Whole Wheat Chocolate Muffins
Posted by hsimpsongrossman on August 31, 2014
The noisy silence which struck me the moment I set foot in Sdei Avraham, a Moshav (cooperative agricultural community), barely six kilometers from our border with Gaza, stayed with me for days on end.
It wasn’t until our bus stopped at an extra-long red light that I was fully convinced my ears weren’t playing tricks on me – the booms I hoped I was imagining were indeed military explosions (and not from the bus’s exhaust). The road signs baring names of places I had never set foot in, yet became so familiar with “thanks” to the countless radio announcements of “red alert” (imminent missile attacks) , provided further reassurance regarding our proximity to the war zone.
In complete contrast to those ear shuttering booms was the graveyard quiet within the Moshav. Not a child in view, and we’re talking about mid-July, a time of year when kids are off school filling every park, street and mall. Except for two paramedics, the guy we were working with and the group of volunteers I came with, I didn’t see a living sole that whole day (not counting the lonely horse in the neighboring stable).
Having worked in a greenhouse trimming myrtle shrubs for a very long day (the permanent workers had been scared away by daily rocket attacks), interrupted by “only” 6 red alerts (hey, we we’re there on a cease fire day, after all), all I could think of on the way back were our kids. I needed to see, touch and sniff them urgently. And that’s exactly what I did during most of the following day.
The next day was Thursday, yet rather than going on my weekly Shabbat preparation rampage, I did the unthinkable and vegged on the sofa with the kids. His Royal Highness, sensing a moment of emotional weakness, suggested: “Ima, let’s bake chocolate muffins”! and despite my acute paranoia of spatters on the stove, counter and/or floor, especially on a Thursday, I took a deep breath and said “OK”!
While carefully placing muffin liners in the tin, breaking chocolate bars (sneaking quite a few pieces thinking I wasn’t paying attention), stirring melting chocolate in the pot (I honestly didn’t notice the chocolate spatters on my sparkling stove and clean floor until much later that day) and licking the bowl, spoon and beater, he was singing to himself:
“If you’re happy and you know it h-u-u-u-u-g Ima,
If you’re happy and you know it e-a-t chocolate,
If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it
If you’re happy and you know it h-u-u-u-u-g Ima.”
I had an object permanence issue when I took my first bite. I’m used to this flavor coming in the shape of a slice of cake, coupled with a perfect cup of coffee, freshly brewed by my uncle, in my aunt and uncle’s kitchen. These muffins, you see, are an incarnation of my aunt Tami’s comforting whole wheat chocolate cake (a slightly healthier version originating from my aunt’s mother), without which a visit with them is not complete. The rationale behind making my aunt’s cake in muffin form was two fold: both to provide a solution to the well known phenomena of cakes, left unattended, tempting innocent passersby to cut “just one more sliver”, and to make it extra appealing for the kids while camouflaging the whole wheat flour.
I’ll never know whether these muffins where such a hit due to my marketing trick or simply because they’re scrumptious, moist and tenderly sweet no matter what you call them. My sue-chef ate his first muffin all up, paper included and Better Half complemented the muffins for their rich and smooth texture, “despite the whole wheat” within…And just in case you were wondering, I overcame my mental barrier by the end of my first muffin.
A quick note before I hand the recipe over – make sure not to over bake these muffins. Take them out when a tester inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs, not entirely clean and dry.
Whole Wheat Chocolate Muffins on the spot: Melt chocolate All with sugar, water, oil, vanilla, cacao and instant coffee powder. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt. Beat egg whites and fold in. Bake. Voilà!
My Aunt Tami’s Whole Wheat Chocolate Muffins/Cake
Ingredients, for 24 small muffins/a 10 inch baking tin/two 11*3 inch loaf tins:
3.5 Oz (100 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, broken up into small pieces
Scant 1 cup (200 ml) canola oil (my aunt says it should be about 7/8 of a cup)
1 cup (7 oz, 200 grams) white sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 scant tablespoon instant coffee powder
1 ¾ cups (8 oz, 225 grams) whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 scant tablespoons dutch-processed cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/3 cup (75 ml) water 1
teaspoon pure vanilla essence
A pinch of salt
Line 24 muffin cups with muffin tin liners (or baking tin/s with parchment paper).
Put the chocolate, sugar, water, oil, vanilla, cacao powder, instant coffee powder, in a medium pot.
Cook on a low flame just until the chocolate has melted and the ingredients are nicely incorporated. No need for a bain-marie, as the mixture includes liquids. Let cool a bit.
While the chocolate mixture is cooling down you can do three things:
Turn the oven on to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius);
Separate the eggs; and
Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.
Mix the flour mixture into the chocolate in the pot, just until incorporated.
Add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing between each addition.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Immediately fold beaten egg whites gently into the mixture so their volume is not lost.
Transfer batter to lined tin/s. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake/muffin comes out with tiny crumbs but no moist batter, for about 35 minutes for a 10 inch tin, 20-25 minutes if baking in loaf tins or 12-15 minutes for muffins.
It’s most important not to overbake these, as once over baked the magic is gone and they turn into a pumpkin just another average chocolate cake.
Filed under Muffins and Loafs