Sunday, July 22, 2012
chocolate custard muffins.
This muffin is not made with your average muffin method. I'm not referring to the creaming method traditionally reserved for cakes, and it's not even the easy stir-with-a-wooden-spoon route. This recipe requires you to make a thick cocoa slurry, or you could call it a pudding, before adding in the rest of the liquid and dry ingredients. I guess it's almost like adding instant pudding into your cake mix.
I've never really given chocolate cake recipes that call for instant pudding a second thought even though many rave about how awesome the cakes turn out. It felt like cheating, and I didn't want to rely on store-bought shortcuts. This recipe presented to me an opportunity to try out the pudding trick without having to buy that box of instant stuff. So I thought why not just give it a shot and see what all the fuss is about?
I now understand the cult following instant pudding has generated. The muffins were soft and spongey with a crackly crunchy top. They also had a deep chocolate flavour that did not disappoint. But I wouldn't call these muffins. They are way too light to be called muffins, and crumbly too. The moment I stuck my fork into my muffin, chunks of it broke off. While it is not a really pertinent problem, it makes for some messy eating which a muffin shouldn't be encumbered with. Muffins need to have enough structure so that you can eat them sans cutlery, befitting of the homey image muffins seem to represent. These would make great cakes- the title "muffins" is treading the line a little too precariously. But then again, because I ate one while it was still warm, the muffin would naturally be at its softest. The second day, the muffins were sturdier although still quite crumbly.
I love the slight gumminess of the muffins that seem to concentrate more at the bottom or the "stump" of the muffin. No doubt thanks to the pudding! If you're looking for a muffin with a really crunchy top, then this would fall short. These have more of a thin crunchy crust that shatters with the slightest pressure.
The only change I made was to replace half the oil with water and the muffins were still plenty moist. I detected a bit of sourness in the muffins which could probably be due to using too much baking powder. It's not life-threatening, but you can reduce the amount to 2 tsp if you wish.
P.S. Don't you love how the sprinkles stand out against the dark chocolaty backdrop?
Chocolate Custard Muffins
makes 12 muffins
adapted from The Galley Gourmet
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp dutch-processed cocoa
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup water
4 1/4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
5 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
1/3 cup oil (I swapped out half with water)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.
In a medium saucepan, whisk the cornstarch, cocoa powder, light brown sugar and water together. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, until the mixture becomes very thick and smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in the chopped chocolate, butter and espresso powder until melted and combined. Whisk in the oil, vanilla extract and an egg until combined. Add the remaining egg and whisk until smooth and thick. Add the flour mixture and mix just to combine.
Divide the batter amongst the muffin cups and bake for about 18 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.