November 10, 2010

The Tale of a Cat, a Dog and the Chocolate Muffin

In spite of the fact that I’m abjectly slow at blogging – and hardly brag about my love for chocolate, I’m actually a full-time chocoholic. A dark one to be exact: Only those that come with 70- to 85-percent cocoa content would please me inside out.

Sour Cream Banana-Chocolate Muffins

What’s more, I just realized that muffins and quick breads had never made their way to this journal of mine – even though they have been part of my baking repertoire for almost 3 years. In fact, besides bars and cookies and American biscuits, other quick breads and muffins were also my first bakes. (The American biscuit, just like the British scone, is considered quick bread.)

Perhaps, I’ve been taking these humble bakes for granted … that they just slipped right out of my mind. However, that’s not to say I don’t fancy baking them. As a matter of fact, I love these humble home-made goodies to bits. Nothing beats munching on a good muffin or a slice of quick bread for breakfast to kick-start the day! (I’m a breakfast person. And, I love morning sugar rush.)

Sour Cream Banana-Chocolate Muffins

Of all the quick bread recipes I’ve tried, these chocolate muffins win hands down. The chemistry took place on a carefree, laid-back college day of mine. As I hopped from one blog to another, these seductive muffins, which were featured on Florence’s blog, caught my eye. Sad to say, I never got around making these treats – till months later, when the recipe came to my attention once again. Curiosity killed the cat.

This particular chocolate muffin recipe calls for sour cream, which is something I don’t use regularly. At first, I worried about having to deal with extra sour cream prior to my flight back to Malaysia; however, my worries proved to be unnecessary. Sour cream complements soft-shell tacos well. My American family friends love their home-made tacos. (Note: These tacos are highly Americanized.) So, finishing up sour cream was easy-peasy.

I eventually bought a tub of sour cream. Last summer, just 10 days before bidding farewell to America for good, I whipped up close to a dozen of the chocolate muffins in my American mom’s kitchen.

Sour Cream Banana-Chocolate Muffins

Fresh off the oven, these rich, moist and intensely chocolaty muffins served their purpose well: Nine of us had them for dessert after lunch. Of course, we had them in moderation. I reserved three of the muffins for my photography session.

Snap! Snap! Snap! Just as everyone was taking a nap in the peaceful and quiet afternoon, I snapped away with my camera in the backyard, with the chocolate muffins posing diligently before my lens. After the few clicks on my camera, the moment I’d been waiting for finally arrived!

Sour Cream Chocolate Muffins
Once upon a time, we washed down some of these muffins with goat's milk from my American dad's farm. Yummy!

Getting all excited, I chuckled and maneuvered myself around swiftly and gently, trying not to make a din. I entered the house and returned my camera for safekeeping. “Nah, it’s just taking me a couple of minutes at most,” I thought.

“Geez, where are the muffins!?” I wondered. When I returned to the backyard, all that was left was a bare plate; the three dark musketeers disappeared! As I shifted my vision to the far left, I saw Buster, my family friends' pet dog, licking to “wipe” his mouth clean! He then sniffed the ground, licking here and there. I should have taken the warning given by my family friends seriously! That dog gobbled up three jumbo muffins in the blink of an eye!

You scratch my back, I scratch your back
Buster and his feline companions

That episode became the joke of the day. (My American dad laughed real hard!) We worried and suspected that the high cocoa content might do Buster no good. Ya know, chocolate kills dogs! It turned out there was nothing to worry about. Albeit getting old, Buster is still happily roaming on planet Earth. Now that I’m home, whenever I think back, I can’t help but to laugh about it. I usually end up yearning for the chocolate muffins, too!

And so, the once-familiar aroma, taste and texture were reproduced in my kitchen in Malaysia. As rebellious as I’ve always been, I tweaked the recipe. A few overripe local bananas found their way to the muffin batter, replacing the heavy cream. These exquisitely moist chocolate muffins rendered the chocoholic in me in submission.

Curiosity killed both the cat and the dog. In the end, satisfaction brought them back.

