Monday, May 29, 2006

Muffin Can Beat This

I think I've adjusted pretty well to doing without a cup of coffee at home in the mornings. (I do have the remains of a jar of instant coffee, but let's face it, it's just not the same.)

Granted, a couple of times I've left home early in order to take the scenic route to work, walking to My Favorite Coffee House for a mocha before heading in to the office. It's not as wonderful as home-brewed coffee laced with fragrant cardamom, but it's a satisfying occasional treat all the same.

So perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise when I say that of all the muffin recipes I eyed in Vegan With a Vengeance, the mocha chip muffins ended up at the top of my list for recipes to try. After all, I do have a weakness for my own cappuccino brownies, and surely muffins would be slightly less sweet and decadent, right?

Weeellll.........

I had good intentions, honest. I used local whole wheat flour. I used Sucanat instead of more refined sugar. I refrained from using my luxuriously rich black cocoa. I used organic, unsweetened soy milk, and though I didn't have soy yogurt, the organic yogurt I had on hand was non-fat. And the chocolate chips? Grain-sweetened, thank you very much.

But the espresso powder? Well, I doubled that. I tipped in some fragrant cinnamon... and then a little more. And once I'd filled the muffin tins, I couldn't help but make a streusel topping with melted butter, more cinnamon, cane juice crystals, and chopped pecans.

So while this was intended as a somewhat more healthy recipe, I managed to turn it into dangerously tempting almost-vegan almost-brownie bliss.


And for breakfast on a holiday weekend, you just can't beat that.

Mocha Magic Muffins

This is very close to the Mocha Chip Muffins found in Vegan With a Vengeance, though I've tried to tweak it enough to warrant calling this version my own. Still, big thanks to Isa for a fabulous book! The trick of mixing the espresso powder with the vanilla to intensify the flavor comes from Baking by Flavor, another good book for those of you who want to explore the origins of my technique for layering flavors. (I find most of those recipes too rich for me, but the concepts are great.)

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c Sucanat (or 3/4 c brown sugar or cane juice crystals)
1/4 c sifted cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 c soy milk
1/2 c canola oil
3 T soy yogurt
1 1/2 T espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c chocolate chips

Streusel:
1/2 c chopped pecans
2 T cane juice crystals
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 T melted butter or canola oil

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease muffin tins and set aside.

In large bowl, mix together flour, sweetener, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In smaller bowl, mix together soy milk, canola oil, and yogurt. In a small dish, mix together espresso powder and vanilla, then add to remaining wet ingredients.

Add wet ingredients to dry ones and whisk until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon into muffin tins, filling each cup about 3/4 full.

Mix together streusel ingredients and sprinkle over each muffin cup. Bake muffins 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from pans.

Makes 18 muffins, so share!

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