I went on a baking bender the other day; it was wonderful. I set up in the kitchen and just whipped up everything I had been dreaming about for – oh – the six-almost-seven-months that we weren’t in our own place. The inspirations came from all over; a few old recipes I’d wanted to tweak, some new ones I’d been wanting to try, photos of things I hypothetically wanted to eat. I wasn’t limited by time. I didn’t have anywhere to go, nothing else to do. The list of things to do to get settled had been checked off so all that was left was to just bake + cook my little heart out. There was something in this binge of working with my hands, this day-long poof of flour on the main level of the house, that really made this house ours. Maybe it was the smells, but maybe it was just the fact that I could finally just relax and be myself in this room where we spend so much time.
When the flour settled (all over the cabinets, stove, and my stacks of cookbooks. Don’t worry – I’ll clean it up) that big bag of early strawberries, and the armload of rhubarb that we couldn’t polish off this week had become jam (stay tuned for that). We had loaves of quick bread for breakfasts + bike rides some cookies, new granola, pie crusts for later, even more ideas + recipes to try on the next bender, and these chocolate muffins.
I’d seen a photograph of these on this beautiful blog some time ago and there was something just sinful and naughty and delicious about them, so I gave them a whirl. Even though I’m not usually a chocolate-for-breakfast-or-even-snack person, they were worth it. It is highly possible that one was gobbled up right as they came out of the oven and the chocolate on top was gooey + smudgy, but they were just as good today when I enjoyed one slathered with almond butter at mile 60 of a big bike ride yesterday. When someone asked me what on earth I was doing eating a cupcake in the middle of a bike ride, I promptly responded, “oh no, these are chocolate rye MUFFINS, not cupcakes.” And that’s completely true.
Though they may look sinful these are packed with serious good stuff; there’s a whole lotta good whole grains in there (spelt + rye,) and the rich, sour tang of the rye is such a delicious combination with the dark chocolate. Maple syrup and ripe banana naturally sweeten up the situation, and the muffins are dairy-free but I bet that you could make them entirely vegan by swapping out the eggs for flax (1 Tbsp ground flax + 2 Tbsp water for each egg.) Lastly, they rise nicely so they’re not as dense as you’d imagine, but just as belly-filling.
So, a couple of notes. I loved using hazelnut oil here but it can be tricky to come by and a little bit spendy; olive oil will do beautifully. If you don’t have rye flour, I highly recommend picking some up because the flavor really made these muffins great. Rye flour is also fantastic in pizza doughs, breads, and this, my favorite pastry for pies. Now, as for the mixing – and this is important: This is a super-straightforward recipe…one that will turn out best if its NOT mixed in a stand mixer. Instead, I suggest measuring out all of your ingredients (we call this mise en place) then folding together the dry + wet ingredients to make the batter. This technique not only prevents the over mixing of the batter, but ensures that there aren’t any dry patches or bits of dry ingredients that don’t get incorporated, AND prevents the muffins from having a hockey-puck-like texture.
Not sure what I mean by folding? Swing by on Thursday when I’ll have a little Kitchen 101 video on “How to Fold Batter Like a Boss.”
More soon! – xo L
- adapted from Green Kitchen Stories
- 1 cup whole rye flour
- 1 cup spelt flour or whole wheat flour
- 6 Tbsp cacao powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt, divided in half
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup coconut milkd
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup ripe banana, mashed completely with no chunks
- 2/3 cup hazelnut oil (or cold-pressed olive oil)
- 100 g 60-70% dark chocolate, chopped
- **Note: I suggest portioning out the batter into the muffin cups with an ice cream scoop...to ensure that all the muffins have the same amount of batter and so that they bake evenly! Also, folding this batter (instead of mixing it vigorously) will result in a nice light, but still decadent muffin.**
- Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, saving half of the sea salt for sprinking on top to finish. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until nicely beaten - about a minute. Then add in the coconut milk, maple syrup, banana and oil, whisking constantly until well incorporated.
- Next, you'll fold the dry ingredients into the wet in three stages. Add a little bit of the dry ingredients, then gently slice through the batter with the spatula to the bottom of the bowl, coming up the sides and then almost "laying" the batter on top of itself. (Combining the ingredients in this way makes sure that the texture of the muffins is nice and light, rather than dense.) Think of your hand holding the spatula like an oar rowing a boat; its a lot like that! Fold the batter until the dry ingredients are mostly incorporated, then repeat in two more stages. The finished batter shouldn't have lumps or dry patches, and should be nice and smooth and light.
- Lastly, gently fold in half of the dark chocolate to the batter then - using a portioner or ice cream scoop - transfer the batter to the prepared pan, putting roughly one scoop of batter in each muffin cup. Divvy up any remaining batter, then top with the remaining chocolate.
- Bake the muffins for about 18 minutes, then pull from the oven and immediately sprinkle the top of each muffin with the remaining sea salt and eat immediately, while still warm. The muffins will keep in an airtight container for up to one week, refrigerated.