Berry-Crazed

If berry-picking were an Olympic sport, I’m almost certain that my dad and I would at least take a place on the podium. We’ve certainly been training enough; heading out into the “wilderness” after we both get home from work, hunting for that handful of perfect, jewel-like clusters for hours at a time. Truth be told, my dad’s definitely the one who would take gold in this sport, not me. He’s the one who isn’t afraid to push deep into the piles of thorns, entering unknown and possibly hostile territory, filling up buckets of the most ripe, plump berries that no one else can reach. If it weren’t for his enthusiasm, our bounty of raspberries would be rather pathetic indeed. Although his efforts may manifest as long, cat-like scratches tracing up the lengths of his arms, they also resulted in the biggest berry haul we’ve ever had.

There were fresh berries, of course, but even I couldn’t consume the surplus of raspberries quickly enough, so I took many approaches to preserving out delicious haul. Before long, we had frozen berries, dried and dehydrated berries, pureed berries, and of course, baked berries. These local gems are actually far more tart than the standard commercial variety, so they seemed destined to be included in some baked goods, balancing out the sugar perfectly and creating a harmonious combination of sweet and tart.

How serendipitous was it then, that Meeta announced the theme of this monthly mingle would be summer fruits and chocolate! A match made in heaven, chocolate and raspberries were simply meant to be together, and I knew exactly how to use a handful of those hand-picked treasures. Opting to use up some of the lovely red currants waiting in the fridge as well, I ended up with a simply constructed but complex-tasting chocolate muffin.

Although they may be a bit too sweet for breakfast, I find that these can be a wonderful snack, or a slightly healthier choice over a full-fledged, frosted cupcake. Whenever you decide to eat one though, you’ll be glad that you did!

Berry Chocolate Muffins

1 Cup Orange Juice
1/2 Cup Oil
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, Packed
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Light Spelt Flour (or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour)
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
1/4 Cup Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon (Optional)
1/2 Cup Fresh Red Currants
1/2 Cup Raspberries
1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks or Chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease 12 muffin cups.

To assemble these muffins, start by combining the orange juice, oil, brown sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir to combine, and set aside.

In a separate bowl, sift together the spelt flour, baking powder and soda, oats, cocoa, and cinnamon. Throw all of your berries and chocolate chunks into the dry mixture, and toss gently to coat. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry, and stir carefully so as not to break up the berries. Once just combined, spoon the batter into your prepared muffin cups, filling them up about 3/4 of the way to the top. It might seem like a lot of batter, but trust me, it will all fit into those 12 cups!

Bake for 18 – 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let rest in the pans for 10 minutes before turning the muffins out and cooling them completely on a wire rack.

Printable Recipe

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40 thoughts on “Berry-Crazed

  1. As if the berries themselves weren’t enough; you had to go and make scrumptious muffins too!! Haha ;-) Love ’em!! Perfect entry for Meeta’s monthly mingle.

  2. holy moly these look good! chocolate and raspberry is one of my favorite flavor combinations, so i am going to try these pronto! thanks for delish recipe and picture (now i’m super hungry!!) !

  3. Awesome pics Hannah and I bet the muffins are delish also! I am seeing so many great quality photos lately. Makes me feel like I need to do something about my own!

  4. This muffin was made for me! Berries and chocolate, how I love the combination. I have never tried redcurrants with chocolate, what a great idea.

  5. How nice to be able to go berries picking!! I don’t ever have the chance to pick my own berries, and berries here are so expensive. I love how you paired raspberry with chocolate.

  6. oh ho!
    I bet I could find a place on that podium too! I am a berry picking fiend these days… I can’t get enough. In my case it’s wild blackberries, and they are goooooood.

    How do you dry your berries? That sounds like a good idea. I’ve already got plenty of frozen ones, and can hardly keep up with eating the fresh ones.

    :)amey

  7. your muffins look absolutely amazing, Hannah! thanks for sharing the recipe! all those tiny scratched are so worth it though! last month when i was done picking blackberries it looked like a gang of kittens tore me up, too! :D

  8. I saw the title of this post and I thought you were talking about me…2 days ago I ate a whole pint of fresh strawberries and then yesterday I hate half a pint! These muffins look fantastic…but then again so do all of your creations =)

  9. It’s just wonderful that you have those berries near to you so you can pick them. Over here there’s not much chance of that. Maybe the odd blackberry. So I’m kind of jealous ;)
    Love that the fruit is showing in the muffins.
    Lovely entry to monthly mingle!

  10. Can you pick some berries for me? That’s something I’ve always wanted to do!! (regardless of the scratches involved) Especially if the end product is those muffins!

  11. this is simply delicious. I agree that chocolate and raspberries are meant to be together but I see the naughty choc pairing off with other sexy fruit this mingle. ;-) thanks for the entry!

  12. i don’t really understand all the posts bout how good they look. i made them and they are delicious. that’s what matters : )
    i didn’t have red currants so i double the raspberries and i used frozen ones and they worked fine.
    great recipe!

  13. What makes these hold together? I must admit that vegan baking is pretty new to me, and I am used to eggs – or ground flax or something – being used as a binder. I don’t see a binding ingredient here at all, so I’m wondering how these work. (Not questioning that they do, mind you. Just wondering how.)

  14. The recipe sound really yummuy. Would like to try them, but I don’t know what “light spelt flour” is or where you can obtain it. (Does Trader Joe’s carry it?) Please help!

    1. Hi Teddi,

      Light spelt flour is like pastry flour, but made of spelt instead of wheat; it’s lighter and more tender, which is better suited for most baked goods. I don’t think that Trader Joe’s sells it, but you can also substitute whole wheat pastry flour, or white whole wheat flour instead.

  15. Is it also possible to use frozen fruits? If yes, how should I handle them? I would like to test this great recipe, but red currants and raspberries are not ripe in April. Thanks!!!!

    1. Sure, frozen berries would work beautifully in this recipe! Just toss them in while frozen; do not thaw. Thawed berries would bleed, mush, and add too much additional liquid to the batter, but it’s less of a concern if they go straight into the oven while still frozen. Happy baking!

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