I'm not usually a muffin person. They're fine, I suppose, but not something I ever crave. Usually they're too dry, and the truth is, I don't really like blueberry muffins, which seems to cut out ninety percent of my options. The other night, though, I happened to be in possession of just one orange, and a desperate desire not to begin writing my senior thesis. I wanted to make scones, but since my copy of Baking doesn't include a recipe for orange scones, I decided that muffins would have to do.
I'm so glad that I did. These muffins are wonderful. And hopefully that means a lot coming from someone who isn't easily impressed by a muffin. They're moist from the honey and have just enough orange flavor that it's noticeable without being overpowering. They don't crumble when you slice them, and with a little butter, they're beautiful for breakfast. I modified the recipe some, since it originally called for blueberries. I think mini chocolate chips made an excellent substitution.
These are best the day they're made, and perhaps the next morning. However, they'll keep for 2-3 days and still be delicious.
Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from Baking, by Dorie Greenspan
About 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons honey
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
Decorating sugar, for topping (optional; I forgot to do this)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
Pour the orange juice into a large glass measuring cup or a bowl and pour in enough buttermilk to make 1 cup. Whisk in the eggs, honey and melted butter.
In a large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of orange strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough - the batter will be lumpy and bubbly, and that’s just the way it should be. Stir in the chocolate chips. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. If you want to top the muffins with decorating sugar, sprinkle on the sugar after the muffins have baked for 10 minutes. When fully baked, the tops of the muffins will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins will come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.