Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Golden Dark Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Today is a day for something easy.

I need easy! Not street corner easy, or easy as pie.

I need something that is completely unscrew-upable. Something that I can make while wearing a hoodie or a straight jacket (depending on how much coffee I've had. I don't drink coffee. So coffee really means cookies).

It feels like today is still monday for me which sucks because...well we all know how mondays can be. But on the up-side...I'll be surprised when friday comes and I'm still thinking it's Thursday! Four-day week! Wait...no. Not really. But....yeaaah...

Even though I feel like I could sit around and do nothing all day, I know I'll get stuff done. That's just what happens. I already made these easy Chocolate Chunk Muffins, I've eaten three and I made a cup of tea. That's progress.

I'll probably head to the gym later and watch all the pretty ladies ride the bike at 4 miles/hour with their up-do's, painted nails, lipstick on and dry clothes while I sweat like a rat-dog with my ponytail half undone and not a stitch of makeup (except some chocolate on my chin. does that count?). Things will get done.

Can we talk about muffins for a minute?

Muffins fall into the "quick bread" category. Hence, "bread" and not "cake". Those muffins you can buy at the grocery store and coffee shops are essentially giant cupcakes.

Muffins are meant to be rough and rustic. They are fast and rugged - not slow and delicate. 

It's a simple, no-fuss process. You mix the dry ingredients separate from the wet ingredients and then bring them both together with some gentle stirring. Remember: a lumpy batter makes the best muffins.

The result is a soft but toothsome crumb with a texture somewhere between cupcakes and bread. It's meant to be that way so that you can spread a knob of butter on it if you want.

Muffins are also best eaten fresh. Warm from the oven is where it's at. Do you dig that?

These are simple and delicious. They're golden brown all around and studded with big chunks of dark chocolate. A hint of cinnamon and nutmeg reminds you of breakfast.

Take your glass of milk or cup of tea with a side of 'a basket of muffins' and just settle into your Monday #2 until you realize it's Tuesday.

Golden Dark Chocolate Chunk Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

4 oz dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup pure canola oil
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
¾ cup 2% milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Have ready a standard 12-cup non-stick muffin pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl. Add both sugars and mix them into the dry ingredients until well blended. Use your hands to break up any lumps of brown sugar. Stir in chocolate chunks and set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together egg, oil and melted butter. Whisk in milk and vanilla until combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet mixture all at once. Stir very gently using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon just until combined. Do not over-mix. If a few spots of dry flour remain, it’s OK.

Divide batter evenly among wells of your 12-cup muffin pan and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for 3 minutes. Run the dull side of a butter knife around each muffin to help release them and transfer them individually to the wire rack to cool.

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