Celebrate the moments of your life. Now in muffin form. 😉
Were you a latchkey kid? Home alone watching ABC after-school specials, followed by the Brady Bunch, and then the more racy stuff, like Three’s Company, Charlie’s Angels, and the Love Boat?
Were you able to get all your homework done while watching afternoon TV, just so that when your parents got home in the evening, you can say you already did your homework, thus allowing you to watch even more TV??! That was me!
And that’s why I remember commercials! Especially from General Foods International Coffees!
“I love coffee. I love oranges. I love all the flavors of Italy. This coffee has a delicate aroma. Yet it is a smooth, full-bodied coffee with an enticing touch of orange! I like to drink it the Italian way. Relaxed…and unhurried. “
Who could forget General Foods International Instant Coffees? If you were a child of the seventies and eighties, this one, (and the numerous variations for the other flavors), was bound to hit you on a daily basis, while you tried to do your homework with the TV on. (Because usually nobody was home to tell you to turn it off. Even though all these commercials showed adults lounging around at home during the day sipping their coffees! Not that I’m complaining or anything!)
Out of all the flavors, the one that always stuck out in my mind was Orange Cappuccino. Not that I ever tasted it. In doing a little online research, it appears that this wasn’t actually an authentic coffee drink of Italy. (Please correct me if you have any evidence of the contrary!)
I’m also getting the impression that most of the General Foods International Coffee flavors were made up, and not really classic coffee drinks one can order in those foreign countries. And sadly, this one has recently been discontinued. I never go to try it.
But fear not. I have recreated this coffee in muffin form. Sort of. I didn’t make it with a cappuccino, though. I used a high quality powdered espresso powder.
Of course, I have no idea if this muffin recipe tastes like the instant coffee version, but it does have full-bodied flavor! I used zest, orange extract and fresh squeezed OJ in the glaze, for a triple hit of orange! Why not give it a try? I knew I’d like it because, just like Carol Lawrence, I like coffee and I like oranges!
I also like chocolate and orange, so I decided to add the cacao nibs. I felt it needed something other than coffee that would give it a bite, and some added crunch. Feel free to leave it out if it’s not your thing. Chopped almonds might be a good substitute for the nibs. Orange flavor goes well with a nutty flavor, I think. Definitely goes well with vanilla!
I do like the orange extract and the orange zest. They really do give it a distinct aroma along with the flavor. I might consider dipping the orange zest that I used for the topping in sugar or syrup next time, because I noticed it dries out quickly and looked a little shriveled and wimpy after a while.
Or maybe I might consider topping the muffins next time with candied orange peels instead. I tried to top the muffins with coffee beans, but they kept falling off. Oh well.
Orange Cappuccino Muffins
1 and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temp.
zest of one medium orange, plus one more orange for topping the muffins, if using
4 fluid ounces whole milk, lukewarm
2 teaspoons espresso powder
2/3 cup cacao nibs (optional)
3 ounces confections sugar
2-3 teaspoons orange juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-count muffin tin with paper, or spray with non-stick baking (butter and flour) spray. Set aside.
Sift the flour with the baking powder, salt and cinnamon, and stir in a bowl with a whisk thoroughly to combine. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar, using a hand-held mixer. Add the extracts and beat until incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. After mixing in the last egg, the mixture might look a little bit separated. It’s not a problem. Add the zest with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon and mix thoroughly until incorporated.
Combine the warm milk and espresso powder and stir until milk is light brown or tan.
Starting and ending with the flour, alternate adding the flour and milk/espresso powder mixture, using the hand-held mixer on slow. So first add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, mix on slow, add half of the milk mixture, mix, add the second third of the flour mixture, mix, add the other half of the milk mix, followed by the last third of the flour mixture.
Fold in the cacao nibs(optional), using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Divide into 12 muffin molds, filling about 1/2 to 2/3 to the top of each mold. (I used about 2 heaping tablespoons full for each mold.)
Bake at 350 degree F, for about 20-23 minutes, or until middle is not soft and wet, and springs back when you push down on it with your finger, and the edges are slightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool slightly for a few minutes before carefully removing from the tin. Let cool completely before glazing and topping, if using.
Make glaze by adding the orange juice to the confectioners sugar in a bowl and whisking it until smooth. When muffins are cool, either use a small spatula to slather some glaze on, or just dunk each muffin upside-down in the bowl of glaze and let the excess drip. You can use a clean finger to remove excess if it starts to pool at the tops or top sides of the muffins. Top with a few strings of orange zest, if desired.