My Whole Orange Choc Chip Muffins use whole boiled oranges in place of fat to provide body and flavour in these unusual but incredibly easy muffins. Ground almonds and no flour ensure that they are lovely and light despite being naturally gluten free. I love them for a cheeky breakfast!
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I first made the chocolate version of this recipe from Nigella Lawson’s book Feast as part of an afternoon tea/wedding feast. It was a wonderful cake which satisfied the requirement to provide a dairy & gluten free offering which didn’t taste or look like a “free from” cake.
The cake was a total hit and when I wanted to create a muffin recipe which would be suitable for breakfast as well as a snack, I thought of this cake. But I wanted to make it a little less chocolate and a little more orange. So I changed the recipe to make it choc-chip and in muffin form.
Only then did I realise that the recipe in Feast was in fact a chocolate version of Nigella’s Clementine Cake in her How to Eat book. My version remains slightly different from the original original! However I still had a total face-palm moment when I realised!
For another great gluten free treat packed with fruit, consider trying my Cocoa Orange Date Bars. They’re also perfect for bake sales, lunchboxes and general snacking too.
How to Serve Whole Orange Choc Chip Muffins
I think these muffins are incredibly versatile and suitable for all manner of occasions. I’d eat them for breakfast (maybe not on their own), brunch, in lunch boxes, at picnics, as an afternoon snack or as a sweet treat after dinner.
I actually took a couple of muffins out of their wrappers, warmed them in the microwave and then drowned them in custard a few times. So good!
So eat them warm or cold, on their own or drenched in custard, its really your call!
Make Whole Orange Choc Chip Muffins into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
I’ve included my muffins in two of my Brunch Feast Collections.
They are perfect to be included in my Prep-Ahead Brunch Feast as they can clearly be made in advance. This feast also includes my Breakfast Casserole along with my Baked Oatmeal, Sesame Bagels and Butter and my luscious Peach and Bourbon Compote. It is a superb stress-free spread.
The muffins are also included in my Vegetarian Brunch Feast. There are also Roasted Tomatoes which accompany Avocado and Sweet Potato Pancakes with Sweetcorn & Chilli in the feast. There are also Sesame Bagels slathered with Homemade Butter and Orange Choc Chip Muffins for a sweet end to the Feast.
Don’t forget to head over to the Big Brunch Feast post for all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my other feast collections and all my brunch related recipes.
Ingredients for Whole Orange Choc Chip Muffins
Boil a whole orange! Yup, that’s the recipe. Skin, pith, flesh and all. It all goes in. It is a good idea to pick out any visible pips but any you miss will blend up nicely too!
And so it is ok to be a little flexible on the weight of the oranges you choose. 400g is roughly 2 tennis ball sized oranges. A little less or a little more won’t hurt. If you are too much over, just boil what you have and then discard a little of the blitzed pulp.
If you can’t get hold of oranges, any of that orange citrus family should work – clementines, satsumas etc. Blood or Seville oranges would likely work but the finished muffins might be a little on the sharper side.
Ground almonds should be readily available in most shops. They can be on the pricey side so I don’t tend to use them often. But if you look in the world food aisle rather than the baking aisle in the supermarket, you can usually find them much cheaper.
Milk Chocolate Chips
Any of your preferred chips will do. I prefer milk chocolate but plain chocolate ones would work equally as well here.
Being a baking recipe, these isn’t too much in the way of flexibility to be had. I have already suggested above that you can use any fruit in the orange realm and substitute the milk chocolate chips for dark.
You could leave the chocolate chips out altogether and/or reconvert the recipe to be chocolate. For every 18 muffins, simply remove 50g of ground almond and add 50g of cocoa powder.
It is also possible to turn this recipe back into a big cake rather than muffins. Each 18 muffin recipe will make one 23cm cake. The cooking time will be nearly twice as long and the top may need covering with foil if it gets too dark, too quickly.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
This muffin recipe is suitable for vegetarians but not vegans as whilst the muffins contain no dairy, they do contain eggs.
As the eggs form such a large part of the rise, texture and body of the cake, I would not recommend substituting vegetable oil as I often do in baking recipes.
The best way to attempt a vegan version is therefore to use a liquid vegan egg substitute. Follow the instructions on the packaging to work out how much of the vegan egg you need to replace the eggs in the recipe.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This recipe is dairy and gluten free.
