Blood Orange Chocolate Chunk Muffins
I find blood oranges fascinating. I’m sure at least a little part of it has to do with the word “blood” in the name (cool! and gross!), but it is mostly due to their deep ruby red flesh and juice, and their sweet-tart flavor. Unfortunately my regular grocery store never seems to carry them, so they are a special treat whenever I make the trip to Whole Foods or order them in my weekly produce bin. Don’t worry if they are unavailable in your area. These muffins can just as easily be made using regular oranges. Often in recipes where a little bit of orange zest is included, I omit it because I find the flavor tends to overpower everything else in the dish (it may just be a quirk of my tastebuds.) But, I do enjoy oranges, so I am happy to make something where they play a starring role.
Orange and dark chocolate compliment each other very well, so combining the two in a muffin is bound to be a natural success. These muffins have a triple dose of citrus with both the zest and juice in the muffin itself, and additional juice used to make a glaze for the top. These were very popular in our house, and I found it hard to limit myself to one per day. One thing to note is that due to the deep red color of the blood orange juice, your muffins can take on a slight blue-gray tint after baking. Break the muffin monotony and try something a bit different from the usual.
Yield: about 14 muffins
For the muffins:
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. coarse salt
Grated zest of 3 blood oranges
4-6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
For the glaze:
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup blood orange juice
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Line muffin tins with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. Whisk to blend. Stir the chocolate chunks into the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl combine the melted butter, orange juice, vanilla and eggs. Whisk to blend. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and fold together gently just until combined. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups, filling about ¾ full.
Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan briefly, then transfer to a wire rack.
While the muffins are baking, making the glaze. Combine the sugar and blood orange juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. Brush warm glaze over the muffins as they cool.