Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bon week-end! It's always time for Double Chocolate Muffins

These excellent muffins, not too sweet, are from one of those humble-looking comb-binder cookbooks you will sometimes find in the sale bins of bookstores. It’s called 365 Great Chocolate Desserts, and was written by Natalie Haughton and published by John Boswell Associates in 1991.

The "365" is a bit of a stretch. Some of the "desserts" are actually the frosting or sauce recipes for the cake or pudding preceding, but really -- why quibble. There are some terrific things in here, and the book is nicely organized into chapters covering categories like pies only ("Chocolate in a crust"), or "Chocolate confections," or "Quick fixes with mixes."

Thanks to extensive use, my copy of the book falls open automatically to this very recipe, number 259. There are chocolate stains on the page, too. Yes, I’ve made them a lot. "These are great," the author says, "with coffee for a morning pick-me-up or for a lunch-time dessert or afternoon snack." She's right. They're great, period. Indeed, why not for breakfast?

Before you start the recipe, you’ll need a cup of buttermilk ready. Simply sour a cup of whole milk by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to it and letting it sit out while you preheat the oven and mix the batter. You’ll also need, of course, paper muffin cups, unless you don’t mind greasing your muffin tins. And off we go.

Double chocolate muffins 
Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a large glass bowl in the microwave, melt 1 stick of butter with 3 squares of unsweetened chocolate, cut up. (Heat on High about 2 minutes.) Let cool.

Stir thoroughly into the chocolate:
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 a dash of salt
 1 cup buttermilk or soured milk.
In a separate bowl, mix 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Stir this into the chocolate batter. Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips. (Here is your "double" chocolate.)

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling about 1/3 full. Bake 15-20 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Couldn’t these delectable things be made "triple chocolate" at this point? A dollop of frosting perhaps, or a dusting of cocoa powder?

Your call. For me, this recipe makes exactly 24 muffins. That means 6 each for a family of four – and we have been known to devour these in 24 hours. Don’t crowd.

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