Monday, February 21, 2011


We are big snackers in this house; I'm afraid I have inflicted the need for regular snacks on my children. Having said that, modern thinking is we should be eating 4-6 small meals a day so perhaps they won't throw that up at me, as childhood baggage, in 20 years time.

Anyway, I have long been perplexed by feeding my kids "kid snacks". Here in the US, there are so many foods marketed to kids with nothing close to real food in the ingredients. Apart from fruit, we eat a lot of crackers and granola bars for snacks. Finding a good recipe for a granola bar, has long been on my research list, but to date I have nothing that I'm particularly proud of, so nothing to share on that front today.

However, I've made it my mission in the next few months to share some really great snack recipes. I will continue to work on the granola bar and good cracker recipes, but in the meantime; I have a healthy muffin recipe to share.

You may notice there's a strong theme in my baking. My first inclination is always to seek out a way to "choclify" a recipe. The recipe below started as a blueberry muffin recipe, but I've justified a way to add chocolate by significantly reducing the sugar, adding orange juice and zest and increasing the whole grains.

I've been considering a chocolate orange muffin for a couple of months; I made a delicious attempt a few weeks ago, but I was not content with the amount of butter in them. So here's a healthier version which still reminds me of the original chocolate orange combination in my life; Terry's Chocolate Orange. Green and Blacks Maya Gold eat your heart out!

All in all, a very pleasing muffin according to my husband and kids. Sufficiently sweet for a instand lift but followed up with enough wholegrains to keep everyone going until the next meal.

Chocolate Orange Muffins

Yields approx 24 muffins


1 1/4 cups/ 6oz/ 170g all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups/ 5.5 oz/  155g whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup/ 3.2oz/ 90g quick cooking oats (not instant) or place old fashioned oats in the processor for 10-15 pulses
1/2 cup/ 3.5 oz/ 100g  granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (yes!) baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups/  480ml low fat plain yogurt or buttermilk
1/2 cup/ 120ml orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
zest from 2 oranges
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup chocolate chips (bittersweet, 60% or higher cacao)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°C/ 200°F
  2. Grease or line 2 twelve cup muffin tins
  3. Measure the first 7 dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine well. I actually used my clean hands to lightly mix because the oats make it more difficult to combine.
  4. In another mixing bowl whisk together the buttermilk or yogurt, orange juice, zest and egg.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined. Do not overstir!
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Using an ice cream scoop, fill the muffins tins to approx 2/3 full.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for approx 15 minutes or until just turning golden on top.
  9. Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack.

Notes on the recipe:

  • Tasty additions would be a 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/4 of nutmeg. I will try this next time and report back.
  • A word about flour when baking; 90% of the time you can substitute at least 1/2 whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour. I tend to use whole wheat pastry flour which is made from white wholewheat flour. The "white" does not mean that the flour has been stripped of it's "whole grain" quality, it's just a different variety of wheat. It makes a more tender baked product but still has the same amount of fiber. If you can't get that flour, feel free to replace with regular wholewheat flour, the result may just be slightly denser.
  • A word about chocolate and chocolate chips; I always use bittersweet chocolate in my baked goods, unless otherwise specified. I usually buy the ghirardelli 60% chips and when they're on sale buys them in bulk!

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