I don’t know about you, but for me, one of the most perplexing candies of my childhood was the chocolate orange. The first time I unwrapped one, I was positive that I would be biting into a juicy piece of fruit, coated in chocolate. My poor two front teeth learned the hard way, that this was going to be a solid block of chocolate, with an orange flavor. After thinking about how weird that was, for quite some time, I bit the bullet (which was also just as hard as the chocolate orange) and cracked that ball into pieces. And, that was the beginning of the internal conflict that has haunted me for years.
Every time I see one of these balls sitting on the shelf in the store, the conversation automatically begins. “No, chocolate goes with berries. Not oranges, berries”, my logical side says. “But, but, the tart…and the sweet….they’re just so good together”, says my other half. Normally, the latter half wins, and I end up with a chocolate orange in my cart.
That is the inspiration for today’s treats: Chocolate Orange Mini Muffins. Aside from my Cranberry Orange Loaves, I’ve never used an orange flavored bread as a base before. Banana breads? Sure! Zucchini Breads? Love them! Orange breads? Not usually. But, after seeing a shelf of chocolate oranges in the store the other day, I knew it was time.
I’m also taking a bit of a detour from my normal baking habits today. As you guys know, I’m typically all about the jumbo. Jumbo cookies, jumbo muffins, jumbo everything. But, sometimes you just need a bite! Or, sometimes you just need a few bites! That is exactly why we are making mini muffins today. Either way, these portion controlled muffins are great for a yummy breakfast, a simple snack, or an after dinner treat. And, because they’re so small, you can choose to eat one, or five of them. Or, eight of them like some other blogger I know did…
ANYWAYS, let’s get started!
First, we’ll start by making a basic quick bread base. You might notice that this is very similar to the base I use for my Blackberry Lemon Poppyseed Muffins. The dry ingredients will consist of flour, baking soda, salt, and orange zest.
The best part about this recipe is the wet ingredients. No equipment required. What. So. Ever. Go ahead and whisk together your egg and sugars. Then, for the other wet ingredients: buttermilk (remember my trick about making your own buttermilk?!), oil, and vanilla.
In my recipe, you’ll notice it calls for orange juice. When I say orange juice here, I mean the juice you would drink for breakfast, from the bottle. It tends to have a concentrated flavor that stands out a bit more once it’s baked. When you are mixing your dry ingredients into the wet, you’ll fold in half of the dry, add in this orange juice, and then fold in the other half of the dry ingredients.
Last, but most certainly not least, throw in some chocolate chips. Since these are mini muffins, you could go for small chips for a more even dispersal, but I used what I had on hand…which were some good old fashioned, standard sized chips. So deal!
Scoop about a half tablespoon of batter into each mini muffin cavity and bake these in a 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes. They cool pretty quickly, so you’ll be able to tap them out of the pan within a few minutes of taking them out of the oven.
There you have it folks, the perfect breakfast, mid-day snack, dessert, midnight snack…whatever! Mini sized, portable, and full of that reminiscent chocolatey orange flavor we all love so much. Or, at least I love so much.
Next week, we’re solving a BIG, dire problem of mine…I’ve run out of granola. Until then, stay tuned and stay hungry!
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 1 egg
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup buttermilk*
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup orange juice**
- 1 ½ cups chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, salt, and zest
- In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and sugars.
- Add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla to the wet ingredient bowl and combine.
- Scoop half of the dry ingredients into the wet, and fold to incorporate. Add the orange juice and mix, and then fold in the last half of the dry ingredients.
- Mix in chocolate chips
- Disperse batter into muffin tin cavities, filling each about ¾ of the way full.***
- Bake for about 7-8 minutes.
- * Buttermilk can be made using the same amount of cow's milk and adding a tablespoon of acidity (juice from lemon/orange or white wine vinegar).
- **Orange juice should be from bottle.
- ***Recipe can also be used to make standard muffins, jumbo muffins, a standard loaf, or mini loaves. Baking times will vary.
- - Standard Muffins: Yield 12
- - Jumbo Muffins: Yield 6
- - Standard Loaf: Yield 1
- - Mini Loaves: Yield 4