffins for Christmas, New Years, or 12th Night

Updated: Dec 28, 2022

If you want to have a soft, rich, and absolutely delicious muffin to continue on with the last bit of the Christmas season, then drop everything and scroll down. These are easy to make and such a delight on a cool evening with a small cup of coffee or tea and a good book... and a Pomeranian.

Panettone is an Italian sweet bread, a small loaf cake, that originated in Milan and is usually enjoyed for Christmas and/or New Years, however, you could also make it for Twelfth Night! Traditionally this is a dome-shaped cake with a light & airy texture, but a rich taste. This used to be a major celebration as the last of the 12 days and the eve of Epiphany. At the start of the evening, “Twelfth Night” cake was eaten, which is a rich cake made with fruit, butter, nuts, & spices. Panettone (Italian Christmas Cake) is the closest thing we have to Twelfth Night cake and goes wonderfully with the season. You should be warned in advance that you will need the proper mold for traditional Panettone. I did not get this in enough time so I adapted and made Panettone Muffins. It is essentially the same thing without the rising process needed to make the bread cake.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Dried Fruit Soak Time: 1 hour

Bake Time: 18-20 minutes

Yields: 12 Muffins


  • 1 1/2 cups diced (or whole) dried fruit *We chose raisins, cherries, & cranberries.* I have seen others that do apricots, pineapple, dates, your choice!

  • 1/4 cup mixture of juice of your choice & whiskey *Rum can also be used be we are more whiskey people.

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons cake enhancer **OPTIONAL**

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 1/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

  • 2/3 cup milk

  • 2 tablespoons course white sparkling sugar, for topping

and this...

and this...

That's all I promise, this is what happens when I bake hungry, I forget to take a picture of the entire cast and crew together.


Measure out 1 1/2 cups dried fruit of your choice, dice or keep whole.



and Cranberries, oh my!

Measure 1/4 cup juice and whiskey mixture.

And a little bit into a lowball glass for yourself! Cheers!

In a glass bowl, pour the whiskey juice over the dried fruit.

Heat the fruit in the microwave until very hot, 3-4 minutes, then allow it to cool at room temperature for an hour. (This is the route that I chose instead of having the dried fruit soak over night, which you are more than welcome to do, I won't stop you!)

Whiskey Bath.

While that is soaking prepare your wet ingredients. In a medium- sized bowl, combine 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1/4 cup butter, and 2/3 cup granulated sugar until smooth.

Beat together until smooth.

Add in the two eggs and beat to combine.

Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and set aside.

Go preheat the oven to 375 so that when you are done combing everything the oven is ready for those sweet little muffins!

Now give some attention to your dry ingredients. Whisk together 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 1/4 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. *If you are using cake enhancer, combine 2 table spoons of that with the rest.

Pour 2/3 cup milk into a measuring cup and get your wet and dry ingredients ready.

Pour small portions of your dry ingredients and milk into the wet ingredients by alternating each one until everything is thoroughly combined.

Flour Mixture


Flour Mixture


Until all is smoothly combined!

Stir in the fruit along with any remaining liquid.

Put muffin cups/liners into a standard muffin tin and spoon the batter into the tin until each is evenly filled to the very top. Optional: sprinkle the tops of the muffins generously with the coarse sugar.

Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, mine stayed in for 20, or until they are a beautiful golden brown color. You can insert a cake tester, or good old fashioned toothpick, into the middle of one of them to see if it comes out clean.

Remove them from the oven, let them cool on a cooling rack, place on a little plate and eat with a nice cup of Christmas tea.

Or just eat it off the cooling rack if you're like me.

Fruit is evenly distributed, I would say that's a "good bake".


Did you make this recipe? If so I would love to see it, drop a picture in the comment or send it to me on social media Facebook @HisGirlSunday.

For more liturgical living resources check out the blog section of my website or follow me on Facebook to see what Catholic things I am doing to celebrate feast days.


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