Orange-hazelnut muffins

This Monday morning is the official start to our summer vacation!  Second grade has officially wrapped up for the little one and he is eager and more-than-ready to enjoy the leisurely summer days ahead.  We have a few short camps and activities on his schedule but plenty of time left to just chill and be.  (Wish me luck!)
I've got breakfast on my mind because now that summer is here and we don't need to make it to school before 8:15am, there will be time to experiment with breakfast and to have pancakes on weekdays!  We all enjoy muffins and I'm always on the lookout for a new recipe.  I'll even have time to make them fresh in the morning (though I personally prefer muffins as a midday snack or even as dessert).

Muffins are great because, in the majority of cases including this one, they are just so easy to put together.  Since I'm not a big fan of most icings or buttercream, muffins are also perfect for me since I can just focus on the cake.
These are orange-hazelnut muffins, a recipe I slightly adapted from the latest July issue of Cooking Light.  I love hazelnuts and anything with orange zest so these flavors called out to me.  Plus, they are a breeze to make and healthy with hazelnut meal (I'm all for healthy fats like the kind from nuts), just a touch of sweetness from honey, and a bit of milk and canola oil in the batter.  

The original recipe calls for agave nectar but I used honey instead.  I wish I was a fan of agave but I'm not.  I admit I've only used agave once so maybe I need to give it more of a chance but I just find the flavor too strong.  I think maple syrup would also be a good, easy substitute here too.  
This recipe makes 12 mini muffins but I opted to go for a small batch of 4 regular size ones instead for our breakfast.  Call them muffins or snack cakes, they are fragrant with the nuttiness from hazelnut meal and the fresh flavor and aroma of orange zest and a bit of fresh juice.  They are moist though without butter in them, I wouldn't call them rich, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  The texture is a bit like a corn muffin actually.  Again, not a bad thing.  I think these make a great breakfast muffin or a light snack.



Recipe:

Orange-Hazelnut Muffins
Adapted from Cooking Light

- Makes 4 regular size muffins or 12 mini muffins - 

1.5 ounces hazelnut meal (about 6 tablespoons)
2.5 ounces cake flour (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons 2% reduced-fat milk
1 1/2 tablespoons honey (or agave nector or maple syrup)
Zest of half an orange (or the whole orange if you like it like I do)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  If making regular size muffins, line 4 cups with paper liners (I like to fill the empty cups about halfway with warm water).  If baking mini muffins, line with 12 paper liners.

Whisk hazelnut meal, flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, whisk the oil, milk, honey, orange zest, juice, and egg together.  Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. 

Divide batter into the lined muffin cups.  Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the muffin comes out clean, about 14-15 minutes for regular size muffins and 12 minutes for the mini.  Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.




32 comments:

  1. These muffins look light yet so nutritious. Perfect for the breakfast, Monica.

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    1. Yes, I love that there's all that hazelnut flour going on. Tastes great and eliminates some of that wheat flour.

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  2. I'm a huge fan of muffins as dessert or a snack as well since I like more savory items for breakfast. Love how easy these are to throw together!

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    1. I'm also the same way. I like a hearty savory breakfast (most of the time - I'm partial to waffles at the diner) and saving dessert for mid or late day.

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  3. These look perfect for breakfasts! Happy summer vacation to y'all!

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  4. I'm the same way --I'm not big on icing and glaze. That's why I don't make cupcakes. I love orange flavor muffins and love the idea of adding hazelnut in it. These are perfect for those on-the-go mornings. Thanks for sharing Monica! :)

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    1. I'm a fool for ganache though...that is one favorite "frosting" if you will. : ) Otherwise, just cake for me, please!

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  5. Can't believe summer vacation is here already too. These muffins look wonderful and sound perfect for breakfast. Love the sound of the hazelnut meal and orange zest. So refreshing for the morning or any light snack :)

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    1. Kelly, I have a feeling summer vacation will come and go so fast so I'm trying to chill out and just roll with it.

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  6. Yummy! This looks scrumptious! I would love to kickstart my day with these and a big cup of coffee!

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    1. Yes, coffee is a good companion!

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  7. I love a sweet, citrusy muffin in the morning and these look perfect, Monica! Lovely recipe!

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  8. These look lovely, Monica! I actually love the texture of corn muffins because they're just the right amount of sweetness. And I'm always a fan of the fresh citrus flavor, especially when paired with hazelnut! (:

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    1. My husband is a huge fan of corn muffins and I like it too. I like the bit of texture and the rough tops on them. And hazelnut is right up there among my favorites. So many great things to eat!

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  9. Yay for summer break! I miss that so much...why don't offices have a summer break?? ;) These muffins look like a perfect way to start the day :)

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    1. So true...offices need summer break or at least summer Fridays off!

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  10. Your muffins look great Monica and yes, I love the idea of making small batch.
    Great for breakfast or snack at anytime.
    Enjoy your week :D

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    1. I'm usually dividing recipes in half and this was one time where I actually considered doubling the recipe since it makes such a small amount. It's great though since muffins are usually best fresh and we need room to eat so many things! : )

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  11. I have started to eat muffins this week for breakfast and I find them really filling! Right now my favorite is banana chocolate.. but I have got to try your recipe!

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  12. I think the orange flavor in these muffins is just what the nutty muffin base needs for the flavor to be both deep and bright. Sounds like a lovely recipe!

    Cheers,
    Miriam.

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    1. I agree; it's amazing the amount of flavor citrus zest brings to cakes and muffins.

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  13. i love your combination of ground hazelnuts and orange! i am a SUCKER for an orange-scented pastry, let me tell you, and we're twins when it comes to most frostings, so i know i would love these. muffins are great for that, too; just plain, or maybe with a light glaze, and they're perfect as/is. good luck this summer with the little one! I bet having an almost-third grader means a whirlwind of activity for you. :) I'm finding as my little one grows up that i need to come up with more and more ways to keep her little mind and body busy.

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    1. I do love most things orange-flavored too. Only thing this is missing is chocolate. : )
      Enjoy your summer, too. I'm sure you are beyond busy. We're busy but taking time to chill and stretch the days out too...

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  14. Orange and hazelnut in muffins? Now that's a unique combination! How do you pick the unique combination? I love the surprise. And your muffins are very moist!

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    1. I'd never call myself creative or original, Nami. I just love scouring around for a good recipe to try for my family. I see so many things I want to make and this one's from Cooking Light. I love anything with nuts and citrus zest makes everything fresh and vibrant. I love a good muffin where I can just focus on the taste of the cake itself.

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  15. looks yummy...love cupcakes, it made my day ;)

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    1. Glad you like it, thank you very much. : )

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