Tuesday

Choc-Orange Almond Muffins

This is a story of a very happy (open?) marriage between ingredients I love and which I had close to hand.
I am a big fan of the classic Claudia Roden Orange & Almond Cake and have made it many times over.  Although the original recipe asks for quite an abundance of sugar, I find that along with the sweetness of the orange and the almond meal, less is more re sugar in this case - especially when substituting regular sugar for the coconut sugar, as I have here.  
Coconut sugar naturally has a rich, caramel-like flavour, and the organic blend I picked up from Gewurzhaus in Melbourne had the bonus factor of coconut flecks running through it.  Thus, an element of coconut also features in this recipe.  So really, I guess these muffins could be re-named Choc-Orange Coconut & Almond muffins.  But no need to get into too much detail - the point is, they're moist, scrumptious and transforming a cake into muffins equals easy portion access for all involved!  Ideal for a place full o' happy & hungry campers.

With the oven preheated to 190 degrees C these are your Ingredients:

2 large or 3 small oranges
250g ground almonds / almond meal
150g organic coconut sugar
6 eggs, separated
1 tsp baking powder
As much orange-chocolate or regular dark to sprinkle on top muffins




To begin, bring a large pot of water to the boil on the stovetop.  When bubbling pop in your oranges, washed, rind and all.  Turn heat to medium and cover, allowing the water to still be burbling.  The oranges should be tender from inside to out after about 2 hours cooking in the boiling water.
Next assemble your dry ingredients of almond meal, sugar & baking powder, mixing together in a large bowl.  
Now for the eggs.  Attend to the whites by whipping them.  In all honesty, it isn't super necessary to separate the eggs and make the whipped egg whites.  I like to think this part of the process makes for a fluffier, lighter texture but Claudia's version doesn't require this business so I think you can easily get away with beating the 6 eggs whole and mixing them into the dry ingredients.
When your oranges are ready, remove them from the hot water & allow to cool before slicing them in halves or quarters to remove pits.  Then put them through a blender or food processor until the rind, flesh and juice have formed a smooth batter-like consistency.
Alternatively, you can mix the blended orange with the dry ingredients and egg yolks as I did.  I then folded my whipped whites into this mixture.
You may also want to taste the batter once all ingredients are combined and if you'd prefer it sweeter, add some extra sugar and fold in gently.
I had muffin trays at the ready with their patty pans.  With about 2 or 2 and half tablespoons in each patty pan, I ended up with 18 muffins.  Pictured below are mine prior to cooking, with the shards of chocolate I cut from the block sprinkled over.
After about half an hour in the oven, check on the little ones and see how they have grown! To make sure that they're ready, give one or two a prick with a toothpick and if it comes out dry they are good. to. go.
Dericious!


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