Occasionally I’ll get a hankering for something. Usually it’s crunchy – chips, chips and salsa, popcorn, things like that. Last night it was Costco chocolate muffins. I’m not particularly sure why; their chocolate muffins are not my favorite by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it even my favorite flavor of what they offer. But for whatever reason, it was time to make chocolate muffins.
The initial batch of muffins yielded a dozen. As with my inexplicable hankering for the muffins, this did not seem like nearly enough for no terribly good reason. Thus I got it into my head to do what I had been wanting to do for a while – make two different recipes and compare them side-by-side to better understand the interplay of ingredients and different ratios of stuff. I can follow a recipe, but I do not have nearly enough of an understanding of the chemistry of baking to develop my own recipes or really know how to tweak a recipe to obtain the results I am looking for. I don’t know that developing my own recipes is what I’m truly after, but it seems like a good idea that if I’m hoping to make a business of this, I need to be able to set myself apart from other such businesses; using other peoples’ recipes that one can find anywhere isn’t going to do that.
In any case, I found a second recipe that did things a bit differently. First of all, in addition to cocoa powder it also used melted chocolate in the batter to give it a bit of depth and richness. It also called for chocolate rather than chocolate chips – so I used my Dove dark chocolate bits. That may contribute quite a lot to why I prefer that recipe, though on a more objective note the first recipe turned out rather dry and was a bit thicker of a batter, and thus a little unwieldy.
On a slightly unrelated note, I found that buttermilk will lend chocolate muffins a greenish tint if used in full – at least Bulgarian Buttermilk will. I used a cup of buttermilk on the first recipe, but only had enough for about 1/3 cup for the second recipe, and putting the two side by side – no wonder no one wanted to eat the first batch.
The first batch is the one with the chocolate chips on the top. You can tell that the brown isn’t quite as rich of a color, though it seemed that the green tint came out the longer the muffins were sitting there. To be fair, though, the original calls for water and red wine vinegar; once I get some more cocoa powder I’ll attempt this recipe with a similar ratio of water to buttermilk as I attempted originally with the second recipe – I made a second batch of the second recipe using the full 1 1/4 cup buttermilk it called for and it was also slightly greenish and a bit thicker.
Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffins
adapted from Cooking Light
7.9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided (the original suggests minichips, which I would second)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a muffin pan, or line with muffin-cup liners, and set aside.
Combine flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and quickly whisk together to combine. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in the half of the chocolate chips to the wet mixture, then stir wet mixture into dry mixture until just moist.
Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over each of the cups. (You might want to slightly push down on the chips if you’re using larger semi-sweet – some of mine decided to not want to stay in the batter when I was taking them out of the pan.) Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes on wire rack.
As I said, I’ll be making another batch once I get some more cocoa powder. I have a feeling that I may like this recipe a bit more if I were to do what I did with the following recipe regarding the buttermilk.
The thing is, I think I had a hankering for some serious chocolate, because this next recipe really grabbed me, and not only for the different way of doing things: this one melts chocolate and incorporates it into the batter, along with cocoa powder. When I saw that, I have to say my mind was made up – I had to make them right there and then.
Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Muffins
from Brown-Eyed Baker
6 tbsp unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided (I used Dove dark chocolates)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup warm water
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a muffin tin or line with baking cups and set aside.
Melt the butter and half of the chopped chocolate together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and sat. In a second bowl, whisk the buttermilk, water, egg and vanilla together until well-combined. Pour the liquid ingredients and the melted butter and chocolate over the dry ingredients and quickly stir to blend. Do not overmix. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool muffins on wire rack.
As I mentioned, I made another batch of these muffins with all buttermilk – and I did a double batch. That was kind of a doozey. Between the viscosity of the buttermilk and the largeness of the batch, it was really rather hard to stir the ingredients all together. I probably overmixed them, but I didn’t notice a terribly large difference in texture or anything. Also, instead of making just two dozen muffins, it made two dozen regular muffins and nearly two dozen mini-muffins.I didn’t mind that at all – it gave me a good excuse to figure out the baking time for mini-muffins. I believe they were perfect at 15 minutes, though I could have done anywhere between 12 and 15, I guess, but 10 wasn’t quite there yet.
As you can imagine, that’s a shit-ton of chocolate muffins between two days. I still haven’t gotten rid of all of them, but I did get an interesting review. For the second batch of the second recipe, one of my residents really liked it, and said they were nice and moist without being too chocolatey. My first thought when he said that was, “Well, then I didn’t put enough chocolate in, did I?” After thinking about it for a bit, though, I realized that if I wanted to have a chocolate heart attack I could just do more of my brownies, because those were pretty rich.
I think I have decided to start expanding my muffin repertoire in an effort to be able to expand the offerings on 2o3pastries. Speaking of which, I need to go fiddle with that site and toss more pictures of easy edibles up.