Sour Cream Banana-Chocolate Muffins

Sour Cream Chocolate Muffins
Adapted from Florence’s

Note: Florence has removed the recipe from her blog; therefore, I’m unable to link you to hers.

120 g all-purpose flour
15 g good-quality baking cocoa
½ tsp baking soda

25~35 g granulated sugar
50 g brown sugar
1 large egg – at room temperature
75 mL sour cream
45 mL heavy cream or milk
* I sometimes replace heavy cream or milk with mashed overripe bananas. Local (Malaysian) varieties are recommended, e.g. pisang emas, pisang tali, and pisang berangan. I’m sure these varieties are also available in the neighboring countries. *
55 g melted butter or neutral-flavored oil e.g. vegetable, canola, or corn oil
* I find that in comparison to those that are made with melted butter, muffins made with oil are and stay moister longer, especially when you are forced to prolong their shelf life via refrigeration. Imagine those who are living in a hot and humid climate all year round, including me. *

60 g bittersweet chocolate chips – or more, please adjust to taste
Enough bittersweet chocolate chips – for topping
  1. Grease regular-sized muffin molds. Alternatively, you can line the muffin molds with regular-sized paper liners. Set aside.
  2. Whisk (A) together in a mixing bowl; make a “well” in the center. Set aside.
  3. Whisk (B) together to combine, then pour into the “well” that you’ve just “built” in the center of the flour mixture. By hands, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold the mixtures together, i.e. traces of the flour mixture have barely disappeared. Don’t overmix the mixtures; the batter should look lumpy. Halfway through the mixing process, stir in 60 g of chocolate chips. Make sure the chocolate chips are well dispersed in the batter.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin molds, dividing it up evenly. Each mold should be filled to about 80-percent full. To each of the batter-filled muffin molds, sprinkle some chocolate chips on top.
  5. Bake at 190°C for 25~30 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove the muffins from the oven and let stand in the molds for about 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack(s) to cool completely. Actually, you may devour the muffins while they are still warm or when they are cooled. It’s really a matter of personal preferences. Be sure to store them in airtight container, though.


Honey Bee Sweets said...

These chocoate muffins looked so devilishly good, no wonder Bustor gobbled them up, lol! You are right, sometimes it's good that we go back to the basic simple pleasures, like a chocolate muffin! It's these simple things that warms our hearts. Glad you finally got to bake these again. You know sour cream is so commonly used in American bakes, when I was in KL... I completely lost touch using it. But now I am glad to be baking with sour cream again....I can even eat it on it's own, lol! Have a good day friend!

Swee San said...

I'm sorry Pei-Lin, I have to go with the dog this time. Buster looks darn cute!! and so fluffy!! (and lucky to not die from eating chocolate :P 3 samo.. )

mr. pineapple man said...

my hubby would LOVE this!

Jess @ Bakericious said...

Pei Lin, you changed your hair style! I changed mine too, cut my fringe, permed my hair heeheehee...My CEO said I looked like 埃及艳后 :P.

I am surprised that the dog is alright after the chocolate muffin, thought that chocolate can cause death in dogs. Probably cos is big dog?

I love chocolate too but I am more milk chocolate than dark chocolate. I used to dun touch dark chocolate at all cos I dun like bitter, any food that is bitter I will shun away but now I slowly learn to appreciate including bitter gourd.

Your chocolate muffin looks terrific, I will gladly grab one any time of the day :)

Martha said...

Thank you for sharing that story. That is pretty funny about Buster.
Those look like really good muffins too.

Su-yin said...

I love dark chocolate too, and definitely have a preference for using it in baking - I find it becomes too sweet otherwise!

I didn't realise you've only been back for a year, somehow I thought that it was for longer than that.

j3ss kitch3n said...

simply gorgeous muffins!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more said...

And you were asking me the names of bananas the last time I saw you, haha!!

BTW, pisang rastali is not that nice. I found that it gives a slightly chewy texture to my food, as I used that for cekodok once. Not as soft compared to pisang emas. I'd still vouch for emas when it comes to baking :)

faithy, the baker said...

