Monday, May 12, 2008

Muffins Part 1: Double Chocolate

OK, as mentioned yesterday, this will be the first of five muffin posts. I have no favorites and will post them in no particular order — they are all so different, ranging from low-carb to vegan to gluten-free, and I love them all for different reasons.

Now, normally, when I find myself at a coffee shop for breakfast, pastries such as double chocolate muffins do not tempt me. I usually go for the scone or the bagel or the deceivingly healthy-looking bran muffin. But these chocolate muffins somehow strike a nice balance: They are rich and chocolaty in flavor but light and airy in texture. They are perfectly sweet and oddly and unexpectedly minty tasting. I checked the cocoa powder to make sure I hadn't used a mint-flavored variety (which I don't think even exists) and I checked the chocolate chips for the same reason. I do have a theory, however. The chocolate chips traveled across the country in the same vessel as a bottle of peppermint extract. These two ingredients then lived together in complete darkness for three months. I think they may have bonded. (It's crazy — the bottle of peppermint extract hasn't even been opened.)

Also, I hate to sound like Ina Garten, but I did use a "good" brand of cocoa, courtesy of cousin Jay who brought me some Dagoba cocoa powder from a trade show he recently worked at. I'm not sure if a "good" cocoa powder makes the difference, but I don't want to overlook it either.

These are so yummy. Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Muffins
Yield = 12 to 14

1¾ C. all-purpose flour
1 C. sugar
½ C. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 C. milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract (or a ¼ tsp. peppermint extract)
½ C. butter, melted
½ C. mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place liners in muffin pan or coat pan with nonstick spray.

2. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and butter until combined. Combine wet and dry ingredients until just blended. Fold in chocolate chips.

3. Spoon batter into liners and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

4. Let cool briefly in pan, then transfer to cooling rack.