Monday, January 31, 2011

Double Chocolate Muffins

Have you noticed that Robb's back in the cool kids' section, over there -->?  Welcome back, Robb--so happy to see you.

And, if you read my blog via email or facebook and haven't been to my blog lately, come on over--it's all lovey and heart-y, dolled up for V-tines Day.  Very festive.  You can find me at http://bluefield5.blogspot.com/
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I really don't know what got in to me today.  I do not like chocolate muffins, not at all.  But for some reason, the idea that I needed to make double chocolate muffins for my MOPS meeting tomorrow would not leave me alone.  I was surprised and pleased to find a recipe for chocolate nut muffins in one of my cookbooks, and so this morning, with the help of my junior chefs, I made chocolate muffins.  Here's the recipe (from one of those fundraising cookbooks):

1 c. flour
1.75 c. sugar
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 sticks butter
4 eggs
1 c. chopped nuts
1 tsp vanilla

Combine flour and sugar; set aside.  Melt chocolate with butter, then add to dry mixture.  Stir in eggs, nuts and vanilla.  Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full.  Bake at 300 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

The recipe made 18.  I left out the nuts and substituted chocolate chips, partly because I think lots of people don't like nuts in their muffins, but mostly because I'm down to my last cup or so of walnuts and I didn't want to share (I see a walnut run to Fleet Farm in my near future).  I also substituted margarine for the butter because I didn't have any butter, and generally I like the taste of margarine in baked goods better than butter (I know, sacrilege).  And I used 2 oz of chocolate, because that's all I had*, plus 6 T baking cocoa and 2 T shortening.  I was a little concerned about the lack of leavening, but they turned out OK.

I started out by saying that I don't like chocolate muffins, and that is true.  The chocolate muffins that I've had in the past are too big and too, I don't know, not really slimy, but you know how sometimes store-bought muffins are too moist and a bit tasteless?...These muffins surprised me--I actually liked them!  They were not too sweet, and the tops were just a little bit crunchy/chewy, if those two adjectives even make sense together.


* So today I had an interesting question--how can you tell if unsweetened chocolate is still OK to use?  I mean, I'm not going to taste it, because it tastes awful, and it looked OK.  Just out of curiosity, I checked my box for some kind of "use by" date.  I guess the fact that I couldn't find one should have been my first clue.  There happened to be some coupons printed on the inside of the box, and I decided to check the expiration dates on those--12/31/00.  Yes, that's right: those coupons expired 10 years ago.  It is entirely possible that I bought this chocolate when we were living in Minnesota, brought it with us to West Virginia where it lived in our cupboard for 6 years, and then packed it up and moved it back with us to Wisconsin 5 years ago.  Now that I think of it, though, I believe this is the chocolate we bought in October of 1999 when we were attending a wedding in...was it Kalamazoo, Hubby?  I wonder what Matt & Tina would think if we were to tell them we just used up the last of their chocolate?  I'm thinking I might just buy some more and send it to them :-)


Speaking of buying unsweetened baking chocolate, did you know you can buy that stuff on Amazon.com?  You can get practically anything on Amazon.  Of course, if it took me almost 12 years to use 8 ounces, I really don't know what I'd do with 2 pounds of the stuff.

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