Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Orange, Cranberry & Chocolate Chip Muffins

What a crazy past couple of days it's been!  There's been good and bad, and a lot of just plain craziness. Hurricane Sandy caused much more devastation than I think anyone had been expecting.  Thankfully, my family was relatively unaffected.  Sure, they had neither power nor heat for 8 days, but when you look at the bigger picture and think about how much damage the storm caused, and how many lives it changed, it puts everything into perspective.  Eight days of no power really isn't all that bad.  I went home on Monday so I could be at home to vote on Tuesday, and I couldn't believe what I saw.  A lot of the streets had been cleaned up by my house, but even still, there were enormous heaps of garbage bags in front of almost everyone's houses, along with ruined furniture and appliances, and every now and then, you'd come across giant branches on the street that hadn't yet been cleared off.  The Trader Joe's by my house, literally a ten minute drive, was completely destroyed, with only its four outer walls remaining.  The majority of the traffic lights in my neighborhood were still not working, and the lines to get just a couple of gallons of gas went on for blocks.  I was actually at home when the power finally came back, and the reaction was incredible.  There was a brief flash of power, and my parents and I just looked at each other, and we ran to the front door.  Everyone else on my block must have done the same, because then the power came back for real, and all you could hear were people shouting, "Power! Power!  Power!!!"

More shouting filled the streets last night, but for completely different reasons.  Rather than shouts of relief, celebratory singing, cheering, and screaming could be heard all around campus.  Columbia was pretty happy with Obama's re-election!  I had been looking forward to this day for so long.  I remember I was really bummed out that I couldn't vote in the 2008 election because I was only 17, and I knew there was no way I was going to miss voting this time around!  To be honest though, I found the actual voting experience rather underwhelming. I'm not sure what I was expecting, because filling out those little bubbles on the scantron couldn't actually be that exciting, but I don't know...I may have been underwhelmed, but I still got to vote!  That was the good part of the past couple of days.  The crazy part?  This nor'easter!  We went from having a hurricane one week, to a crazy winter storm only a week later.  Mother nature, give us a break plz.  My hair can't take too many winter storms like this (seriously, not-so-pretty things start happening when there's a ton of winter precipitation...)! Hopefully this storm won't be too bad!  Given that the past couple of days have been a little hectic, I knew I needed something a little stable, something that'll always be good no matter what the circumstances are. Chocolate chip muffins are perfect for this sort of predicament. 


I couldn't just make regular chocolate chip muffins though.  There's nothing wrong with a plain chocolate chip muffin, but there had to be a littleee variety to it, something that would take them over the top.  Chocolate and orange is one of my favorite flavor combinations, as is the combination of orange and cranberry, so I figured mixing the three together would be perfect, and it was!  These chocolate chip muffins are perfect little treats to enjoy for breakfast, or as an afternoon snack with coffee.  They're not too sweet, and the addition of sour cream makes them just a little lighter.  The orange flavor comes through in a subtle way, and you get a cranberry or a chocolate chip in every bite.  What's not to love?

The muffins are super simple to make, of course, as any good muffin should be.  You don't even need an electric mixer to whip up a batch of these!  A couple of bowls, a zester (I highly recommend getting a Microplane, they're the best!), and a wooden spoon will do the trick.  One thing that's important to keep in mind when making muffins is to be careful you don't over-mix the batter!  If you over-mix the batter, you're just going to end up with a batch of really hard and dense muffins.  Don't be afraid if there's a couple of lumps in your muffin batter!  Lumps are totally a good thing when it comes to muffins.  Bake up a batch of these muffins this upcoming weekend!  They're reminiscent of a familiar favorite, but have been updated with a seasonal twist that you're sure to fall in love with! 


My thoughts are with anyone who has been affected by Hurricane Sandy this past week.  It might take a bit of time for things to return to "normal," whatever that means, but hopefully that will come sooner, rather than later. Take care!

Orange, Cranberry & Chocolate Chip Muffins
recipe adapted from Evil Shenanigans

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup orange juice
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions

Begin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F and positioning a rack in the middle of the oven.  Line muffin tins with paper liners. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the  2 cups of all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine the orange zest, melted butter, vanilla, orange juice, sour cream, and eggs, and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the dried cranberries and the  chocolate chips with the 1 1/2 tablespoons of all purpose flour.  Toss the cranberries and chocolate chips until they are well coated with the flour.  


In the bowl with the dry ingredients, form a large well in the center, and then carefully pour the wet ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients.  With a wooden spoon, stir a few times until most of the ingredients have been moistened.  


Add the cranberry-chocolate chip mixture, and stir until everything has been combined.  Be careful not to overmix, it's ok if the batter is lumpy!



Evenly scoop the muffin batter into the prepared muffin tins.  Top the muffins off with a couple of extra chocolate chips, if desired.  Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes.  Transfer the muffin tin to a wire rack, and allow to cool for a few minutes before removing the muffins from the muffin tins and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

 Makes 18 muffins

2 comments:

  1. Hi,

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

    I tried your recipe, but tweaked a little bit -
    I used brown sugar, reduced the sour cream to 1/4 cup, skipped the cranberries, and halved the orange juice by replacing the other half to lemon juice.

    Then I made lemon drizzle - 1 tbsp icing sugar + 1 squeezed lemon juice.

    The muffins were the bomb! I loved your recipe! Keep sharing! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. those tweaks sound pretty good to me! glad you liked :)

      Delete

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