Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cranberry-Chocolate Chip Muffins with Olive Oil + GIVEAWAY!

I like using olive oil in baked goods (and cooking in general), because it seems like a healthier option than other fats.  But, depending on what you're making, the flavor can be too strong -- that might be fine for some recipes (like a savory muffin), but often isn't what I'm looking for in baking.  Enter light tasting olive oil, which has the same health benefits of olive oil without the olive flavor.  Bertolli sent me a bottle to test out in my holiday baking, and is offering up two more as a gift to readers!  Read on to find out how my recipe turned out and how to enter the giveaway...

I decided to test out my new olive oil with cranberry-chocolate chip muffins.  I had some cranberries from our CSA, and cranberries always put me in a holiday mood, so I thought they'd be the perfect thing to bake, you can pretty much never go wrong with chocolate!  Following the instructions that came with my new bottle of oil, I subbed in olive oil for the butter, using 3/4 as much.  Despite using oil instead of butter, the muffins tasted really rich and delicious.  And, I couldn't taste any olive flavor at all.  Instead, these muffins were all tart cranberry, sweet chocolate, and a little tangerine zest just for fun.  However, we may have negated any health benefits by eating the entire batch between two of us over the course of a couple of days...whoops!  I definitely call this recipe a win -- these muffins would be great for Christmas morning or any special holiday breakfast or brunch.  They just look so festive with the bright red berries on top!

Now, on to the best part: a giveaway! Bertolli has generously offered up two bottles of its new extra light tasting olive oil so that you can try it out in your holiday baking this year.  Just comment below with your idea for how you would use this oil in holiday baking - it could be a favorite recipe you'd like to test out with light olive oil, or something entirely new that you just think sounds delicious.  I'll pick my two favorite ideas, and each winner will receive a free bottle to try it out!  US addresses only, please, and make sure you leave a way to contact you (email address, website, twitter handle, etc.).  The giveaway will be open until December 11.

Cranberry-Chocolate Chip Muffins with Olive Oil (adapted from Dessert for Two, original recipe here)
Makes 8-12 muffins (depending on size)

6 T 'light' olive oil (such as Bertolli extra light tasting olive oil)
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp freshly grated tangerine or orange zest
2/3 cup + 1/2 cup flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a muffin tin with oil.
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar vigorously.  Whisk in the eggs and orange zest until well incorporated.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt over the wet ingredients.  Whisk a few times, and then add the buttermilk and whisk until just combined.  Gently fold in the cranberries and chocolate chips.
4. Divide the batter among the muffin tins - 8 for larger muffins or 12 for smaller muffins.  Bake 15-20 minutes, keeping a close eye on the muffins.  When the tops are golden brown and spring back to the touch, the muffins are ready.

Full disclosure: I received a complimentary  bottle of olive oil for review purposes.  All opinions and recipe testing are my own.


  1. I love making olive oil-polenta cake with fresh rosemary! Aren't you in California? How do you have cranberries at your CSA?!? Jealous.

  2. I would love to try out some Olive Oil with a nice batch of Pumpkin Muffins. Or even a pumpkin cake would be good as well!

  3. i saw a recipe for an orange olive oil cake a while back that looked amazing! i make that!

  4. I recently made a cake with olive oil and it was really good. I also love making popcorn with it.

  5. I recently saw a recipe for an olive oil and apple cake, and it looked amazing. I think I would start with that.

    urchiken at gmail dot com

  6. Yum, this is such a great recipe. I love to make a big batch of muffins to hand out to my relatives on Christmas Eve (so they can take them home and eat them Christmas morning). These would be perfect for this year!

  7. Guinness Bundt Cake!!!!!! I LOVE this cake, but it has so much butter that I am hesitant to make it. One time I made it with applesauce instead of butter, and it turned into a freaking spice cake : (....... (those are tears)

    Guinness Bundt Cake

    • Yields 1 large bundt cake or 12 miniature bundt cakes.