Wow..chocolicious! Just what i know me..i adore anything chocolate and it must be real chocolate and not those fake chocolate type..using paste..LOL!
Yup..dogs are pretty fast when it comes to dog ate up my sugarpaste shoe ..the entire shoe that i left out to dry! Thankfully she didn't get sick then.

Kitchen Corner said...

There is no doubt the brownies must be very tasty! I believe the sour cream added in had make the different. I've bookmarked this and will make it as a gift for my friend. Thanks for sharing!

edith said...

These looks just too tempting not to eat it all!

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

i bet my kids will love this chocolate muffin.

Bakertan said...

hey pei-lin,

these muffins look uber good! I wish I can have one right away. Its been ages since i made muffins. Time to me to try making them again.

are these muffins the fluffy kind and do they stay soft and fluffy when cold?

DG said...

I love chocolate muffins. The muffins look scrumptious!

Meldylocks and Her Three Bears said...

My sis's dog also eats choc once in a blue moon...I think that shouldn't kill them gua? But I remember she won't give her darling more than a little piece lah!
Eh, wouldn't the muffins taste and smelt of bananas if you use bananas in the recipe? Or the richness of the choco covers that well? The muffins look very chocolatey.

J said...

Do these muffins still stay good the next day?

Medifast said...

Lucky dog, wish I had of been there to help him.
Very nice chocolate muffin recipe, love that you used a dark chocolate, would be so much richer tasting.

Erinsgobragh said...

What cute furr babies! Oh gosh those muffins look killer!

Passionate About Baking said...

Your chocolate muffins looked so deliciously good! Mine can never be up to this standard. I have this same muffin paper too! But after baking, mine looked so soaked up! Yours is so beautifully presented! :p Yummy. I'll have to try this again! Don't mind a full-fledge copycat? :p

Keren Ruth said...

We still remember that and laugh about it at times. Fun to see pictures and your take on it. :)

lacasitainspirada said...

Hooray! Another reason for me to eat dessert for breakfast. These sounds great- and what great photos!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Yo, folks! Sorry for the uber late reply! As usual, been very occupied and hardly have time to do what I want before my laptop. Thank you so much for the encouragement given! Have superb week ahead!!! =)

@Bee Bee: Yes, sounds like we are both minimalists in baking and cooking! Hmmm ... You couldn't find sour cream in KL!!?? No way, there's sour cream. However, the quality differs greatly from those of the U.S. Somehow, I think the sour cream in KL is thinner ... like plain yogurt!!?? Even the plain yogurt in the U.S. is thicker! Erm ... Too much thickener used perhaps? Or they are the real McCoy? LOL! Who knows! We didn't live on dairy farms for sure. Good sour cream is wicked, like creme fraiche! LOL!

@Swee San: Haha! According to my family friends in the States, Buster is still around ... after I've left the country for over 1 year!! LOL!

@mr. pineapple man, Jess H., Sonia, DG, Erinsgobragh: Thanks! I sure hope so. =)

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Yo, folks! Sorry for the uber late reply! As usual, been very occupied and hardly have time to do what I want before my laptop. Thank you so much for the encouragement given! Have superb week ahead!!! =)

@Jess L.: Hmmm ... Probably due to the fact that Buster is a VERY old dog. I dunno!? I ain't a vet. Haha! I heart both DARK choc and BITTER gourd! Yummy! Haha! I'm trying to picture the new Jess a.k.a. the Egyptian Beauty ... Hmmm ... Haiya! Just cut my hair nia ... Will do more to my hair next month ... Hehehe ...

@Martha: Hey!! How are ya all? Will shoot you a Thanksgiving mail later! Been VERY busy and tired since I got home, have never slowed down. Yup, Buster is indeed a friendly and funny dog! Missing him and his friendliness! Wish you could have some. The Cobbs, Steve, Bonnie, Keren, Buster and I all had the muffins. I think Luke managed to have a couple!? Don't remember. Oh, well! Thanks to Buster! LOL!

