Historically I haven’t been a fan of Valentines Day. I’ve been on the side of the whole “Valentines is a Hallmark creation made to horrify the single people of the world,” but naturally things change, and this year I was quite looking forward to it. That being said, AW does not like Valentines Day, so I figured my culinary creation needed to be something slightly Valentines-y without being over the top. I saw these muffins on We Are Not Martha (awesome local Boston blog!) recently, and they just looked so delicious. When I dug a little deeper, I realized that the muffins were actually adapted from a recipe used at the Bourke Street Bakery (in my beloved Sydney, Australia), and I was completely sold. The original recipe used lots of butter (nearly 3 sticks!) and buttermilk, while the recipe I found used less butter, and water instead, to cut calories but hopefully still maintain some flavor. I printed out both recipes, but couldn’t bring myself to use nearly a pound of butter in one batch of muffins, so I adapted the recipe a bit to make it my own.
The results were wonderful — if you eat a muffin right after they come out, they’re light and fluffy. The raspberries are tart, the flesh of the muffin is creamy and light, and the chocolate is dense and sweet, but creamy because it’s still slightly liquid. Altogether the flavor and texture combo is stellar. But what I found was if you give them a couple of hours to cool and set up, they are perhaps even better. I suppose it all depends on your preference, but the “set” muffins are an entirely different dish — they are dense and seem to have many more elements of flavor. The berries become little pockets of soft, gooey flavor, and the chocolate become like little nuggets of gold. They are truly magnificent.
So here’s the recipe, and I’m presenting it proudly, because this time I’ve made it my own! I love baking because it is a science with measurable results, but lately I’ve been having so much fun making my own additions, subtractions and alterations — the end result is something you can claim, something that no one else has ever created, and that’s so exciting!
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Muffins
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar (granulated or super-fine)
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter (14 tablespoons)
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt (you can use plain yogurt as well, and add vanilla extract if you’d like!)
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
3.5 oz. dark chocolate, roughly chopped
5 oz. raspberries (fresh or frozen — frozen work really well!)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Brown or demerara sugar for topping
1.) Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
2.) Melt butter and remove from heat. Stir in yogurt and milk. Then add the eggs, stirring well afterwards.
3.) Pour the wet ingredients into the well in dry ingredients and stir to combine. Don’t worry if there are lumps.
4.) Fold the chocolate and raspberries into the batter. Pour into prepared muffins tins, and fill to the top.
5.) Bake for 35-40 minutes (baking time varies depending on what size muffins you make). Cool on a wire rack.
These muffins are such a yummy treat, even though they’re “missing” some of that additional butter. I think they’d be fantastic with buttermilk as well, though I didn’t have any around this time. But anyway you make ‘em, I think you’ll be pleased. You could switch it up and add blueberries for a change, or strawberries or maybe a mix of all 3! I imagine a crumb topping would also be a nice addition.
I made cookies tonight too — for a focus group I’m running tomorrow, but really I just needed to find some excuse to validate making a second batch of baked goodies in two days. I haven’t photographed them yet, but will tomorrow, and I’ll post those very soon! Stay tuned, and until then…
With love, and sugar. Enjoy!