January 14, 2011

Chocolate Orange Swirl Muffins

These muffins were on Mel's Kitchen Cafe during her holiday "Sugar Rush." I've had them bookmarked since then and finally made them today. We all LOVED them. I can't decide if they are really a muffin- or a cupcake masquerading as one. Either way, they're good. Really good. Here is her exact recipe with a few of my notes in bold:

*Makes about 12 muffins

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
½ cup canola oil or melted butter (I used veg. oil)
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one medium orange (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips, regular or mini-sized (I used mini)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (for dark, nonstick pans) or 350 degrees for regular muffin tins. Line tins with cupcake liners or spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In a separate medium-size bowl beat together the egg, oil or butter, buttermilk, orange juice, vanilla and orange zest. Pour the wet mixture over the dry and mix together just until moistened. Don’t over mix! You may even see some small dry spots – as long as the mixture is evenly moistened without being overmixed, it will be fine.

Into two bowls, divide the batter in half. Sift the cocoa powder in to one of the bowls and fold in half of the chocolate chips. Fold the remaining chocolate chips into the other “white” bowl of batter.

Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the prepared muffin tins, alternating the orange and chocolate batters. Fill the cups 2/3 full. Bake for 13-15 minutes at 350 or 17-18 minutes at 325 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool the muffins for five minutes in the tins. Remove the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.

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