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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Orange Muffins with Chocolate Granola

If you wake up this weekend with nothing in the house for breakfast and a craving for muffins, you could do worse than this recipe!  

I love baking but I don't do a ton of it because there's very limited need for baked goods in a two-person household that's trying to eat healthy and rarely eats dessert.  

This recipe is adapted from the Joy of Cooking which is a terrific resource for baking.  You probably have most of these ingredients on hand, or ingredients for some other muffin variation.  Here's what you need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of one orange
2 large eggs
juice of one orange (approximately 1/4 cup) 
3/4 cup milk (enough to make one cup when combined with orange juice)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
chocolate granola, chocolate chips or chopped nuts for topping

Baking can be a precise science but I've found many recipes, especially for quick breads and muffins, are very forgiving.  It was first thing in the morning when I made these and I was paying less attention than I should.  I made a few mistakes and they still turned out great.  So don't be afraid to make muffins from scratch!  

First mix together your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt and orange zest.  Here's where I made my first mistake not paying attention to the recipe.  I also tossed in the brown sugar, forgetting that sugar is almost always a wet ingredient in baking, because it needs liquid to help it dissolve.   I pulled the sugar out and whisked the rest together.

Next mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.  My other mistake was dumping them all in and whisking instead of creaming the butter and sugar together, then adding the eggs, then the milk & OJ and vanilla.  The sugar didn't really dissolve and was a little lumpy but I pushed on. 

Now mix the wet ingredients into the dry and mix lightly, just until moistened.  Overmixing will make the muffins tough.  

Here's my lumpy batter.  That's ok, don't fret about a few lumps.

Pour the batter into a greased muffin tin.  I never have paper muffin cups on hand but they'd be an even better idea.

Now sprinkle the tops with something if you like.  I used this high protein chocolate granola, but almonds or hazelnuts, chocolate chips or streusel topping would be great.

Bake for about 17 minutes, then let cool in the pan 2 minutes before removing.  

Tasty, moist and flavourful. These keep for a couple of days and freeze well if you can't eat them all right away.  

Breakfast time!

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