Ok. So there’s a very fine line between a muffin and a cupcake. And that line is the following:
Cupcakes are frosted.
No matter what goes into it, I’m pretty sure you can label it a muffin as long as you don’t frost it. And muffins sound healthier than cupcakes so you can eat them for breakfast.
See what I did there?
Other reasons why you should eat this “muffin” for breakfast rather than dessert? 1) It has flax seed meal in it. Lots of fiber! 2) It has coffee in it for a little pick-me-up.
So I think we can all agree that these are a breakfast food and not a dessert. Right?
Yield: 12-14 muffins
1 Cup milk
1/2 Cup ground coffee
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 Cups flour
1/4 Cup Flax meal (optional, but up flour to 2 cups if you omit this)
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Cup bittersweet chocolate, melted with a few tablespoons of milk
1) Grind coffee finely and add to milk which should be steaming hot. Let steep for 15 minutes. Strain milk through a coffee filter.
2) To milk, add other liquid ingredients (oil, eggs, vanilla) and stir well to combine.
3) Combine all dry ingredients.
4) Melt chocolate with a few tablespoons of milk.
5) Add wet ingredients to dry and then fold in melted chocolate.
6) Butter muffin tins well so they don't stick and pour in batter so each tin is 3/4 full.
7) Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.
8) Let cool for a few minutes before eating.
Adapted from an old Bon Appétit recipe.
The Coffee Business
There’s a lot of mocha or coffee recipes out there and most of them use instant espresso for the coffee flavor. I’m not a huge instant coffee fan, so I decided to try something different to get a lot of coffee flavor going. First, I ground up about 1/2 Cup of really strong coffee.
Then I added this to a little over one cup of milk which I heated in the microwave until it was steaming. I let the coffee steep in the milk for 15 minutes and stirred it a few times to really let the coffee flavor get in there.
Of course, the down-side of this approach is getting the coffee grinds out of the milk. There’s no fast way to do it. The only way to do it is to set up a colander with a coffee filter in it and slowly pour the milk mixture through it. Eventually all the milk will drain through and you’ll be left with some awesome coffee milk!
Once the milk is drained, mix in the other liquid ingredients (eggs, oil, vanilla).
Finishing the Batter
For a baked good, there’s a good mix of dry ingredients in this recipe. You could simplify it I guess by leaving out the flax and only using one kind of sugar, but I think this recipe will leave you with a great texture and flavor.
Besides cocoa powder, it’s always a good idea to melt some chocolate and add it right into the batter. You could actually just throw in some chocolate chips if you wanted more whole pieces of chocolate in the muffins.
I went with the melted version though so the chocolate flavor was evenly incorporated. You can either melt the chocolate in a metal bowl over some boiling water or in a microwave safe dish in the microwave. Either way, I’ve found that chocolate melts easier if you add a few tablespoons of milk to it.
When you’re ready to finish the batter, stir all the wet ingredients into the dry stuff and then gently fold in the melted chocolate.
I’ll be completely honest. I tasted this as-is and it tasted like cake batter.
But it’s a muffin! I promise!
The thing I noticed about these muffins (after two attempts) was that they are pretty sticky. So make sure you lube up your muffin tins really well with butter (or a nonstick spray I guess).
I rubbed butter all over mine (even the top surfaces) to make sure they wouldn’t stick at all.
Cooking the Muffins
Bake these beauties for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees. They should puff up and be lightly browned around the edges. Let them cool for a few minutes before trying to take them out of the pans.
These are best served right away while they are still slightly warm. The coffee flavor is there, but subtle. I was surprised that I was able to taste it at all given how much other stuff is going on in these guys – especially with the cocoa powder and chocolate.
I really loved the texture of these. Almost, well, cake-like…
Muffin or cupcake? Who knows.
All I know is they were delicious and a good excuse to have chocolate for breakfast.