Muffins and Metaphysics

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This will probably come as a shock to anyone who knows how many chocolate chip cookies I make, but chocolate isn’t my favourite dessert flavour.  I love it – of course – but given a choice I usually pick a dessert that features fruit.

So these muffins are the perfect recipe when I’m baking for myself and a chocoholic.  The taste of orange and the scent of almond are a perfect combination with the chocolate.  It’s probably my favourite recipe right now.  If my family didn’t love them as much as I do, I would happily eat the whole batch myself.

However, I always get in a bit of a metaphysical fog when I read the recipe.  It calls for “half a cup of half and half.”  Is that one-eighth of a cup of … nothing?  If I think about it too hard I’ll have to lie down, and I’d rather just bake the muffins.

Thanks to Valerie of for this amazing addition to my recipe book.  If you want to use her recipe using dark chocolate, click here.  My variation with semi-sweet chocolate follows:

Orange and Chocolate Chip Muffins

zest from one orange
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup of half-and-half cream
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°.  
Lightly grease or line 12 muffin cups.
In a large bowl, rub the orange zest into the sugar until it becomes fragrant and coloured.  Mix in the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.    Stir in melted butter, cream and almond extract.  Add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full.  
Bake for 18 - 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.  Serve warm.


Valerie Gamine said...

That is kind of mind blowing, I never thought of half and half that way! :-)
I love your beautiful flower dish.

Cate Manning said...

I feel like we're sitting with a cup of tea together when I read your blog - you have a lovely, humorous lilt in your writing. Have another taste-filled adventure in France!!

Carla Sandrin said...

I will definitely make these muffins-you've got three of my favourite flavors (other than lemon) under one roof! Do you think they might work with milk instead of half and half?

Beth said...

Carla, I'm the queen of substitutes, so I'll try anything! If you're going with milk, try a higher-fat milk so the difference isn't as extreme.
Valerie, thanks for the compliment on my dish! I was really pleased with the way the muffins looked on it.
And Catherine, it's wonderful to have you home again. I can't wait to see you and hear about all your adventures!

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