For many, chocolate is a gift from heaven. After a long day at work, a piece of dark chocolate with flecks of toasted almonds can melt away stress and frustration.
As I type, images of women, with long glossy hair, float across my mind. With their plump and glossed mouths, they suggestively bite into chocolate truffles and bon bons. I find myself captivated by their abandonment to pleasure.
As many of you know, my father didn't support any candy consumption. Noelle and I rarely ate chocolate bars, and there was an aching absence of Hershey syrup bottles in our fridge (I still remember how shocked I was when my friends' parents allowed us to drown our ice cream with thick chocolate fudge).
But just because we were forbidden candy, it didn't mean we weren't introduced to the wonders of chocolate. My grandmother's chocolate brownies were the highlight of any afternoon visit to her house. I can still remember biting into one of those thick and chewy pieces of chocolate. Heavenly. Even my father agreed.
When King Arthur Flour sent me a bag of their Dutch Process Cocoa, I knew that one of the first things I wanted to make was a dark chocolate muffin. How wonderful would it be to wake up to a full pot of coffee and a moist chocolate muffin? How delightful to sit in my armchair with a book in hand and a muffin in my lap?
When I made these muffins on Monday night, I found myself licking the batter off of my spoon. So good! I exclaimed as I placed my trays in the oven. When I pulled them out twenty minutes later, my house had been transformed into a chocolatier's workshop. The smells of dark and milk chocolate drifted into our study and bedroom.
The first bite of this muffin is sweet and intense. The flavor of chocolate, the moistness of a perfectly cooked treat, and the texture of tiny chocolate chips makes this morning muffin a true pleasure.
I decorated a few of my muffins with a simple raspberry powdered sugar glaze, but I liked them plain just as much.
*From King Arthur Flour
Yield: 12 muffins
2/3 cup Dutch-proces cocoa
1 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups.
2. Ina large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, sugar, bakingpowder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. Setaside.
3. In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl,whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and vinegar. Add the wetingredients, along with the melted butter, to the dry ingredients,stirring to blend; there's no need to beat these muffins, just makesure everything is well-combined.
4.Scoop the batter into theprepared muffin tin; the cups will be heaped with batter, and themuffin will bake into a "mushroom" shape. Sprinkle with pearl sugar, ifdesired.
5.Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a caketester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove themuffins from the oven, and after 5 minutes remove them from the pan,allowing them to cool for about 15 minutes on a rack before peeling offthe muffin papers or silicone cups.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores