Today while I am attending BlogHer Food in Austin we have a real treat, a guest post from my friend, Rhonda Adkins of The Kitchen Witch. Rhonda is a motorcycle riding, fun and charismatic woman who lives in Montana and is ready to take on the world. Just wait until you see her blog and her selection of recipes – they are mind blowing! Her humorous perspective makes me laugh out loud and her photography has me swooning. I wish I could spend a month with Rhonda, learning how she gets the shots she does. What talent!
It is probably a good thing that we don’t live near one another because I have a feeling that we would get into far too much trouble together! Thank you Rhonda for stepping in to give me a hand and share one of your amazing recipes with all of us!! I can’t wait to make these beautiful little morsels when I get back!
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Life is funny, not ha ha funny (although it can be), but more odd funny. Earlier this year I attended the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) annual conference in San Francisco. I volunteered to be an event photographer and the first event I attended was a session called Cook it, Shoot It with Erin Gleeson of Forest Feast.
Prior to the start of the class I went around photographing the people mingling, I shot pictures of the studio and I drooled with envy over the studio set-up; it was amazing! It was almost exactly the kind of studio that I dream of having one day …
Class started with introductions. To set the scene: (please note I have a terrible memory and this is probably all wrong, but it’s close enough) I was standing up and a person was sitting in front of me; I introduced myself, ending with telling everyone I have a blog called The Kitchen Witch. As soon as I finished, the seated person turned around and said, “The Kitchen Witch! I love that blog!” I was tickled pink to hear that and more than a little bit surprised. Then this redhead seated in front of me introduced herself, “Hi, I’m Jane Bonacci, I live here in San Francisco and I have a blog called The Heritage Cook”. And I say, “The Heritage Cook! I love that blog!”
Here’s where life gets funny, Jane and I had never met, but a couple of years ago, through the Secret Recipe Club Facebook page, Jane asked if anyone would be interested in doing a guest post for her. The Heritage Cook! I love that blog! So of course I jumped on the opportunity. (Check out her wonderful article on Turkish Lamb Donner Kebabs.)
Who would have ever guessed that we would get to meet face to face? Not only that, but I loved her; she’s smart, generous and fun. SF is her town. Jane adopted me, introduced me to other people and invited me to go to dinner with her and several friends at Boulevard restaurant (hello delicious and a far cry from anything we have here in Montana).
Honestly she’s one of the reasons that I had such a great time at the conference! Now, we’ve come full circle, and a year later I’m doing another guest post for her, isn’t life funny.
I call these mini muffins Sun & Earth muffins because the orange is bright, fresh and sunshiny. I think it’s no mistake that the color and shape of the orange is much like the sun, it matches the feeling you get when you eat it.
The chocolate is deep and rich; it feeds your soul and stomach. Like the deep rich soil of the earth, that feeds and nourishes the plants, the plants we eat and other food sources. Like the sun and earth are a perfect symbiotic pair, so are chocolate and orange. The flavors stand on their own and also complement each other beautifully.
The reason behind the name may be a bit esoteric, however, it’s much more fun and easier to say than its literal description “Chocolate, Mini-Chocolate Chip, Orange Mini-Muffins”, or “Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Orange Muffins” or “Double Chocolate Orange Mini-Muffins”. Whatever you call these muffins, they remind me of Jane, fun, sunshiny and down to earth.
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Because this recipe does not call for the use a stand mixer, it is perfect for kids to make. Two bowls, pour one into another and stir … yep, kids can easily handle this with just a little help.
King Arthur Flour sells a wonderful gluten-free all-purpose flour blend that can be used as a one-for-one substitution anywhere that calls for regular wheat flour. I trust King Arthur implicitly and buy many of their products regularly. I recommend this product wholeheartedly!
- 2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa
- 1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or King Arthur Gluten-Free all-purpose flour)
- 1-1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (6 oz) mini chocolate chips
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (6 oz) milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- Zest of 1 orange
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a mini muffin pan with paper cup liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. Set aside.
- In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, orange extract, orange zest and vinegar. Add the wet ingredients, along with the melted butter, to the dry ingredients, stirring until well blended.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin; the cups will be heaped with batter, and the muffin will bake into a "mushroom" shape.
- Bake the muffins for 15 to 20 minutes (mine were perfect right at 18 minutes), or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven, and after 5 minutes remove them from the pan, allowing them to cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack before peeling off the muffin papers.
- Optional: Sprinkle the tops with additional orange zest.
- Yield: 24 to 28 mini muffins
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