Sunday, August 24, 2008

Chocolate Cinnamon Cream Cheese Muffins

My friend Natalie shared this recipe a few weeks ago, and I've been wanting to try it ever since. It combines three of my favorite things - chocolate, cream cheese and muffins! I had some time Sunday morning, so thought I would share the results with you. They turned out GREAT!

To get started, grab the following:

We've got flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, butter, eggs, buttermilk, chocolate chips, cream cheese, cinnamon, and cinnamon sugar (or you can mix up your own).

So first you'll want to soften the butter (1 stick). You don't want to use melted butter in a baking recipe unless the recipe specifically calls for it, so you just want it at room temperature. I find the easiest way to soften it quickly is to cut it in pieces and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes. Meanwhile, you want to firm up the cream cheese, so throw it in the freezer until you need it.

Now, measure out 1/2 cup sugar, and add in 2 tsp baking powder:

And 1/2 tsp salt:

And combine well:

Add the butter,

Beat until light and fluffy:

Then add 2 eggs:

And beat lightly to combine:

In a small bowl, add 2 cups flour, and stir in 1 tsp cinnamon:

Now, we need to melt the chocolate. It calls for 1 cup melted, so I started with a little more than a cup. But it melted farther down than I'd thought and I ended up getting 1 cup out of exactly 1 bag of chocolate chips... so take 1 (12 oz) bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and melt gently. I use the microwave, about 4 minutes on 30% power. You can do this in any glass container. Just be sure that you don't get any water in it! Once it begins to soften, you can usually just stir for a few moments to finsih melting it.

While you're waiting for the chocolate to melt, go ahead and grease a 12-muffin baking pan. I show two here because I wasn't sure if I would need an extra 6... but 12 worked just perfectly.

And when you're done with the chocolate, just set it to the side for the moment.

Now, because it was morning and I had not had breakfast yet, I started to get REALLY hungry. Rather than eating all that chocolate, I talked myself into this instead. And yep, that's Nana's bread from a few posts ago, here rendered as Cinnamon Toast. And MAN, does it make good toast!

When you've finished your snack, measure out half a cup of buttermilk:

And remember that cream cheese you put in the freezer? Grab it and your sharpest knife. You want to cut it in the tiniest cubes you can manage. You'll have to work quickly, and make the cubes as small as you can.

This is about the best I could do, because I forgot to throw mine in the freezer early!

When you're done with that, preheat your oven to 375. I don't do this at the beginning because I never cook that fast :-)

The trick with muffins, to keep them light and airy and prevent the dreaded Hockey Puck Effect, is to avoid overmixing. You don't want to agitate the batter any more than you have to. Use the slowest speed on your mixer, and begin combining the ingredients, alternating adding flour mixture and buttermilk to the batter.

I stopped a little shy of fully combined,

Added the chocolate,

And stir gently to combine - don't over do!

It may still look a little marbled, but that's okay.

Fill your muffin cups about 2/3 full,

And then press little cubes of cream cheese into the muffins. Now that I've made them, I recommend sort of smushing them down into the batter, since they won't move around a lot during baking. My first batch had cream cheese only in the top half, LOL!

I had a little extra cream cheese, so I used it to make some egg bites. I will share that recipe later...

Now dust your muffins with cinnamon sugar,

And bake! And while they are baking, do something, anything to distract yourself from the heavenly aromas emanating from the oven. Because waiting in there is this:

All ready for you to enjoy!

Love, Dahrlin'

Chocolate Cinnamon Cream Cheese Muffins
(adapted from 500 Best Muffin Recipes by Esther Brody, shared by my friend Natalie)

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 oz cream cheese, cut up (little cubes are good)
Cinnamon Sugar OR
2 tbsp granulated sugar plus 1/2 tsp cinnamon

-Preheat oven to 375 F
-12 (regular size) muffin tin, greased or paper-lined

1. In a large mixer bowl, beat together butter, sugar, baking powder and salt until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs.
2. In another bowl, mix together flour and cinnamon. Slowly stir into butter mixture alternately with buttermilk just until moistened and blended. Do not overmix. Fold in melted chocolate just until blended.
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cups two-thirds full. Press pieces of cream cheese into top of batter in each cup. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes.


teachermomof2 said...

Those muffins sound delicious! I will have to make them this weekend. Yum!!

Robin's Reports said...

That was such a professional looking cooking post. I thought for a second I was reading PW Cooks site. I had to double-check myself.

Secondly, I love the recipe & the star bowl. How cute!

Michelle said...

Mmmmmm that looks yummy! I could see doing a dollop of batter, cream cheese cube, dollop of batter, etc.

And yep, I was going to question your premade cinnamon and sugar until you commented on it yourself :)

My butter softening method? Put it in my giant silver mixing bowl and set it outside on the deck. I think your method is probably better.

Lora said...

Yum! Those look so good!

Live.Love.Eat said...

These look awesome as you said they would. And I love the play by play pics!!!!

Connordog said...

You are terrible for my diet - you know that don't you??

Angela said...

Thanks Ladies!

Lisa - do try them; they're definitely worth it!

Robin, you are too sweet. I am no PW but I love the photojournalistic style of her posts, so I have borrowed it, LOL! PS Grab the star ramekins at TJ Maxx.

Michelle - it was definitely a battle not to eat the whole bowl of batter. It looked SO good. I admit to eating several pieces of cream cheese, though!

Lora - thanks and hope you'll try them!

Stephanie - I love taking the pics. It's becoming something of a hobby, if I could just figure out better lighting (or better use of my camera, either one!)

Steph - I'm terrible for my own diet, LOL! But I look at it as BREAKFAST food, and breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? LOL

Angie's Spot said...

OMG, I think I gained 2lbs just reading that recipe. They look yummy! We'll have to make those the next time I come down. :-)

Michelle said...

Hee hee... I actually meant dollop of batter into the muffin tin then cream cheese, etc. Not umm eating it. That's a given, really. How do you not eat the batter? It always tastes better than the finished product anyway. (I didn't really say that.)

Ok, and your recipes totally rock. Any chance you'd share any for the cookbook (see my first post from yesterday)?

Knatolee said...

Did I not tell you they were awesome? The problem is, every time Gordon makes them, I eat four a day until they are gone. :)

Glad you liked them! And your ingredients look nicer than mine (Ghirardelli, mmmmmmmmm!)

Knatolee said...

Oh, and have you tried any silicone bakeware? We have silicone muffin tins and they're great! Easy to pop the muffins out, easy to clean. I'm collecting more silicone (bakeware, not implants!)

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