Category Archives: Muffins

Double Chocolate Muffins

These have a deep, dark chocolate flavor, but aren’t so decadent that you can’t rationalize eating one for breakfast (if you’re me, anyway). Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and buttering (or spraying) a muffin mold.

Combine the butter and half the chocolate in a small bowl…

…and zap in the microwave in bursts of about 10 seconds each (on high). When you still have some chunks left, stop zapping and allow the residual heat to melt the mixture the rest of the way.

Next, combine your dry ingredients plus the sugar in a medium bowl…

…and whisk.

Making sure your buttermilk and egg are at room temperature, combine them in another bowl.

Whisk that mixture, then add it to the dry ingredients.

Add the chocolate mixture next…

…then gently stir/fold it all together.

When there are still a few unmixed patches of flour left, add the remaining chocolate pieces.

Fold them in gently.

Divide the batter evenly among the cups…

…and bake about 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean. Cool them on a rack for at least five minutes before you attempt to de-pan and eat one. Arrange them artistically on a plate in a misguided attempt to create a chic photograph.

Filed under:  Double Chocolate Muffins, Pastry | 9 Comments

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.

Filed under:  Double Chocolate Muffins, Pastry | 13 Comments

Making Blueberry Muffins

There’s a big misconception out there that muffins are supposed to have highly domed, even conical tops. Nonsense. A peaked top is a sure sign that a muffin has been over-mixed, and that means it’ll be chewy, even gummy to the tooth. That’s not a good muffin in my book. I prefer them melt-in-your-mouth tender. Just out of the oven, when they have a touch of crispness on them, they’re a sort of an American version of paradise.

They’re mixed, unsurprisingly, via the muffin method. That’s a fast-and-easy technique that you’ve probably used before. It simply means combining (gently) two mixtures: the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients, then panning and baking. Easy! So let’s go. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next sift/whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. That’s the dry side of the equation.

Now for the wet side. Combine the butter and the sugar (yes, that’s classified as “wet” since it dissolves so quickly in water) in a bowl.

Beat those together until they’re fluffy, then beat in the egg, sour cream and milk.

It’ll look about like this:

Now all you have to do, spatula in hand, is apply the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

Gently mix everything together.

You’ll want to just bring the mixture together. If you see a few spots of unmixed flour left, so much the better.

Add in the berries and gently fold them in as well, just until they’re evenly distributed.

Now all you need to do is fill your forms with batter and bake! You don’t need to use cupcake liners if you don’t want to do that. Just make sure your form is well lubricated.

While the muffins are baking you can get a window into how well you mixed as you wash up. Pay attention to the behavior of the residual bits of batter as you wash out your bowl. If the batter simply dissolves in the water stream, you’ve got a superior muffin to look forward to. If it puts up a fight or leaves stringy/rubbery deposits on your wash cloth or sponge, you’ll want to ease up on elbow grease next time, killer.

This is what you’re after: a tight crumb with a few irregular holes, but no “tunnels” caused by gluten formation. I think I’ll put the kettle on.

Filed under:  Blueberry Muffins, Pastry | 12 Comments

Basic Muffin Recipe

There are all kinds of muffin recipes out there, about as many as there are quick bread recipes (if not more). That’s what American muffins are of course, portion-sized quick breads. But more on that later. This recipe will work with lots of different inclusions…berries especially, but chocolate chips, nuts, all sorts of stuff. It’s a great launching pad for any of your own ideas.

10 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
5.25 ounces (3/4 cup) sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
4.25 ounces (1/2 cup) sour cream or buttermilk, room temperature
2 ounces (1/4 cup) milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
about 1 1/2- 2 cups fresh or dried berries (3/4 – 1 cup chocolate piece or nuts)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a muffin mold. Sift the dry ingredients except for the sugar together into a medium bowl. In a large bowl cream the sugar and the butter with a wooden spoon until it’s light and fluffy. Beat the eggs into the butter/sugar mixture one at a time, then the sour cream, milk and vanilla. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl and gently fold it all together, leaving a few spots of unmixed flour. Add the…whatever, and stir until it’s all just incorporated. Fill the molds about 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and eat!

Filed under:  Anything Muffins, Blueberry Muffins, Pastry | 27 Comments