Cheap Recipe: Chocolate Orange Spice Muffins

11 Aug

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Who says a chocolate muffin has to taste like a bald cupcake?

Who says a chocolate muffin has to taste like a bald cupcake?

I invented these muffins over the weekend by accident. I was rearranging the cabinets when I found a box of chocolate muffin mix I’d bought last month and forgotten about. Normally, I’m not a big fan of chocolate muffins because the flavor is usually so one-dimensional. But I spied a fresh orange sitting out on the countertop and decided to experiment a little. After all, muffin mix is 69 cents at my local grocery store. What did I have to lose? The end result took me by surprise, it was so good! I usually don’t care for dark chocolate, so this variation on milk chocolate added a pleasing and unexpected bite to the flavor without interfering with the sweetness of the cake. This experiment is definitely going down in my recipe box as a success!

Sometimes all a good breakfast requires is a cheap muffin mix and a little creativity.

Sometimes all a good breakfast requires is a cheap muffin mix and a little creativity.

Begin by emptying the contents of a cheap chocolate muffin mix (the size that makes about 6 muffins) into a good bowl with a pouring spout. I used an oversized glass measuring cup as my bowl.

Over the powdered mix, grate the peel of one medium-sized orange. Once the orange is

Add as much (or as little) orange zest as you like. I used the whole orange, but you don't have to.

Add as much (or as little) orange zest as you like. I used the whole orange, but you don't have to.

 satisfyingly bald, slice it open and squeeze about 2 tablespoons’ worth of juice over the mix.

Add 1/4 cup milk and break an egg into the mix. I also added 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla to help round out the citrus-chocolate combination. Instead of using cooking oil, I swiped a small (4-0z) container of applesauce from my toddler’s cabinet. (You can pull this switcharoo in a lot of recipes that call for oil or shortening if you want to cut out some of the extra fat.)

Throw in whatever spice you like. I used cinnamon and vanilla extract.

Throw in whatever spice you like. I used cinnamon and vanilla extract.

Stir the mixture until the consistency is even. Note that it will probably seem runnier than expected; don’t worry. Mine

Don't worry if the consistency seems thin. Mine was, too.

Don't worry if the consistency seems thin. Mine was, too.

 was too, and it made perfect muffins. Just make sure there are no pockets of dry powder in the mixture and you’ll be fine.

Coat the inside of six muffin tin cups with nonstick cooking spray. If using paper cupcake liners, go ahead and give each one a little spritz of cooking spray inside as well. Pour muffin batter into each cup. I overfilled six tins a little beyond the standard 3/4 full mark, and they rounded up nicely without turning into a mess or anything. I also tried sprinkling a handful of white chocolate chips over the muffins before baking, but the dough was so thin they sank to the bottom by the time baking

The white chocolate chips looked good going in, but sank to the bottom during oven time. Still tasted good, though.

The white chocolate chips looked good going in, but sank to the bottom during oven time. Still tasted good, though.

 was over. That didn’t bother me at all, but if you want chocolate chips or sprinkles or fancy sugar or whatever to stay at the top, you might want to yank them out of the oven after about 8 minutes and THEN put the topping on before replacing them back in the oven.

Bake approximately 12 minutes, or until muffins have risen sufficiently and spring up again when center is pressed on a little. (Or you can use the old toothpick-comes-clean trick, but I can never remember to find a toothpick ahead of time…)

Yummmmmm.

Yummmmmm.

Finished muffins should release easily from the inverted muffin tin and should cool at least 10 minutes before being served. Garnish with powdered sugar or fresh fruit if desired.

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2 Responses to “Cheap Recipe: Chocolate Orange Spice Muffins”

  1. Iris Robin August 11, 2009 at 4:43 PM #

    What a wonderful blog. This recipe sounds very tasty. I love the mix of chocolate and orange, but to use it in a muffin! Yum! Very easy to follow and thorough write up. I look forward to reading more of your wonderful recipes.

  2. Gracie August 11, 2009 at 4:51 PM #

    Thanks so much for the compliment! I am checking out your own website right now! Do you run that whole thing yourself? I’m so curious. It looks great! I’ll definitely be bookmarking you.

    –Gracie

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