March 8, 2009

Midnight Muffins

My Christmas present to myself was a new cookbook - Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More: 200 Anytime Treats and Special Sweets for Morning to Midnight by Carole Walter - and the very first recipe I made from the cookbook was jeff's chocolate glazed midnight muffins for my 6 year old niece.  Needless to say they were a big hit (even though I made them without the glaze).  

They were dark and had great chocolate flavour.  The photo here doesn't do them justice - I'm still experimenting with different exposures on my digital camera and the lighting made them look washed out but, trust me, their colour really does live up to their name.

The recipe calls for cocoa powder but Carole Walter did not specify whether to use natural or Dutch-processed.  Having a bit of time on my hands I decided to try a little experiment to see if the type of cocoa powder would make any noticeable difference.  I made two batches of muffins - one with natural and one with Dutch-process cocoa powder.

While both finished products were absolutely delicious, the unanimous verdict was that the ones with the Dutch-process cocoa powder had a more delicate chocolate flavour which was less overwhelming than those made with the natural cocoa powder.  If bold chocolate flavour is your thing then definitely go with the natural cocoa - those muffins were especially yummy with a tall glass of milk.

Aside from omitting the glaze, I decided to throw in a few milk chocolate chips (which I had bought by mistake on a rushed shopping trip) in place of the recommended walnuts.  Normally I find milk chocolate too sweet and cloying in baked goods but I hate wasting food.  Surprisingly the chips added a lovely depth of flavour to the muffins.

These muffins are super-easy to make and are real crowd-pleasers.  I just wish that Walter would give the pre-sifted volume measurement (or even better the weight measurement) for ingredients like cocoa powder.  I really hate having to sift then measure (so messy!) so next time I make these muffins I will weigh the ingredients and jot down the weights next to the volume measurements to make it easier. 

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