Sigh. I’ve been delaying writing about these muffins because it’s almost unfair to write about them without having these at your side with a tall, cold glass of milk – it kind of makes me wistful and hungry. Do I have your attention yet?
I don’t know how you like your chocolate, (and yes, I’m assuming that you actually like chocolate, because the alternative would just be crazy,) but I like mine dark, rich, with just a touch of bitter (and yes, we are still talking about chocolate). Well, if you are looking for a muffin to make that’s more like a cake and less like a muffin that packs an intense chocolate flavor with a surprising bite of cherries – this is for you. Because – and don’t say I didn’t warn you – this is one serious chocolate muffin.
And while this is a recipe that takes minutes to pull together, we ran into some technical difficulties when my friend and I discovered that our brown sugar turned into brown sugar rock and her husband had to come to the rescue and hammer the block into pieces then proceeding to pulverize it in the food processor. We are nothing if not dedicated.
The dried cherries, I think, work better than fresh ones because they offer a slightly more concentrated tartness, but if you want to go the fresh route, those should work well also.
And while the batter was baking in the oven, we decorated my friends’ Christmas tree, which smelled so amazing, I want one now. The reward for our hard work (because bedazzling a tree with ornaments is serious manual labor) was these muffins and I treated myself to a glass of milk. If only all hard work had such decadent pay-off.
Chocolate Cherry Muffins
Gourmet, January 2005
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not extra-bitter), coarsely chopped
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried sour cherries (4 ounces)
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
Heat butter and half of chocolate in milk in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until just melted. Remove from heat. Cool 15 minutes. Add eggs and whisk until smooth.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl until combined well. Add chocolate mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in remaining chocolate and cherries.
Divide among 12 greased (1/2-cup) muffin cups. Bake until a tester comes out clean, 14 to 18 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 to 10 minutes.
Yield: Makes 12 muffins — note, we got 8 muffins out of this – maybe our muffin pan was larger than usual?