Monday, April 23, 2012

Olive Oil Chipotle Muffins

Featured Ingredient: Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Among my favorite recipes I developed for my cookbook are the collection of savory muffins in the breakfast and brunch chapter. I particularly have fond memories of noshing on the smoked salmon and cheese muffins. Over the weekend, I’d realized it had been much too long since a batch of savory muffins had come out of our oven. And, hence, the olive oil chipotle muffins you see below.  

The combination of peppery olive oil, fiery chipotle and pungent garlic creates a winning taste combination. Through my research for magazine articles on culinary oils, I’ve really come to appreciate the quality of olive oils being produced in California. With strict regulations including no chemical extraction and very low allowable free fatty acid content – an indicator of freshness – many California produced extra virgin olive oils have a leg up on their European counterparts despite what is often a less painful sticker price. One book I am itching to read is ExtraVirginity by Tom Mueller, which apparently exposes some of the frauds that are common with imported olive oils.

So here is the awesome news. The friendly folks over at California Olive Ranch are happy to let go of one bottle of their amazing olive oil to a lucky Muffin Tin Mania reader. 

But you’ll have to earn it. The first reader who leaves a comment that mentions the following will have a free bottle delivered right to their front door.

1) The type of fat in extra virgin olive oil that makes it so darn heart-healthy
2) A general idea of what the difference is between extra virgin olive oil and pure/light versions
3) The name of the compound in chipotle and other chili peppers that gives them their fiery kick 

I think that prize is worth a little googling. You can probably even find the answers on this blog somewhere. The only stipulation is that the winner must reside in the U.S. and no P.O. boxes.

You can find smoky canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in Latin section of grocery stores. 

A little goes a long way, so what I do is mince up extras and freeze individual portions in mini muffin cups for later use.  

Olive Oil Chipotle Muffins

1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 teaspoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (or more if you want to turn up the heat)  

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, thyme, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs and stir in olive oil, milk, sugar, garlic and chipotle pepper. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until everything is moist.

Divide mixture among 8 to 10 medium sized muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool several minutes before unmolding.

All great answers below, but I am going to have to declare AhleesOhn the winner for naming the actually type of monounsaturated fat most prevalent in olive oil - oleic acid. Awesome job. Stay tuned for more contests such as this. 


  1. !) polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fatty acids

    2)Extra Virgin: olives from the first pressing; no heat or chemical interaction with the oil. Must have acidity of less than one percent. Fruity taste. Great for dipping, dressings and sauces.

    Pure Olive Oil: olives from the second pressing. Lighter in color, blander in taste. A general purpose olive oil. Best for grilling, sauteing and marinades.

    Light Olive Oil: Mixture of refined olive oils derived from the lowest quality of olives. Has same calories as other olive oils. Best for frying and baking

    3) capsaicin

  2. In addition to tasting good, with an herby, peppery kick, olive oils are high in healthy monounsaturated fats and good antioxidants. EVOO is typically from a first pressing and is higher in the chemicals and bioflavinoids that give olive oil its characteristic taste as well as its health benefits, with a lower percentage of sharp-tasting oleic acid. "Light" olive oil is not lower in calories, but may be lower in quality, or even cut with other types of oils.

    Capsaicin is the compound that give peppers their "kick" - humans and most mammals have taste receptors for this chemical, but birds do not, which is why peppers may have evolved the tasty-but-fiery chemical as a means to encourage farther propagation.

  3. Ahh! I would love to win that lovely prize! So I have tried my hand at googling up these answers!

    1) The type of fat in extra virgin olive oil that makes it so darn heart-healthy
    oleic acid (monounsaturated, omega-9 fatty acid)

    2) A general idea of what the difference is between extra virgin olive oil and pure/light versions
    The difference lies mainly in the way it is obtained. Extra virgin olive oil is obtained without altering or deteriorating the oil. In terms of composition, extra virgin olive oils must have an acidity of less than 1 percent and is really of the highest quality. However, regular virgin olive oils have an acidity between 1 and 2 percent.

    3) The name of the compound in chipotle and other chili peppers that gives them their fiery kick
    The compound called capsaicin is what gives chiles their fiery kicks!

    I hope these are all right! I love the recipe by the way! :)

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  5. For pointing out oleic acid is the primary fat in olive oil AhleesOhn will be getting a bottle of California Olive Ranch oil in the mail. AhleesOhn, you can use the contact tab at the top of the page to give me your shipping details.


I love hearing from fellow muffin tin fans, so let me know what is on your mind.