Muffin Heaven


I’m not exactly a domestic goddess but I do love a spot of cooking (especially when it involves chopping up various vegetables and throwing them into a wok) or baking (under my sister’s watchful eye). While I’m extremely good at procrastinating I do occasionally get very strange bursts of energy where I find myself going crazy with a broom, sponge, hover and various chemical cleaning products. I’m quite sure this is some sort of chronic disease but until I find a specialist to cure me, I’m just going to have to deal with it somehow (help!). Whenever my inner domestic goddess does come out to play but doesn’t manifest itself the form of a cleaning spree, I can be found in the kitchen cooking or baking (read: trying to set the place on fire).

Strangely enough I’ve discovered that my favourite thing to bake are muffins, more specifically: chocolate muffins. There’s just something about those delicious little things that had me at hello – my stomach and taste buds agree. That and baking muffins is both effortless and easy. Relaxing too if you put your headphones on, blast your favourite playlist and ignore the rest of the world for an hour. Another major plus I’ve discovered is that baking chocolate muffins is actually slimming. All that stirring and dancing around the kitchen does burn some calories, you know! And no you’re not going to get a video demonstration of my incredible dancing skills but let me tell you, Mr Michael Jackson has got nothing on me! ;-) Take my word for it, or don’t…

On an entirely different note, after a few polite requests and bribes, I decided to be gracious and share my age-old, super-secret, most-favourite, treasured muffin recipe. You should know that this recipe has been handed down by generation after generation of not-quite-domestic-goddesses in my family and is practically invaluable. I therefore expect you to bow and love me forever for sharing this utterly amazing, one-of-a-kind recipe with you. Gifts consisting of coffee, chocolate, hugs and more coffee will also be accepted. Please contact me directly to arrange delivery.

So brace yourself, here’s the treasure itself:

Cherry Chocolate Muffins
[recipe for ca. 24 (give or take) small muffins]



Baking Time: 25 minutes
Effort: Minimal
Difficulty: Easy

  • 300g butter (or margarine)
  • 150g sugar
  • 400g wheat flour
  • 50g chocolate powder 
  • 1 package of vanilla sugar
  • 4 tea spoons (level) of baking powder
  • 4 eggs (large)
  • 16 table spoons of milk (low-fat)
  • 500-600g of canned black stoneless cherries – (NO Juice!)
  • 100g of grated chocolate (Lindt!)
  • Muffin forms (I recommend reusable ones)
  • Muffin baking tray

Top/Bottom Heat:    180°C (preheat!)
Hot Air:                    160°C (preheat!)
Gas:                         Level 2-3 (preheat!)


To prepare the dough mix butter (or margarine), sugar and vanilla sugar (I find this very difficult to get in Ireland but the dough turns out fine if you don’t add it or use fresh vanilla instead) together until you get a smooth mixture. I don’t use an electric whisk for this – I use a wooden spoon – however if you're feeling lazy feel free to use an electric whisk. Once butter (or margarine) and sugar mix is smooth, add the eggs. One after the other, don’t forget the stirring. Mix the flour, baking powder and chocolate powder (be generous with that but not too generous) in a separate bowl and slowly add it to your dough mix to create a smooth an even mix. Add the milk. Continue to stir. Add grated chocolate. Mix well then prepare muffin forms. Add generous spoonful of muffin dough into the muffin forms, add 2/3/4 cherries (you decide) and another scoop of dough. Place the muffin forms in the muffin tray and off they go into the oven. Enjoy the delicious smell while impatiently waiting for the muffins to finish baking.

Important:
Before taking the muffins out, check that they are done. Simply stick the wooden end of a match into the dough. When nothing sticks to the match the muffin is done.


Tips / Serving Suggestions:
  • If you’re lactose intolerant, soy margarine and lactose free milk make for a perfect substitute. Still tastes amazing.
  • Don’t make the muffins too sweet. I've taken that into considerations with the amount of sugar I quoted but feel free to reduce by a spoonful depending on how you plan to serve the muffins. Rather than making the muffins too sweet, serve them with some powdered sugar sprinkled on top or decorate with icing sugar. Don’t go over the top with the icing sugar though.
  • Serve hot with vanilla ice-cream, a spot of chocolate sauce and two or three fresh strawberries on the side.
  • Instead of cherries, try blueberries or raspberries. Strawberries also work.
  • The freshly grated chocolate adds a lovely chocolaty flavour which in my opinion is vital when it comes to chocolate muffins.
  • When choosing chocolate powder, go for the one that makes your hot chocolate taste amazing, you’ll taste it in the muffins. I use Galaxy Hot Chocolate powder and it goes down a treat when I serve the finished muffins. Using the cheapest chocolate powder won’t taste as good, trust me.
  • If you don’t like Lindt, use another brand of chocolate but (and yes I'm biased!) stay away from Cadburys.
  • You can use the above recipe to make a gigantic muffin / muffin cake but it’ll take about 1 ½ hours to bake.
  • If you have any questions / suggestions, just comment.