Nut Free: This recipe contains a substantial amount of ground almonds. To substitute them may change the overall texture of the cake but can be done.
If almonds specifically are the issue, the almonds could be substituted with another ground nut such as hazelnut, cashew or peanut. If nuts must be avoided all together, tiger nut (not a nut) flour is often a great substitute.
You can substitute every 250g of ground almonds with 200g of regular plain white flour but do note that the recipe would therefore not be gluten free. Stir the flour in at the end of the recipe rather than blitzing with the other ingredients.
Egg Free: Refer to my notes to make the recipe vegan above.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Orange Choc Chip Muffins
If you don’t have a food processor, mince the orange with a large knife then beat the other ingredients in one at a time starting with the eggs.
I use a muffin tin and paper cake cases to make these muffins. If you have a mini cake pan with removable bases like what I use to make my Mini Sticky Toffee Cakes, you could use that instead with or without the paper liners.
An old fashioned ice cream scoop with spring loaded scraper is really handy for portioning out cupcakes, muffins and the like. You could alternatively use a ladle or just eyeball getting the levels fairly even.
A small tea strainer sieve is ideal for sprinkling the cakes with a fine layer of icing sugar.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
To see more of my recommended kitchen appliances, have a look at my post featuring the appliances that I couldn’t live without.
It is also perfect inspiration for gifts for a budding cook in your life! Or to put on your own Christmas or Birthday list!
These whole orange muffin freeze beautifully so whilst I wouldn’t suggest making up the batter much before baking the muffins, you can make the whole thing in advance and freeze them until a later date.
Whilst you don’t want to make the batter in advance, you can boil and cool the oranges up to 2 days in advance. Keep boiled oranges in the fridge and you could whip up these muffins in about half an hour.
Leftover Orange Muffins
Freezing any leftovers is a great idea although as they will last up to a week, it is only a slim chance that you will have any going spare!
As I mentioned above, I have also re-purposed the muffins into a sponge pudding substitute. Simply warm a couple and serve with custard.
Whole Orange Muffin Tips
The mixture will be very wet. Don’t panic!
You will note be able to pulverise the oranges totally. You will see flecks of skin etc. Again, this is normal, don’t panic!
Do keep an eye on the water level as the oranges boil. You will likely need to top the water up at some point.
Allow the muffins to cool before sprinkling with the icing sugar. Otherwise the icing sugar will just dissolve. (Not the end of the world, it is still sweet and tasty!)
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Whole Orange Choc Chip Muffins (Dairy & Gluten Free)
- 400 g Orange – any size, roughly
- 250 g Ground Almonds
- 125 g Light Brown Sugar
- 125 g Caster Sugar (Superfine Sugar)
- 1 tsp Baking Powder – gluten free, if required
- 0.5 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 6 Eggs
- 200 g Milk Chocolate Chips
- 1 tbsp Icing Sugar (Confectioner’s Sugar) – optional
- Place 400g Oranges into a saucepan large enough for them to float comfortably when covered with water. Heat the oranges to a low simmer and leave for 2 hours.
- Meanwhile line sufficient muffin tins with 18 paper muffin cases.
- Once the oranges have boiled, drain the water and leave them to cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, you can chop them into small pieces. Leave then to completely cool.
- Preheat the oven to 190c or equivalent.
- Once cooled, add the oranges to a food processor and blitz until pureed.
- Add 250g Ground Almonds, 125g Light Brown Sugar, 125g Caster Sugar, 1 tsp Baking Powder, 0.5 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda and 6 Eggs to the food processor bowl.
- Blitz everything until smooth. Use a spatula to wipe down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.
- Add 200g Milk Chocolate Chips and stir through the batter (don't use the processor of the chips will break up.
- Fill the 18 muffin cases with the mixture nearly to the brim or each case. You can move the mixture to a jug to pour it or use a ladle or ice cream scoop.
- Pop the muffins in the preheated oven to bake for 25 minutes. Check them after 20 minutes. The muffins want to be cooked all the way through – this is not a time for gooey middles.
- Once cooked, remove the muffins from their tin and leave to cool on a rack.
- Once cool, use a small sieve to cover the muffins with 1 tbsp Icing Sugar. Serve.