Normally I don’t make muffins. Muffins are one of those in-between foods: not a bread roll, not a cupcake. I really like cake. I really like bread. I don’t really like muffins.
However, my dad and a friend just drove the rest of my earthly possessions from Minnesota to Southern California. When discussing dates and times with Dad, he oh-so-casually mentioned that Mom was sending treats, but they would probably run out about the time they arrived at my place. Subtle, Dad, subtle.
I sent them a good amount of caramel corn, but I wanted to make something else, too. Muffins were good car food, would freeze once they got to their destination, could be breakfast or a snack, and (most important) could be made with ingredients I already had on hand.
There was a single orange destined for my afternoon snack, about half a package of chocolate chips in the cupboard, and your basic flour/sugar/baking powder/milk/egg combo for the batter. Sold!
The chocolate chips I used were Ghiradelli, and while I normally like a darker chocolate with orange, I thought the slightly larger size of the chips combined with the stronger flavor was a little over-powering for the delicate citrus muffins. At one point I had considered tossing in some dried cranberries, and that may have been a better instinct. Mini-chips might be good, too, but I didn’t have any.
For sprinkling the tops I used Sugar in the Raw which is turbinado sugar; I like the coarser sugar for crunch. The crunchy sweet top and subtle orange flavor were quite good. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate in muffins, so I would have liked them better without, I think. The original recipe also has an optional addition of coconut which sounds nice, but A) I didn’t have any coconut and B) Dad doesn’t like it. Maybe I will try them again and see if I like muffins more than I used to…
Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Makes 12 muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white, milk, or semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon orange oil OR zest of one large orange
coarse sugar for sprinkling
1.) In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips.
2.) In a small mixing bowl, combine milk, vegetable oil, egg, and orange oil or zest. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir for about 20 seconds. Lumps are ok — do not overmix.
3.) Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease or line with paper cups 12 muffin tins. Fill each cup 2/3 full of batter. Sprinkle the top with 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sugar.
4.) Bake at 400F for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pan 5 minutes; remove to a wire rack and let cool completely.