Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort. ~ Norman Kalpas
Ever have one of those days when nothing is going to make it possible to get through it except possibly, just maybe a heavy dose of chocolate. Well, today was that type of day for me. In fact, it has been that type of month, but until this afternoon I didn’t have the time, inclination, or inspiration to quell my insatiable need for luscious, rich chocolate anything.
Although there are several chocolate mixes-in-jars recipes I wanted to try, none of them were the “just right” recipe for today. So, I did what every recipe loving/collecting homemaker would do, I went to the internet and typed in “How to satisfy my chocolate craving!” The results were too overwhelming to even begin to explore, so instead I brainstormed what chocolate concoctions in the past have quenched my seemingly unquenchable need for chocolate and decided that a double chocolate muffin was one that always hit the spot.
There are hundreds of recipes out there for double chocolate muffins. The first 10 I went to were all pretty much the same, but in reading through the comments I learned a lot about what ingredients really make chocolate “pop” and which ones would ensure a moist inside with a crispy top. Although I have been baking since I was 11 years old, up until the past four or five years this has meant pretty much just following a recipe. Experimenting with ingredients, proportions, and substitutions was not an option with the fear of failure constantly looming in the background. Wasting money, too, was a huge factor in never veering far from the written word.
In the past several years however, I have learned that in cooking there are really no mistakes. Cooking is one of the most forgiving past times I know of. About the only thing you can’t fix when cooking is if you burn what you’re making and even then, if the recipe calls for gravy, all is not lost. Obviously there have been some absolutely terrible mishaps in my kitchen when I’ve thrown in the towel and dumped a recipe (or twelve) down the disposal, but when this happens I just chalk it up to experience and as Hubby always tells me, “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson!”
What I have learned is the more I read recipes, the more I learn what makes things rise, fall, set, thicken, tenderize, and moisten. It isn’t just by chance that a cake rises, white sauce thickens, or the flavors in some recipes are far more intense than others. It’s science! Don’t worry though, I’m no scientist, so I’m not going to get into the why, for that you’ll have to Google it yourself. I will however share some of the wonders of cooking that I have been thrilled to learn, you know those Ahhhh! bits of information that keep reminding me how much I have to learn.
Todays internet searches taught me the following:
- When you add cocoa to a recipe, milk can be used, but it isn’t the liquid of choice. Buttermilk, sour cream, or yogurt will really make the cocoa sing. This combination makes a delicious, moist texture and enhances the bitterness of the cocoa.
- Typically when cocoa is added to a recipe it is added to an existing recipe. Therefore, the amount of eggs and fat in a recipe calling for cocoa should be higher.
- When a recipe calls for cocoa and/or buttermilk, baking powder should replace some of the baking soda.
- A recipe with cocoa should have a bit more sugar because the cocoa has a tendency to be bitter.
- One of the surest ways to enhance the chocolate flavor in any recipe is to add instant coffee granules or espresso powder. These will not be tasted in the final product, but the chocolate flavor will really “Pop!”
- In order to attain the “bakery look” for muffins, mix the batter as little as possible, just until the ingredients are combined. The more you mix it, the more of a chance your muffins have to be tough, heavy, and flat.
- To get the most rise out of your recipe, bake muffins at a high temperature for the first few minutes and then lower the temperature for the remaining time.
That being said, I finally decided on three recipes for double chocolate muffins. They were all somewhat similar, but all different as well. One called for brown sugar, one called for yogurt, one called for salt (here I thought all baked goods needed salt), one called for milk chocolate chips, and only one called for instant coffee. None of the recipes I found utilized all the fun facts I learned about using cocoa in recipes, so you know what that meant? Yep, time to make my own.
Tilly’s Double Chocolate Muffins
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup White Sugar
- 2/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1 tsp. Espresso Powder or 2 tsp. Instant Coffee
- 1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 1/4 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1/4 Cup Melted Butter
- 1/4 Cup Peanut, Canola, or Vegetable Oil
- 1/4 Cup Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Preheat Oven to 450 degrees (very important). Grease 12 muffin cups.
Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, baking powder, and espresso into a large bowl. Whisk eggs, vanilla, yogurt, butter, and oil in a separate bowl. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and pour in liquid mixture. Stir until just combined. The mixture should be lumpy. Add 1/2 cup semi-sweet and 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips. Mix gently until blended. Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
Bake in preheated oven for 3 minutes. Turn heat down to 350 and continue baking for 12 to 15 minutes more. Remove from oven when toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing.
This recipe should make a dozen muffins, but my muffin pan must not be a standard size. It does seem a bit shallow. I was able to get 12 muffins and 12 mini muffins (which were baked 3 minutes at 450 and 10 minutes at 350).
These muffins are fabulous. They are super chocolately, crisp on the top, and moist on the inside. They have a dense, tender texture and satisfied my craving for chocolate like nothing else.
I love cooking, baking and canning and do it practically every day, three times a day, but that doesn’t mean I know everything there is to know about any of these. Being in the kitchen is a constant learning process and I love every minute of it, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.