Category Archives: Muffins

Chocolate Chip Muffins

My oldest son loves chocolate chips in cookies, pancakes, scones…pretty much anything and everything. So whenever I make any baked goods, he asks if I can swap I out the fruit for chocolate. Since most of my baked goods usually have less sugar, this is one indulgence I don’t feel too bad about. After testing a few muffin recipes, I came up I with one that is super-moist but still crunchy on the top, just the way he likes it. This is my son’s favorite muffin and he asked me to post the recipe. I hope you enjoy them as much as he does. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Chocolate Muffins

2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, cut into 16 cubes
2/3 cup of granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of good quality chocolate chips (dark or semi-sweet)
Crystallized sugar for topping

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Line muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

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4. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and milk.

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5. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, add the butter and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for 2 more minutes. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

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6. Add one egg and beat well. Scrape the bottom with a rubber spatula. Add the other egg and beat well. Scrape the bottom with a rubber spatula. Add the vanilla extract and beat for 15 seconds.

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7. Adjust the speed to low, then add the sour cream and milk mixture. Beat for 15 seconds.

8. Add the chocolate chips to the flour mixture. Give it a quick whisk and slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer on its lowest setting until they just combine. Remove the bowl and using a rubber spatula, scrape the bottom and give it a couple of stirs.

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9. With a large ice cream scoop, add the batter to each of the cupcake liners.

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10. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of crystallized sugar on top of each muffin.

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11. Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

12. Set the oven on broil. Broil the muffins for 1-2 minutes until you get a nice golden muffin top.

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Dark Chocolate Cherry Muffins

You rarely find fresh cherries in pastries and desserts because cherries aren’t available year-round like other fruits. In California, cherry season is from mid-April to early June, so if you blink you just might miss it. This week, I bought the last of the season cherries from Murray Family Farms. While Murray’s won’t have any more cherries available this season, there are other farmers that will have cherries available for a couple more weeks, but after that we’ll have to wait until next year.

Due to limited availability and a very short season, I am always torn whether to just eat them fresh or bake with them. With that said, I do enjoy adding fresh cherries to baked goods. In this recipe, I created a dark chocolate muffin recipe with fresh cherries. The slightly bitter chocolate and the tart dark cherries compliment each other well. These muffins are moist in the center and crunchy on top from the raw turbinado sugar, which adds a golden brown color that contrasts nicely with the dark brown muffins. Try this recipe before cherry season is over. Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Muffins

Yield: About 16 muffins

2 cups of Sonora wheat flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of Valrhona cocoa powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
½ cup of unsalted butter, soften
3/4 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup of sour cream
1/3 cup of whole milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of pitted and chopped ripe dark cherries (Bing or Tulare)
2/3 cup of dark chocolate chips
Turbinado sugar for topping

1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line the muffin pans with cupcake liners.

2. In a medium bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk and break up any lumps. If the cocoa powder is lumpy, sift the dry ingredients.

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3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter on medium speed for 2 minutes.

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4. Add one egg, beat until combined. Add the second egg ask beat well until smooth.

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5. Add sour cream, milk, and the vanilla extract. Beat until the mixture is smooth.image6. Set the mixer on low speed. Slowly add the in the dry ingredients until just a few streaks of flour is visible. Turn off the mixer and release the bowl.

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7. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dark chocolate chips and the cherries, but don’t over mix.

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8. Scoop the batter with a large ice cream scoop into a lined muffin pan. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

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9. Bake for 20-22 minutes, but don’t overbake. Check with a toothpick at the 20 minute mark.

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10. When the muffins are done, immediately remove them from the muffin pans and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool for 10 minutes and serve with a tall glass of milk or coffee.

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Wild Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry is one of the most popular muffin flavors at a bakery. You will typically find this flavor alongside chocolate, bran and lemon poppy seed. For me, though, I grew up baking and eating blueberry muffins from a box. I remember Betty Crocker had a blueberry muffin mix that came with a can of wild blueberries from Maine – you drained the blueberries and folded them in at the end before baking. The muffin batter was rather ordinary but the wild blueberries, bursting with intense flavor, made up for it. Then I finally had a blueberry muffin from a fancy bakery. Since they used fresh local California blueberries, I expected the muffin to be spectacular but I was a bit disappointed. The muffin itself was good, but the blueberries were lacking in flavor.

