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!
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 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.
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