Saturday, October 23, 2010

Orange Ginger Muffins

I will admit that I was inspired by this recipe while perusing Better Homes and Gardens web site. They had a cake on offer which was orange and ginger. That cake was everything you'd expect, fat and sugar included. I didn't want to adapt the cake recipe, but the combination of ginger and orange sounded intriguing. It also reminded me of an episode of Fawlty Towers in which the main character, inn owner Basil Fawlty, is repeatedly asked for a "ginger and orange" drink by a guest and repeatedly fails to make it for him.

In the first experimental batch, I made this with two teaspoons of ginger, but I think that one teaspoon is a better balance. The ginger totally overwhelmed the orange flavor. I also put very thin half slices of orange on top of the muffins, but I would not recommend doing it for future efforts. It may look a little nice, but the orange adds nothing and may taste a little bitter depending on the variety of orange you are using. Mine also dried out and got a bit darker than expected.

The muffin itself had a good texture and rose very well. These are large muffins, and not quite as sweet as some my other offerings. I reduced the Splenda because I think that more weakly flavored muffins tend to be overwhelmed by sweetness if there is too much sweetener in them. I'm experimenting with pumpkin muffins and I have found that the pumpkin really faded into the background behind the sweetness so I need to tweak it some more.

Ginger Orange Muffins (sugar-free, low-fat, whole wheat):
juice and zest of 1/2 of a large orange (or one small one)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
3/4 cup Splenda granular
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. ginger
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
  1. Add the vinegar to the milk, stir, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk the juice, zest, applesauce, milk mixture, Splenda, oil, ginger, egg, and salt  together until smoothly combined.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the liquid mixture and gently stir just until the flour is moistened. Allow this to rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (190 degrees C.). Spray the bottoms of 6 muffin tins with cooking spray.
  5. Sprinkle the baking powder over the mixture and stir until just mixed.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups. They will be quite full.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs. Do not overbake as it will dry out the muffins.
  8. Allow to cool in the tins for at least 15 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges to loosen, pat gently if they stick to the bottom. Place on a rack for cooling.
Nutrition information courtesy of the SparkRecipes calculator:


  1. I am a huge lover of ginger, and have been turned on to some preserves which have orange peel, and I LOVE IT. I've been taking tastes by the teaspoon every chance I get to go to the fridge..

    I wonder, do you think I can omit the splenda and use the applesauce instead? It may not be sweeter but I think this would make such a perfect, healthy breakfast meal... I need to buy applesauce though.. unsweetened... should I hit costco?

    I like the muffin shapes a lot, do you use a pan or paper cups? I really want to try these.

  2. You can use sugar instead of Splenda, or omit it entirely, but I think they might taste a bit flat without some sweetening agent. I'd use 75% sugar for Splenda (sub. 3/4 cup of Splenda with about a half cup of sugar). You can't use more applesauce than the recipe has though or the structure will collapse. There has to be a pretty careful balance between the moisture and the flour.

    I use metal muffin cups which are individual rather than a muffin pan and I never use paper cups. I hate the way that the paper cups pull away from the muffins.

    Thanks for commenting! :-)

  3. Hi Orchid,

    Thanks for stopping by Cookie Madness and posting on Xylitol. I had to come by your blog to see what you've been making with Splenda. I use it in some recipes and have found it's really good (that is, the after taste isn't too bad) in things with lemon or ginger. These muffins looks wonderful!

  4. Thanks for coming by and taking the time to comment so kindly, Anna!

    I was very interested in your post on Xylitol because I had been seeing the sweetener you used (Ideal) at Costco and had been considering giving it a try. I think it probably won't taste significantly different in baked goods compared to Splenda (to my taste buds, which are relatively immune to artificial sweeteners and their aftertastes). I think I'll give it a try soon.