So what makes a good blueberry muffin? First and foremost, intense blueberry flavor. You want the blueberry flavor to seep into the batter. I’ve made blueberry muffins with fresh local berries but find that frozen wild blueberries from the Northeast had the best flavor, at least for baking. Second, you want a dense but moist muffin. You achieve this by not overbeating the eggs and by using sour cream and oil in the batter instead of butter. The reason I usually don’t use butter in most of my muffin recipes is because, since it is solid at room temperature, it tends to harden the muffins once they are a day old. Finally, I like to add sugar crystals on the top to create some texture. It gives the dome a nice crunchy top. Try this recipe and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Wild Blueberry Muffins

Yield: 1 dozen

1 1/3 cups frozen organic wild blueberries*
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil (or a neutral flavored oil like organic canola)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
Sugar crystals* or raw sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a muffin pan with 10 cupcake liners. Set aside.

2. Take the frozen blueberries and 1 tablespoon of sugar and toss together in a small bowl. Set aside.

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3. In large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk and set aside.

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4. In a glass measuring cup, whisk the milk and sour cream. Set aside.

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5. In a stand mixer, beat the coconut oil and granulated sugar on medium speed for 1 minute.

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6. Reduce the speed to medium low. Add the the eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended. Scrape the sides of the bowl.

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7. Add the milk and sour cream mixture and vanilla. Beat until just combined.

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8. On the lowest setting, slowly add the flour until just combined. Don’t overbeat.

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9. Remove the bowl off the mixer. Add the blueberries to the batter and fold gently with a rubber spatula until just combined. Be careful not to crush the blueberries.

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10. Scoop the batter with a large ice cream scoop into lined muffin pan. Sprinkle with sugar crystals.

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11. Bake in the oven on the center rack for about 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Turn the oven to the broil setting and broil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and remove the muffins from the muffin pan. Place the muffins on a wire rack to cool. Cool for about 15 minutes. Serve with butter.

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*You can find frozen wild blueberries at specialty markets like Trader Joe’s.

Pumpkin Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chunks

As we close in on Thanksgiving, here is a simple muffin recipe that is perfect for the holiday. Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving or showing up as a guest, these can be whipped up in no time and will definitely be a crowd favorite with the kids and adults alike. In fact, I find myself making some sort of muffin recipe at least once a week because my kids love them so much. The muffins themselves are just mildly sweet, but the chocolate makes up for it!

As with any recipe, it is important to use the best ingredients, as your recipe is only as good as the ingredients you start with. As long as you have everything on hand, the active prep time should be less than 20 minutes. The muffins also bake in less than 20 minutes. If you prefer, you can substitute the total amount of spices listed in the recipe below with 1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice, which you should have no trouble finding in the spice section of your supermarket during the holiday season. Happy baking!

Pumpkin Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chunks

Yield: 12 muffins

1 ½ cups of whole grain flour (like Sonora wheat) or unbleached AP flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of ginger
1/8 teaspoon of cloves
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
¾ cup of organic sugar
½ cup neutral oil (sunflower or coconut oil)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
8 ounces of organic pumpkin puree (homemade or store-bought)
5 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped into ½”pieces (52% cacao)
Crystal or turbinado sugar for topping

1. Preheat Oven to 400°. Line muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.

2. In a medium bowl add all the dry ingredients (the first 8 ingredients). Whisk and set aside.

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3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, add the sugar and oil. Set on medium speed until completely blended.

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4. Add the eggs, one at a time until just blended.

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5. Add the vanilla and pumpkin puree mix until smooth.

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6. On the lowest speed setting, slowly add the dry ingredients until just blended.

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7. Remove the bowl from the mixer.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chunks in until evenly distribute. Don’t over mix.

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8. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop into the liners.

9. Using a teaspoon, sprinkle the crystal sugar on each section of the muffin batter.

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10. Place the muffin pan in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the muffins.

11. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes; remove and then transfer to cooling rack.

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12. Enjoy them warm with a cup of milk or coffee.