@Wendy: At Cold Storage? LOL! Actually after that, I went to pasar malam as usual, and asked the pak cik who was selling pisang. Dia cakap pisang emas, tali dan berangan adalah pilihan2 pertama. Too bad, pisang mas and tali all sold out. So hor, I kena beli berangan lor ... Thank you for the advice dai gah jeh! =D

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Yo, folks! Sorry for the uber late reply! As usual, been very occupied and hardly have time to do what I want before my laptop. Thank you so much for the encouragement given! Have superb week ahead!!! =)

@Faithy: HAHA! I detest paste/emulco, too! Yuck! OMG! Serious!? Yea, thank goodness she didn't fall sick after that feast! What a sugar rush she had!

@Grace F.: Yea, sour cream plays a HUGE part in that sense. Hope you all will like the muffins! =)

@Edith: Wish you and your family could have had some! =)

@Zhuoyuan: These are made via the mixing/folding/stirring method (whatever you'd like to call it). Not the creaming method. With that said, these are definitely not as "fluffy/cakey" compared to those made via creaming method. If you use oil in place of melted butter, they should stay softer longer. I remember them getting stale as they aged. IMO, normal for additive-free home bakes.

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Yo, folks! Sorry for the uber late reply! As usual, been very occupied and hardly have time to do what I want before my laptop. Thank you so much for the encouragement given! Have superb week ahead!!! =)

@Melody: HAHA! Serious!!?? We dare not give a single bit of choc to our dog Chevy now! LOL! Well, maybe should say choc jeopardizes dogs and may be lethal to canines. Your sis like that also boleh ... Wah! Geng! No wor, because banana quantity not a whole lot mah ... Yea lor, choc overpowers the bananas. Thanks, buddy! =)

@J: They remain edible the next day. Moistness? Diminishes gradually as they age. Perfectly normal for home bakes.

@Medifast: Haha! He did it at his own risk! Yea, dark choc wins my heart more than milk choc does.

@Jane: You're kidding nia! You're already pro in baking! How can that hold true!!!??? Of course, don't mind. I didn't come up with the design on those muffin liners. I paid to use them only. =P

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Yo, folks! Sorry for the uber late reply! As usual, been very occupied and hardly have time to do what I want before my laptop. Thank you so much for the encouragement given! Have superb week ahead!!! =)

@Keren: Hey!! How you all back in Bemidji? I heard it snowed and got covered by snow REAL bad back there. Bummer! (Duh! It's MINNESOTA!) Haha! I know! I do laugh about it sometimes, too! Oh, well! Seems like almost every international student you all had adopted never failed to leave interesting episodes behind. LOL! I miss ya all terribly, especially with Thanksgiving coming!!! Oh, boy! Ya know I'm couting down to Thanksgiving!!! I miss you all so, so much. Gimme time to earn more and save up to buy myself a round-trip ticket so that I can visit ya all back in Minnesota Nice!!! Take care!

@lacasitainspirada: Sugar rush is a great way to kick-start your day! Thanks so much for the encouraging words! =)

Mary said...

These look incredible! I can't wait to try these!

Great blog!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls

Karla said...

Sounds like a tasty dish. I might try this out in the upcoming holidays.

Food For Tots said...

I love the dome effect of your muffins. They look real sinful yet irresistable! ;)

Bee with Style said...

Incredibly edible cute chocolate muffin. It reminds me of the Chocolate Bouchon I just recently had. I love your cute little paper muffin cups. Great Job!

S said...

Would it be possible to use yogurt in the place of sour cream in this recipe? I haven't seen sour cream being sold so far, and would prefer not to buy a whole tub of it and worry about finishing it up.

Pei-Lin said...

Hello, S!

Hmm. I think you can use plain yogurt in place of sour cream, but I'd go for those full-fat, thick ones, if you get what I mean.

I hope you'll get to enjoy these chocolate muffins soon!

-- Pei-Lin

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