The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Dark chocolate cocoa muffins

Dark chocolate cocoa muffinsI am a chocoholic, so I was thrilled when I realized you can substitute cocoa for flour in baked goods and end up with the same fluffiness and texture as in the original, but with double the chocolate content.  My first trial was a chocolate crust for our butternut pie, then I created this dark chocolate cocoa muffin recipe based on our favorite chocolate cake recipe

Mark and I agree that this is every bit as good as the world class chocolate muffins we enjoyed on our cruise a year ago, and the muffins are unbelievably easy to throw together.  If you currently fulfill your chocolate cravings with cake mix or pre-made cakes from the grocery store, you can save a bundle (and delete some of the bad ingredients) by using this recipe instead.

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. plus 1/4 c. white flour
  • 2/3 c. cocoa
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk powder, dissolved in water to yield 1/2 c. of dense milk
  • 1/4 c. peanut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c. boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease two medium cookie tins --- this recipe will make 12 muffins.
Chocolate muffin batter
Stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.  If you're adventurous, feel free to increase or decrease the flour and cocoa quantities until you find just the right chocolate point for you --- the sum of the two quantities should equal 1.25 cups.

Add eggs, dense milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed with the mixer for two minutes while bringing some water to a boil.
Nutritional information for dark chocolate muffins
Stir in the boiling water.  Pour batter into muffin tins and bake until done.  (I can't tell you an exact baking time because the numbers have rubbed off my oven temperature dial and I'm not certain I was baking at exactly 350.)

I've tried several times adding chocolate chips to these muffins, but try as I might, the chips drop to the bottom.  I even whirred the chips in the blender to make them smaller and still ended up with chips-on-the-bottom.  If anyone can figure out a way to make my chocolate chips stay suspended in the thin batter, I'd be forever grateful!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Did you try coating the chips with flour or cocoa before adding them to the batter? That's what you do with nuts and dried fruit, so it might help. Regardless, I had no idea that one could substitute more cocoa for some of the flour. I'm definitely going to try this; we're all chocoholics at my house! :)
Comment by Ikwig Fri Oct 15 09:17:33 2010

It could be that the specific gravity of the chips are that much higher than the batter that they can't stay in suspension. Try dropping then on top just as you put them in the oven. Does it have to be boiling water? Again thinking of specific gravity.

Comment by vester Fri Oct 15 09:44:21 2010

One trick I use for thin cakes etc that I want to have a surprise filling in is to put half the batter in, cook for 1/4 time probably about 5 min, then add filling in center and other half batter then finish baking, alternatively you could try cooking entire muffin for ~ 5-10 min then adding chips and then finish baking. See if one of those works for you.

Maybe if i get around to it I will post my choc/choc chip breadmachine recipe.

Comment by Rebecca Fri Oct 15 17:14:03 2010

Thanks so much for commenting, everybody! That gives me a lot of great avenues to explore!

I had considered baking the muffins for a few minutes then dropping in the chips, but it seemed like it would mess with the top. On the other hand, if all else fails, chips-in-the-middle would be a great surprise.

First, I think I'll try Ikwig's suggestion of dusting the chips with cocoa. I had thought that was to keep fruit from sticking together, but now I'm wondering if it is to help them stay suspended.

Vester --- I think the boiling water is important to get the full fluffiness of the muffins. I suspect it activates the baking powder and soda to give you extra rise before the heat locks the texture of the muffin into shape.

Comment by anna Fri Oct 15 20:26:44 2010

For the chips to stay in place, you need the mixture to be either thixotropic (become very viscous once you stop mixing) or more like a paste. Try adding some more flour. If that doesn't work, try adding corn starch.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sat Oct 16 06:02:10 2010
I should have added --- thicker batter isn't an option. The goal is very fluffy muffins, and the more flour you add, the denser your finished product will be...
Comment by anna Sat Oct 16 07:10:26 2010
Well meringue is thick but, creates a final texture that is fluffy. you could try whipping the egg whites into a meringue before slowly combining them with the rest of the ingredients and some extra flour, but I think if you do that you will have to not add the boiling water.
Comment by Anonymous Sat Oct 16 09:59:34 2010
I've used that theory before with pancakes and cakes, but I've always felt like when I added the flour, the meringue effect was lost --- the flour was just too dense to be held up by the beaten eggs. Of course, I could have just been doing it wrong...
Comment by anna Sat Oct 16 22:26:45 2010

Thanks for sharing your recipe!

I am always looking for new tastes and recipes for my blog, I love to bake, eat and write...specially chocolate in all kind of shapes and tastes,,. and mixed with cocoa delicious.:-)

I will try it this xmas, I think it can be a good combination with my classic gingerbred cookies recipe...:-)


Comment by Barcelona Cupcakes Thu Dec 8 19:47:43 2011
I hope you like them as much as we do! This is still one of our favorite recipes, although as we reduce the amount of outside sweets we eat, I've been recalibrating a lot of our dessert recipes. As a result, we usually put only 3/4 of a cup of sugar in these now.
Comment by anna Fri Dec 9 16:47:17 2011

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