Bye Bye Miss American Muffins
My boss at the Bicocca is going on maternity leave as of today so we're having a bon voyage pot luck for her. She's quite curious about American stuff so she asked me specifically to make "muffins, the real American kind" (as opposed to the muffin recipes that are popping up all over in Italian cookbooks these days - really, it's true!) I think she figured there was some sort of Real American secret recipe and as I'm a Real American, I'd be a muffin expert. I've made muffins about 3 times in my life but hell, I can follow a recipe as well as the next person. So I sent her a short list of muffin possibilities (Date Nut, Blueberry, Lemon Poppyseed, etc) and she chose the Chocolate-Chocolate Chip by Nigella Lawson. Isn't Nigella English, though? If so, I won't tell my boss.
Here's the recipe I nicked off of The Food Network Website:
Makes 12 standard-sized muffins Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsps cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
3/3 cup chocolate chips, 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 cup milk
1/3 cup plus 2 tsps vegetable oil
1 tsp valilla extract
**It looked like too much baking soda and powder for so little flour, and I have no baking powder at the moment, so here's what I did differently: I used 2 tsps baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt (for taste only) Since baking soda needs acid to work well, I replaced the 1 cup milk with 1/4 cup of plain yogurt and 3/4 cups of milk.
Pre heat oven to 400F
Combine the dry ingredients (the first 6 minus 1/4 cup chocolate chips) in a large mixing bowl. Mix the wet ingredients (the last 4) until smooth. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ones. Mix until the dry and wet are just barely combined. Overmixing can leat to less fluffy, denser muffins. Music to barely mix American muffin batter by: "American Pie" by Don McLean. Pour into muffin tins (either lined with muffin cups or VERY well greased. Sprinkle on remaining chips and bake for 20 minutes. Halfway through baking turn the pan to ensure even cooking.
Serve these to non-Americans who will think they're the most exotic thing they've ever seen!