Monday, November 5, 2012

chocolate chip espresso muffins

It feels as if I am baking purely for brain fuel nowadays. Because when you spend most of your free time writing, there comes times when all the words seem to be used, all the thoughts already written down, all the emotions poured out.

When it feels like I am stuck between thoughts, muffins are a good option. Muffins are easy to make and there are plenty of options as for the kinds of muffins you can bake. The act of baking always manages to relax me. I love baking just for that. There isn't much flexibility in baking; rather, the fixed ratios are very important if you want something edible as a result. Still, there is always something small that can be done to make the baked good more to your taste. Whether it is adding spices or chocolate, using different flours or sugars, making muffins instead of a cake. That's why I like baking so much. It takes time and trials to know what you like, and what you don't like. It takes time to know what goes well with what.

And while there is the excitement of trying something new when baking, you can also find comfort in baking those goods you have been baking for years now. In using those old recipes that are perfect just as they are. For those days when you are feeling adventurous, the internet is full of new recipes and ideas for you to try. And when comfort is needed, there is no judgement to be found in baking those brownies you have been making for the last 10 years without changing anything. If it's good, no explanations are needed. All will be received with a glad heart.

If there ever is a time when words fail me, chocolate and coffee usually help. When those two are combined in a muffin form with a delicious oat streusel topping, it seems as if words start to flow again. Thoughts start clearing up and taking a form.

As for these muffins, they pack flavour as the espresso and dark chocolate come together, but these aren't too sweet. Rather, they are hearty, full-bodied muffins with a sweet streusel topping, and I love them as they are. However, if you are looking for sweet muffins specifically, I'd recommend adding maybe 1/4 cup white sugar and a little more yoghurt if the mixture seems too dry. Another option is using milk chocolate, which would add some sweetness to the mix as well.

Chocolate Chip Espresso Muffins
adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
makes 12

115g butter
2 eggs
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp plain whole milk yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

11/3 cups plain flour
3/4 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp espresso (or finely ground coffee)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

100g dark chocolate, chopped

Streusel Topping:
30g cold, salted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 175C and grease a muffin pan or line with paper lines.

Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, and let it melt. Watch the butter as foam starts to form and when the butter starts to bubble, stir it with a spatula. When the foam starts to subside, watch for small brown flecks in the bottom of the saucepan. When you see the brown flecks, take the butter off the heat and set aside to cool. The butter should be light brown in colour.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, yoghurt and vanilla. When the butter has cooled, whisk it in as well.

In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, making sure there are no brown sugar lumps. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in the chopped dark chocolate and mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared 12 muffin tins.

In a small bowl, rub the streusel topping ingredients with your fingers until the butter is evenly mixed into the oats and sugar. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly on top of the muffins.

Bake the muffins on the middle rack for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

1 comment:

  1. I really like coffee, and even more in baked things. These are wonderful muffins! Chocolate and coffee is one of those perfect combinations.