Friday, May 28, 2010

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins - why weren't exams like this in my day!

I want to share this lovely double chocolate chip recipe with you as it was the practical element of teen daughter's home economics exam in school today. She has been perfecting it over the past two days with practice runs at home, and as she isn't keen on them herself, the results have been happily consumed by visitors and given to friends. She's not under huge pressure as these are school exams, not the State Junior Cert which she'll sit next year so this is all part of the syllabus for that nerve-wracking event, the first of the two major state exams in Ireland.

Today I took a dozen of the muffins to work for colleagues to share at the tea break - and while tempting to do so I didn't pass them off as my own, but duly credited the creator. She had to bring all the ingredients to school today, and the practical exam makes up 20% of her marks in home ec. I don't know the origin of the recipe as it's a scruffy dog-eared photocopy, with no identifying title. They are very light and airy, often unusual in muffins which can be very stodgy and heavy, and they are very more-ish.

I was very lucky to get real American chocolate chips some weeks ago from a lovely patient who gets them from a friend in the States. The real thing - here all you can get are small packets that barely do a single batch of cookies or muffins. So that was a lovely gift to get, and they are dark plain chocolate looking like Hershey's Kisses - I used to get those in Bangladesh back in the late '70s when we went to movie nights at the American Center - a place I first tasted Pringles so there are a lot of firsts associated with my time in Dhaka (not least that it's where I first met hubby Jan!)

Enough reminiscing. I am still embedded with strawberries and jam making every evening - as there are about two pounds of the fruit being picked every evening, which ripen fully over the next 24 hours, I have to keep the ball rolling and there are way too many to eat or use for desserts I am making jam - this will be used on cakes and Ice cream and rice pud over the coming months as well as just plain old jam on bread! I have started the great give-away too which benefits friends and neighbours who enjoy my strawberry glut as much as I do.

Double Chocolatete Chip Muffins

Handy Tip: This quantity makes a dozen standard size muffins - use muffin cases rather than cupcake/fairy cake cases as they are slightly bigger, although the latter will do fine if you prefer smaller muffins.

Ingredients
  1. 9oz/255g self-raising flour (or plain flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder)
  2. half-teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (bread soda)
  3. half-teaspoon salt
  4. 4-6oz/110-170g white sugar
  5. 3-5 tablespoons/45-75g unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. 3oz/85g dark chocolate chips
  7. 1 egg
  8. 250ml milk
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (or use vanilla sugar*)
  10. 3oz/85g soft/melted butter
Optional - more choc chips, chopped nuts or dessicated coconut for topping

Method
  1. Preheat oven 190-200 deg. Centigrade/375-400 deg. Fahrenheit
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, soda bicarb, baking powder (if using plain flour)
  3. Add sugar
  4. Add chocolate chips
  5. Beat egg, add milk and melted butter
  6. Add vanilla essence if not using vanilla sugar
  7. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir to combine with wooden spoon
  8. Batter should be lumpy
  9. Fill muffin cases three-quarters full
  10. Sprinkle top with chosen topping
  11. Bake for 20-25 mins until tops spring back when gently pressed
When baked, cool on wire rack

Variations on a theme

  • Cherry Chocolate - add 3-4 oz/85-110g chopped glacé cherries (yummy!) to mix
  • Hazlenut/Walnut/Brazil/Macadamia/Pecan Chocolate - add 2oz/60g chopped nuts to dry mix
  • Mocha Chocolate - add 250ml strong black coffee - cooled - instead of milk
  • Orange Chocolate - add 1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind to wet ingredients
Iced/Frosted Muffins - Mix the following for the icing/frosting
  1. 1 tablespoon (15ml) of each of the following
  2. Hot melted butter
  3. Unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. Hot water
  5. 4oz/110g icing sugar
  6. half-teaspoon vanilla essence
This icing thickens as it cools - thin with more water if needed before coating muffins

Enjoy the muffins with the essential cuppa tea and a relaxing book or favourite telly programme - I'm thinking Desperate Housewives, Gray's Anatomy, Supernanny (so you can feel smug that your kids were never that bad!) or Wife Swap (for exactly the same reasons as Supernanny, adding/substituting hubby/partner for kids!). Now you know what my late night viewing consists of, it seems that standards decline in inverse proportion to the lateness of the hour. My guilty secret, I can justify it if I'm knitting at the same time - how can it possibly be time-wasting then. And we all need down-time, so I won't make any apologies for my relaxation strategies!

The photos are a selection of the finished muffins - a little goes a long way as the chocolate is so rich. The ingredients are also pictured.

9 comments:

Jo said...

Oh yum Catherine. These look scrumtious and so moist. What a neat exam! Is your daughter following a career in the food/chef business?

Winifred said...

Thanks for the recipe, they look good. Your daughter should do well if these photos are anything to go by.

I can't get into Lily's blog to post my book review. Is it my computer or is there a problem with her blog?

Kvarteret Grannsämjan said...

Catherine, my mouth is watering! I will try this recipe soon. In the meantime I have to make bread before Monday for my young English pupils. It will be Little Red Hen and Witch's Recipe! Love and thanks for your help with blogging. Theresa

Nora said...

They look too evil to eat. I'm sure there are a 1,000 calories in just one of them. And then that icing. My God, to die for. I'm sure a cupcake would make a whole meal. I love Hershey's Kisses. They are the best things to put in cupcakes and cookies. You do have me drooling.

laurie said...

I had no idea chocolate chips were hard to get in Ireland. when the weather cools off, i can send you a couple of packs.

Rudee said...

Mmmm. They look delicious!

Kez said...

Oooh they look decadent!

Thanks for dropping by my blog last week!

Catherine said...

Hi blogger friends - I thought I'd responded to this post comments but something went funny and it didn't show up. Here goes again!

JO - the muffins are delicious - no she is not thinking of a career in this line, just that she likes the baking for home economics exam. Thanks for dropping by! I will be more diligent in visiting your blog!

WINIFRED - the photos make the recipe easier to follow I find. No Lily's blog was down, not sure if it still is - I have posted my review but will update the date so it appears as a new post for this weekend.

THERESA - welcome to my blog comment roll! Good to see you in the blogosphere too, are your English students staying with you like are you like a Bean-a-Tí? Must be fun. Hope you blog about your life in Sweden - sounds like you have a nice life there.

NORA - nice to see you back - I have been reading you but not commenting - will do soon. You could have a little muffin - they are very filling! Not sure how many calories - I refust to do calorie counting!

LAURIE - thanks for your kind offer to send me chocolate chips! That would be lovely but could be costly postage - there are choc chips here but they are so poor quality compared to these ones that I've been spoiled!

RUDEE - Thanks for visiting - they are delicious buns /muffins. Hope you try them out sometime!

KEZ - Thanks for the comment - I must make more visits to my blog friends from Down Under in future! Hope the homeschooling continues as much fun as you make it! I did it for 5 years in Africa - special years and well worth it!

All the best to everyone - Catherine.

Polly said...

A GREAT RECIPE - I made these once last week and I am just about to do them again now. They are so gorgeous. Thanks