Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chocolate Chip Muffins


Last weekend was just crazy.  The Girl and I headed up to the university where she’ll be enrolling as a freshman next fall, to give her a chance to meet professors and new friends and to interview for admission to the university’s Honors College.  On Monday, we received the excellent news that The Girl has been awarded a full academic scholarship–which is, as you might understand, a big load off this Foodie’s mind.  So it’s been a week of planning for the future and celebrating our Girl’s accomplishments. Hectic, but fun.

Needless to say, I was looking forward to a long and uneventful weekend of cooking and baking.  No events to attend, no papers to grade, no major errands to run–just a couple of quiet days at home, filled with time that I might fill with making food.  It sounded too good to be true.  And you know what they say about things that sound too good to be true.

In all fairness, the derailing of my plans was my own fault.  Last Thursday, I bought a new lavender plant, with the hope that I’ll actually be able to grow my own culinary lavender.  My last attempt was a complete disaster, but I’m trying again anyway–Saturday morning, I set up my new variety of lavender in a new pot, in a new location.  Once I’d repotted the lavender, I noticed the rosemary plant beside it was in dire need of attention.  Then I noticed that the spider mites have returned to my Meyer lemon trees.  Then I noticed that the compost really needed to be turned and watered.

You can see how this played out.

So, yesterday afternoon, instead of making potato gnocchi as I’d planned, I put my growing things in place for the spring.  I made roast beef for dinner–which was a return to the plan–and mashed the potatoes rather than making pasta dough with them.  Then, later in the evening, I measured out the dry ingredients for these Chocolate Chip Muffins.  They were supposed to be a Saturday morning treat, but I wound up making them on Sunday morning instead. No one seems to be complaining.

If you’re not a morning person, measuring out your dry ingredients the night before is a quick way to make sure your morning baking plans don’t fall by the wayside.  What else are you going to do with a bowl of flour, sugar, and baking powder?  Whenever I’m planning to make muffins in the morning, I also set out my muffin tin and drop in the muffin liners the night before.  That way, when I get up, all I have to do is preheat the oven while I’m adding the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and filling the muffin cups.  (If you’re making muffins that include fresh fruit, like blueberries, it’s best to wait and add those in the morning too–just toss the berries in the dry ingredients, to coat them lightly, before adding everything else.)

I made these muffins with Namaste Foods Perfect Flour Blend.  I’ve recently tried the Trader Joe’s brand, Baker Josef Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour, which gave me great results in a cobbler I made last weekend.  I’ll definitely use it again.  However, the Trader Joe’s blend doesn’t include xanthan gum, and I’m always in favor of blends that do–it’s one less thing to worry about measuring, and that’s a definite plus for me.  If you’ll be using a gluten-free blend without xanthan gum, be sure to add a teaspoon of it to your dry ingredients.  (This recipe was adapted from several that called for all-purpose flour, so you should feel free to use whatever you have on hand.)

The Boy, who is a serious devotee of baked goods for breakfast, ate one of these and said “It tastes more like a cupcake than a muffin.”  It’s true these are sweet, and very chocolatey, so I can understand that assessment–but I’m not opposed to cupcakes for breakfast.  If you’re not either, give these a try.



Chocolate Chip Muffins


1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 T. cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
More chocolate chips, for sprinkling on top of batter


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups, or coat your muffin tin with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, sugar, and chocolate chips. Stir to distribute the ingredients, making sure to coat all the chocolate chips in flour. Make a well at the center of the dry ingredients.

Pour the milk, oil, and beaten egg into the well. Stir just until all the dry ingredients have been moistened. Using a cookie scoop, transfer the batter to the muffin wells, filling them about 3/4 of the way. Sprinkle 5 or 6 chocolate chips on top of the batter in each well.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the muffins are springy at the center. If you're using a gluten-free flour blend, allow the muffins to cool completely before eating them, as gluten-free baked goods can be gummy while they're still warm.

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