Chocolate, Almond and Vanilla Spiced Up Muffins

Chocolate, almond and vanilla spiced up muffins

Copyright Franglais Kitchen

A few months ago, the food writer Vanessa Kimbell made a trip to Uganda to explore the world of fairtrade vanilla. This sweet and heady spice originally derives from Mexico, and is an Orchid vine. Hugely labour intensive to grow , it is second only to saffron in value. Vanilla is a major export from many tropical countries including Madagascar and interestingly also now Uganda. Ndali is a company that produces a fair trade producer of Vanilla that works to reinvest into the community in Uganda, seeking to break the cycle of poverty.

I was sent some Ndali vanilla powder and vanilla pods. The products are strikingly packaged, with a recognizable and impressive logo. More importantly, on opening the package, the scent of vanilla, its strength and sweetness linger – this product is not just fair trade, it is a fine food product.

I used it to add depth of flavour to these muffins. Richly chocolatey but not cloyingly so I made them in mini muffin portions (the recipe will make 24) though you could get 12 to 15 regular sized muffins out of it. The ground almonds give a moistness and flavour, and they last at least four or five days. I also used almond milk (having been sent a sample from Almond Breeze, along with a delicious hamper of breakfast goodies). I rather like the almond milk, mainly in smoothies, it does not work for me in tea (nor does soya) but it worked well in the muffin mix here.


Chocolate, Almond and Vanilla Spiced up muffins


90g softened butter

1 teaspoon Vanilla powder (or the seeds of 1 vanilla pod)

180g sugar

1 beaten egg

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of mixed spice

140g Unsweetened Almond Milk

50g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

60g Dark Chocolate for the batter and 20g for decoration (I used Green and Black – also fair trade)


Preheat oven to 200degC

Cream the butter, Vanilla, sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy.

Add the egg and whisk to incorporate this.

Add in the almond milk and continue to mix.

Finally sieve in the flour, cocoa and baking powder and incorporate this with a mixer.

Melt the 60 chocolate in a microwave, add this into the batter and mix this in.

Spoon into a greased muffin tin.

Of the remaining 20g, chop 10g into small pieces and pop pieces of the chocolate into the centre of each muffin.

Bake for 20-25 mins until cooked through (till a knife comes out just dry)

Cool on a wire rack

Melt the remaining chocolate and drizzle over the muffins.

I had meant to take these to a wonderful fair trade baking event at Fortnum and Mason’s organised by Vanessa, but childcare problems held me back from attending but from all accounts it was a great success, as you can read over at A Trifle rushed and at What Kate Baked.


Categories: Chocolate

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9 Comments on “Chocolate, Almond and Vanilla Spiced Up Muffins”

  1. October 4, 2012 at 8:22 PM #

    Such a shame you missed the event but I am hoping Vanessa does another one at Xmas. These spiced muffins do sound delicious. I like the idea of making them in mini size too, perfect for a small chocolatey treat!
    Well done on moving over to WordPress. Love what you have done so far. Here’s a toast to your new site :))xx

    • October 7, 2012 at 11:15 PM #

      thanks Laura they really did work well, and my daughter in particular enjoyed them!

  2. October 5, 2012 at 8:00 PM #

    These muffins sound really good especially with such heady vanilla. Ground almonds are really good for making cakes last I find and interesting to see you’ve used almond milk. Shame you couldn’t make Vanessa’s event – I couldn’t manage it either.

    • October 7, 2012 at 11:16 PM #

      Hi Choclette, yes it was a shame not to be at Vanessa’s event. I do hope we get to catch up again soon.

  3. October 5, 2012 at 11:35 PM #

    HI Nazima! This new layout is really nice! Chocolate spiced muffins are perfect for these rainy, coolish days. By coincidence I’ve just baked a chocolate cake and now I feel sorry because I’ve not added spices…

    • October 7, 2012 at 11:17 PM #

      Hi Rita, thanks very much. I shall pop over to check your cake, am sure it must be fabulous

  4. October 25, 2012 at 1:16 PM #

    I missed it too! I just hope I’m free for the next one! These sound great and I’m loving your new site.

  5. November 8, 2012 at 1:24 PM #

    These little muffins look like perfect bites of chocolaty deliciousness!

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