Double Chocolate Muffin Recipe

In general I like to stick with the classics, but I had a special plea for a chocolate muffin recipe, so I decided to put one up. These were inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Muffins from her excellent book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. The only difference is that I increased the sugar, since I felt they needed a little more sweetness (no offense, Dorie!). For a more austere muffin, something you would eat with a sweetened cup of coffee, subtract 1/3 cup of sugar.

3 ounces (6 tablespoons) butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
10 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour
7 ounces (1 cup) sugar
1 ounce (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10.5 ounces (1 1/4 cups) buttermilk
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a muffin pan. Melt half of the chocolate and the butter together in a microwave, using as many 10-second bursts as necessary (stirring between each) to melt the ingredients most of the way. Use the residual heat to do the rest of the job.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl whisk whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients as well as the butter mixture over the dry ingredients and gently stir the mixture until it’s mostly blended. Stir in the remaining chocolate pieces.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes. Cool for five minutes before removing the muffins from the mold.

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13 Responses to Double Chocolate Muffin Recipe

  1. Tom says:

    Looks good. It’s interesting that the sugar is put in with the flour, I thought it was normally thought of as a wet ingredient.

    • joepastry says:

      Yes, I normally think that as well. This recipe is a little different. I have yet to figure out why she includes the buttermilk, then just turns around and neutralizes the acid with the soda. Hmmm…..

      • Nicole says:

        Maybe because, like sour cream, it’s a thick liquid? Also, and maybe you can shed some light on this sometime, I find that baking with lots of chocolate screws with the texture of whatever it is I’m making. I’ve been looking for years for a chewy – not fudgy, not cakey, not brownie-like – chocolate cookie recipe and have yet to find the perfect one.

        • joepastry says:

          Additives like cocoa or heavy inclusions like chips always do make life harder for a batter as it’s trying to rise. But why not try to create your own super-cookie? For more chewiness, a higher proportion of brown sugar is a great place to begin!

          - Joe

      • Henry says:

        I’ve always wondered about this – what’s the difference between a cake/muffin recipe that uses milk/baking powder and one that uses buttermilk/baking soda? Since the soda neutralises the acid in the buttermilk, surely the end result would just be the same as the former and, in which case, why bother using buttermilk? I wonder if the difference lies in the texture – with the acid in the buttermilk inhibiting gluten when mixing the batter. I imagine the soda in the flour mixture would react slightly later with the acid in the buttermilk, so that the buttermilk somehow still manages to inhibit gluten formation (compared to a milk/baking powder mix)?

        • rainey says:

          Can’t answer any of your questions about the chemical reactions but there’s just so much more flavor in buttermilk and it’s a wonderful pairing with chocolate.

          When I was young in the 50s none of the women I knew baked with chocolate without using buttermilk or soured milk or, in the case of necessity, adding vinegar or lemon juice to fresh milk.

          I still substitute buttermilk for fresh milk, brown sugar for white sugar and browned butter for conventional butter as often as possible to goose the flavor profile of whatever I’m making.

          • joepastry says:

            Hey Rainey!

            The reason for the buttermilk and chocolate was because most cocoa was “dutched” in those days, i.e. treated with an alkali to curb chocolate’s natural harshness and mellow it. These days dutching is out of vogue because some people (unjustifiably in my opinion) see it as an industrial corruption of the pure solids. Indeed it’s almost impossible to find dutched cocoa now, though I have a feeling it’ll come back one of these days. Harsh chocolate, like harsh dark roast coffee, isn’t as popular as it used to be…and these things definitely go in cycles.

            - Joe

        • joepastry says:

          Hey Henry!

          That’s a very interesting question. Reaction-wise they’re about the same. The baking powder is a pre-packaged reaction, baking soda needs an acidic partner to react, and that’s usually buttermilk. As a rule, baking soda tends to act faster than powder when it’s moistened, though newer formulations save some of the reaction for when the batter heats. Not so long ago bakers would lose a good deal of their reaction if they allowed batter to sit for any length of time.

          But there probably is a texture difference between the two to some degree, though I’m not completely certain. I tend to think of baking soda preparations as being denser…but then there’s baking soda in baking powder, so it might just be in my mind.

          - Joe

  2. rainey says:

    Nobody respects or is grateful for Dorie Greenspan more than I. Still, if it’s a chocolate muffin you’re looking for I’ve been using this King Arthur recipe for a decade. The muffins are yummy and I can’t think of anything with a more satisfying chocolate experience.

    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/chocolate-breakfast-muffins-recipe (0nly bake them with buttermilk)

    I also use this recipe for our traditional Christmas dessert. I bake it as a bundt cake and glaze it with ganache.

  3. Katherine says:

    I just wanted to drop you a line – I just “discovered” your blog yesterday, and as soon as I was able, I made your double chocolate muffins. I had a spare hour in the middle of my day, and a friend I would be seeing later had just had a birthday (I often use friend’s birthdays to justify trying new dessert recipes), so kismet!

    They are phenomenal! The texture of the crumb is perfect, so moist yet delicate. And I always love a buttermilk batter. Though, because of my chocolate-related insanity, I decided they weren’t chocolate-y enough. So I added some extra melted chocolate, as well as semi-sweet, milk, and white chocolate chips/chunks. They are almost chocolate-y enough for me (and my friend agreed!). Thanks for an awesome recipe! I know this will be a great standby in my baking arsenal.

    • joepastry says:

      Hey, far be it from me to cast aspersions here. My wife, who suffers from a related choco-affliction, would probably have done the same. I’m just glad they worked out!

      Thanks for the note, Katherine!

      - Joe

  4. Joe says:

    Hi Joe,

    Looks delicious! How come you didn’t mix the cocoa powder with boiling milk or water before adding it in this recipe?

    thanks!

    • joepastry says:

      Too-shay, Joe! Great point. I suppose because there was so little of it, but I would have gotten even more flavor had I heated the buttermilk, added the cocoa and let it cool….THEN proceeded with the recipe. I’d have had twice the cocoa flavor! I’ll do that next time!

      - Joe

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