Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Muffin Madness: Chocolate Chocolate Chip Porter Muffins

March is a month of madness; basketball, the weather... perhaps the Middle East. And because I love muffins... now Muffin Madness. Muffins are delicious and versatile. They can be sweet or savory. Completely decadent or delightfully healthy. I love making muffins, and I improvise on recipes from my favorite muffin book (500 Best Muffin Recipes by Esther Brody) frequently. Since I make a lot of muffins it is high time I create my own recipes.

Hence... Muffin Madness. March will be a month of muffin challenge. Each week I will make 2 batches of muffins, a sweet and a savory. The recipes will be of my own creation and Andy will be the official taste tester. I will share my recipes here with you, and if anyone makes a batch, I would love to hear about it!

First challenge, Chocolate Chocolate Chip Porter Muffins.

The only way to realize how many ingredients are in a recipe is to assemble them in one place.

Ever since a coworker brought porter brownies in to work, I’ve been itching to make chocolate beer muffins. I’ve made beer bread before and one batch of beer and cheese muffins, but I’ve never used a dark beer. The thought of the complex, malty beer flavor mixed with melted chocolate was too much for me to resist and I needed to make these first.

Mixed batter ready to be sampled and divided into muffin tins.

These couldn’t be just any old beer muffins, they needed to be decadent and super chocolaty. I’m a chocolate fiend, so I wanted chocolate in every part of the muffin. The dry ingredients get cocoa powder, the wet ingredients get melted bittersweet, stir in some chocolate chips to top it off and now we’re talking.

Why waste space with a dedicated double boiler? Make your own!

Some notes on the recipe: If you don’t have a double boiler it’s OK, I don’t either! Improvise with a small bowl and a sauce pan. Let the chocolate slowly melt on low heat while you mix up the dry ingredients, just keep an eye on the stove and keep stirring. I’m known for using every bowl, surface and cooling rack in the kitchen, so I was extra proud when I realized I could melt the butter with the chocolate and combine all the wet ingredients in the cooled-down chocolate bowl. It’s always better to have fewer dishes to clean. This batch makes about 14 ½ muffins, depending on how generous you are.

Official Taster Opinion:
Andy says, “These muffins have the most complex flavor profile I have ever tasted in a muffin. Muffins are usually just sugar flavor and nothing else. “

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
⅔ cup brown sugar
¼ cup milk
¼ cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs vinegar
1 cup porter beer

1 ¾ cup flour
2 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

¾ cup chocolate chips, and extra to sprinkle on top
  1. In a double boiler combine unsweetened chocolate, brown sugar and milk. Stir and slowly melt chocolate. Add butter and melt. Take off heat.
  2. While chocolate melts; in a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center.
  3. Once chocolate and butter is combined, add eggs one at a time, whisking thoroughly. Stir in vanilla, vinegar and beer. Pour chocolate mixture into flour, add chocolate chips and combine. Stir carefully and mix thoroughly.
  4. Pour into a well greased muffin tin and bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

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