December's We Should Cocoa Challenge, but for the moment I want to hold them in reserve; I have other plans using orange and chocolate together, but at this time of year, my plans are often greater than my achievements! If I run out of time or energy, these will be a worthy entrant to the challenge.
I've used this recipe for Orange and Blueberry Muffins, from Dom at Belleau Kitchen, as the base recipe as it's one of the most successful muffin recipes I've tried. It isn't oversweet and the use of oats and oil give more than a passing illusion of healthiness! Instead of fresh blueberries I used dried cranberries presoaked in orange juice, and plain chocolate.
125g dried cranberries
roughly 300ml orange juice (I used juice from a carton; see method for explanation of amount)
100g rolled oats
375g plain flour
200g caster sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (reduced from original recipe)
250ml sunflower oil
3 beaten eggs
1 egg white*
finely grated zest and juice of 1 large orange, separated
100g plain chocolate, finely chopped
Topping, mix together - 70g turbinado (or demerara) sugar
50g toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
* the extra egg white was just to use up one that was lurking in my eye-line in the fridge!
Put the cranberries into a small bowl and cover with orange juice. Soak for at least 4 hours.
Drain the berries, reserving any juice not absorbed. Measure the juice into a jug or cup and make up to 250ml with the fresh orange juice and more juice from the carton if necessary. (I found I needed only about another 30ml of carton juice)
Pre-heat the oven to 200C, 180C fan
Mix the rolled oats into the orange juice and set aside while you mix the batter.
Make a well in the centre and add the oat mixture, eggs + extra white and oil, and mix until the flour is just incorporated. Stir in the orange zest, cranberries and chocolate.
Fill muffin cases 3/4 full and sprinkle the top of each with just under a teaspoon of the topping mixture.