I giggle every time I read that quote. It is from Kitchen Confidential, the show not the book. The show, by the way, which was sadly underrated and underviewed–if you ever watch TV on DVD I recommend checking it out. Anyway, I snorted and had to pause the DVR from laughing when I heard that line. The pastry chef is griping about having to do brunch, clearly feeling muffins are beneath him. I don’t feel muffins are beneath me–but I do agree they are cake, and let’s just all agree that cake is fabulous for breakfast, ‘kay?
It is a particularly apt quote for these muffins because not only would I never eat them for breakfast (I just don’t do chocolate first thing in the morning, much as I love it otherwise), but I mean come on. These are dessert. Yet they don’t seem like cupcakes really–no frosting. Nor babycakes-not fancy enough. So we’ll call these muffins and try to convince ourselves they are not that bad for us.
2 3/4 cups (347 g) AP flour (I subbed in 75 g of white whole wheat flour_
7 T Dutch cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
1 3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 t fine sea salt
2 cups semi or bitter sweet chocolate chips
13 T unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 t vanilla
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 1/4 oz bittersweet (at least 70%) chocolate, finely chopped and melted in microwave (50% power, 30 second intervals) (I used Scharffenberger)
1 cup whole milk (I used 1% plus some cream–I don’t keep whole milk)
coarse sea salt and coarse sugar for sprinkling onto the muffins
Place the baking racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 F or 350 F convection. Line 2 12-muffin muffins pans with paper cups. Lightly spray the muffin tins with the paper cups in them–this will help the paper release nicely from the muffins. Also spray a mini loaf pan for the excess batter. Set aside.
Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk thoroughly. Remove 1 tablespoons of this mixture and toss it with the chocolate chips. Set both aside.
Cream the butter in either a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer for 3 minutes on moderate speed. Add the brown sugar and cream an additional 2 minutes, then add the granulated sugar. Beat for 1 minute more. Add the vanilla and the eggs, 1 at a time, beating for 30 seconds in between each addition. Blend in the melted chocolate. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
On the lowest speed, add the milk and flour mixture, alternating, in 3 additions of the milk and 4 additions of the flour mix, beginning and ending with the flour mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each milk addition. After the last flour addition has been blended in, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat at moderate speed for 30 seconds. Stir in the chocolate chips, finishing by folding by hand.
Using a size 20 disher, scoop the batter into the prepared muffins cups. Sprinkle a little sea salt and a greater amount of coarse sugar over each portion of scooped batter. The batter will be stiff, so it should be nicely rounded, filling about 3/4 of the muffin cups.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Place the mini loaf pan on the far side, being sure to move it to the opposite far side–the mini loaf will take longer to bake, maybe 30 minutes. Move it to the center when you remove the muffin pans. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, or only with melted chocolate on it.
Let the muffins (and the mini loaf) cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then remove each muffin and place it on a cooling rack. Let the muffins cool to just barely warm before serving. Eat the muffins within one day or freeze them, well wrapped.