I usually don’t post recipes on the weekends because typically they are my only days off from work and school but this week has already been so unlike my typical week I figured why not. I have spent the last week studying EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for all the exams I have coming my way. With that being said, I have been attempting to develop recipes MORE because for me cooking is a way to decompress and to relieve some tension. Nothing makes me happier than experimenting in the kitchen and boy was this recipe an experiment. The inspiration for this recipe started about 3 weeks ago when I was thinking about a cake my mom used to make because it was my grandma’s favorite. The cake is called Williamsburg cake and essentially it is a vanilla cake with orange zest, walnuts, and cream cheese frosting. It is absolutely incredible and one of my all time favorite cakes. Anyways, as I was thinking about it I thought what if I could make that into muffin form and of course without using refined sugar because that’s what I like to do. I love to healthify some of my favorite recipes and while I did that, I also made some tweaks and ended up coming up with a muffin recipe that isn’t exactly similar to my grandma’s favorite cake but they are SOOOO good.
After playing around with different variations I ultimately decided to swap out the walnuts for the more affordable chia seeds. Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, protein, and a variety of micronutrients (ex. magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and manganese). On top of swapping out the nuts, I decided to switch out the all-purpose flour for some whole-wheat flour which adds in the B-vitamins which play a role in the health of our hair, skin, and nails. Last but not least, I decided to throw in some dark chocolate chips because who doesn’t love chocolate and more importantly because dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants which help to fight signs of aging. With all that said, I have to tell you that this recipe is the product of lots of trial and error and about 3 “bad” batches. I spent hours in the kitchen trying to get it right and after the 4th or 5th time I finally got it right. So often prepackaged muffins are loaded with refined sugar which is not horrible from time to time but I wanted to provide you with a recipe that you could have for breakfast, as a snack or even as a dessert that would contribute more than a spike in your blood sugar. The orange packs a punch while the chia seeds give a slight crunch and the dark chocolate is unbelievable in combination with both. All in all these muffins are incredibly moist and will blow your mind. Get ready for the best muffin recipe you’ll ever try, I know that’s a bold statement but that’s how good these muffins are.
◊ Makes 12 muffins
- 2 oranges (zest & juice)**
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (the brand I used)
- 12 fresh Medjool dates pitted
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- 1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (you can substitute for all-purpose or gluten-free alternative)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
**NOTE: total zest is about 2/4 cup and about 1/2 cup of orange juice. I used navel oranges as I feel as though they are the sweetest of the varieties of oranges I tried.
- non-stick 12 count cupcake pan
- Begin by melting your butter in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds and set aside to allow to come to room temperature.
- Remove the pits from the dates and if they are not soft enough to pinch throw them into a bowl and microwave them for about 30 seconds to soften them up.
- Next, zest both of the oranges and throw into a bowl. Once the oranges have been zested squeeze the juice out and place into a blender.
- To the same blender that contains the 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice add in the now softened dates. Blend on high until mostly smooth. If there’s still tiny little bits of date left, don’t sweat it.
- To a single bowl combine all the wet ingredients first: date/ orange juice mixture, maple syrup, yogurt, melted butter, vanilla extract, and eggs. Mix to combine and once everything is combined add in the 1/3 cup of dark chocolate chips as well.
- In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and chia seeds. Stir to combine and from this point, we are ready to SLOWLY add the dry ingredients into the same bowl as the wet ingredients.
- In about 1/2 cup increments, add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir just enough to mix in the flour and continue to add until everything is combined.
- Be sure not to overmix the mixture as this will lead to very dense muffins.
- Using 1/4 cup measurement, scoop your muffin mixture into a non-stick muffin pan. I like to use the 1/4 cup because I think it gives the perfect amount for each muffin.
- Place into a preheated 375°F oven and bake for 12-13 minutes until the muffins are golden on the outside. Insert a toothpick just to make sure it is fully baked.
- Allow to cool and enjoy!
If you’ve made it to this point then thank you for sticking around and checking out my blog. It means the world to me and I truly do appreciate it. If you try this recipe for yourself be sure to tag me on Instagram @lifeatthemesa so I can see how it turns out for you! As always, thank you for all your support and I will be back soon to share another recipe with you!