On Monday, I had some extra time in the evening, and casually informed my mom I was planning to bake something. To my surprise, she said I couldn’t bake anything until we finished up all the stuff I’ve already baked, and complained, “you don’t even eat the things you bake.” This is not true: I do eat the things I bake, I just don’t really eat the failures. Which I’ve had a couple of lately – I made some scones the other day that were the consistency of like maybe a stale muffin, and some pumpkin pop tarts that sort of taste like squash. I don’t try to waste food, but it’s hard to get myself to eat the failed baking attempts. Lately our kitchen counter has been looking like some mad scientist’s attic: There are gallon ziplocks full of lumpy scones, containers of various donuts and muffins, etcetera. I really wanted to bake something on Monday that was actually good so I’d have something to look forward to eating for breakfast the next few mornings. So I convinced Mom to grudgingly allow me to clutter up the kitchen with one more of my creations, on condition that this be the last thing I’d bake until we used something up.
I wanted to make chocolate pumpkin muffins. First, I needed a basic chocolate muffin recipe. I looked up chocolate muffin recipes, and found one on myrecipes.com. Frantically, I copied it down on a piece of paper and proceeded to the kitchen. By the hand of fate, one full cup of flour was lost in translation, so I used 3/4 cup instead of 1 3/4 cup of flour. It looked way too wet, so I added an extra 1/4 cup, but still it was much less flour than the recipe called for. You’d think I’d consider it another baking failure, but it was actually an accidental success! The muffins are moist and extremely chocolatey. My mom says they remind her of a flourless chocolate cake she had once at Monsoon: the ratio of chocolate to muffin is high, a good thing if you’re a chocovore like everyone in my immediate family. The recipe only called for 1/2 cup of sugar, which is all I used, so they aren’t very sweet and sugary. Personally, I recommend adjusting the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup, which is how much I’ve been using in my other successful muffin recipes. My mom vehemently opposes the idea of adding more sugar, so I guess if you like less sweet things do it with 1/2 cup, if you like your chocolate muffins on the sweeter side use 3/4 cup of sugar. I will definitely be making this recipe again (with more sugar – sorry mom), as it is amazing both by itself and in a smoothie!
Chocolatey Pumpkin Spice Muffins
makes 12 muffins
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
for pumpkin filling:
- 1/2 cup Libby’s brand pure pumpkin
- a pinch of sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. (Or you could try using paper baking cups; we’re all out at the moment so I didn’t.)
The pumpkin filling is made by simply combining the pure pumpkin, a couple shakes of cinnamon and one of nutmeg, a pinch or two of sugar, and the teaspoon of vanilla. Just mix it all up and set it aside.
Now to make the muffins: in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the warm water, vinegar, vanilla and egg. Add 1 shake of the nutmeg, and one shake of cinnamon. Stir well but don’t overmix. (My muffin paranoia is overmixing, after I did that once and the muffins were disastrously hard.)
Spoon batter into muffin tin, filling each muffin cup about 1/3 full. Add a couple teaspoons of the pumpkin filling to each muffin (You may have a bit of the filling left over at the end) and cover it up with more batter.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
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