    1 ¼ cups stout, such as Guinness (don’t include the foam when measuring)
    1/3-cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
    7 ½ ounces (1 2/3 cups) all purpose flour
    2-¼ ounces (¾ cup) unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed); more for the pan.
    1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    ½ baking soda
    ½ teaspoon table salt
    10 ounces (1 ¼ cups) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature; more for the pan
    1-½ cups packed light brown sugar
    3 large eggs, at room temperature
    6 ounces semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
    Chocolate Glaze (optional; see the recipe below)

    Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350F. Butter a 10 or 12-cup bundt pan (or twelve 1 cup mini bundt pan) and then lightly coat with sifted cocoa powder. Tap out any excess cocoa.
    In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the stout and molasses to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand while preparing the cake batter.
    Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a stand mixer (use the paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, cream the butter in a large bowl on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one ate a time, stopping to scrape the bowl after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour and stout mixtures, beginnings and ending with the flour. Stop the mixer at least one last time to scrape the bowl and then beat at medium speed until the batter is smooth, about 20 seconds. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
    Spoon the batter into the prepared pan (or pans), spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Run a knife through the batter to eliminate any air pockets. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. 45 to 50 minutes (about 35 minutes for mini cakes). Set the pan on a rack to cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and remove the pan. Let cool until just barely warm. Drizzle with the glaze (if using) and then let cool to room temperature before serving. IF you’re making the cake ahead, wrap it while still barely warm without the glaze. If you pan to freeze the cake, don’t glaze it until you’re ready to serve it or give it away.

    Chocolate Glaze (optional)
    ¾ cup heavy cream
    6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

    Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute and then whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes before drizzling over the barely warm cake.

  8. I would use this instead of unhealthy oils for frying hashbrown potatoes for a special holiday breakfast. And perhaps try to make some yummy muffins as well! Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. I'd use this for an olive oil bundt cake.

  10. I actually have a recipe for an olive oil scone - would love to try that! :D Thanks Sara!

  11. Oooo, I'd do a savory and sweet: savory = homemade tatertots, sweet = olive oil pound cake!

    1. Hi Meghan,
      You're a winner of this giveaway! Please email me your mailing address at cutesybuttons -at- gmail -dot- com and I will get your olive oil shipped out to you! :)

  12. I saw a recipe on Pinterest I reeeeeealy want to try!
    Strawberry Cornmeal Cake
    1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
    2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/2 cup olive oil
    2 large eggs
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    1 1/3 cup sour cream
    1 1/4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 10-inch springform pan with baking spray.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, vanilla, granulated sugar and sour cream until well combined. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined-no need to over-mix.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  13. I love subbing in olive oil in things like them great texture and makes me feel better about eating them! These look great!

  14. Kimmie's Homemade Olive Oil Cake

    .5 stick Butter
    1.5 cups Sugar
    1 cup Rum
    2 Eggs
    .5 cup Olive oil
    2 cups Flour
    Orange Zest of one orange
    2 Tbsp Orange Juice

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spend twenty minutes looking for bundt pan before giving up. Butter and flour one cake pan and three cups in a muffin tin.

    2. Cream butter and sugar together. Say curse words because you forgot to set the butter out to come to room temperature, so it ends up taking four times as long and your arms start hurting. Do a shot of rum to keep your spirits up.

    3. That rum was pretty good, maybe do another shot. Actually, put some egg, sugar, cinnamon, and half and half in there too, and give it a whiz with your immersion blender- you were feeling like egg nog anyway.

    4. Drink egg nog.

    5. Remember that you left your cast iron pans in the oven, and scramble to find pot holders so that you can pull them out without burning yourself to bits. Reward yourself for your quick thinking with another rum drink, maybe use some of that apple cider in the back of the fridge, and some of the orange zest you had set out for the cake. Oh, the cake!

    5. Beat eggs into butter/sugar mixture. Were the eggs at room temperature? They should have been room temperature. Dammit.

    5. What step am I on? Have I put in the olive oil yet?

    6. Drizzle in olive oil and orange jice...juice. jooooooose. Mix until well combined.

    7. Fold in lemon zest. I mean orange zest. Whatever.

    8. Fold in flour until just combined.

    9. Pour batter into cake pan and muffin tin. Put into oven. Say swear words when you see that the bundt pan was in the oven. What the hell is it doing in the oven?

    10. Have enough cake batter left to make hot buttered rum, but instead of butter, use BATTER. HOT BATTERED RUM. THAT SOUNDS AMAZING.

    11. Confirm that hot battered rum is indeed delicious.

    12. Confirm that three hot battered rums are three times as delicious as one.

    13. Smell cake burning in oven.

    14. Say curse words.

    15. ...Eat sad burnt cake. Surprisingly, still moist cake.... THANKS, OLIVE OIL!