Friday, December 16, 2011

Brown Mercedes Muffins

A long time ago I worked with someone that had an 1977 dingy brown Mercedes.  He had talked about getting a new paint job done on the car.  I asked what color he was going to get it painted.  "The same" he replied.  I told him that he should get it painted a different color, something with a little bit more flash.  He advised that while he liked the performance of the car, having one was never about flash or image.  Attracting attention was not something he was into.  I wondered about him the other day.  Perhaps he is still happily scooting down the road, unnoticed, in that same murky brown classic.

These muffins are kind of like that old car.  They have a wonderful flavor, but a rather humble appearance.  Which means that you will not have someone bolting across the room at the sight of these.  Serving these will be more civil, instead of a bunch of snatching hands.

The taste is really the game changer of that calmness. Just one bite of the fluffy muffin will drive your taste buds straight through a dark hazelnut tunnel. If that is not enough, there will be an occasional bump of chocolate chips and salty nuts.  So take your taste buds for a test drive with these humble brown muffins, the keys to get things started are below.

Brown Mercedes Muffins
from flourtrader

1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped, skinned and salted hazelnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup Nutella
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup or 5 tbs and 1 tsp butter (room temp)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
sparkling, slow melting sugar (optional for sprinkling on top)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease top edge of 14 muffin cavities, then fill with paper liners and set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In another bowl, beat together the butter and Nutella for one minute.  Add both sugars and beat again at medium speed for about 2 minutes, stopping to occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl.  While maintaining the same speed, beat in the egg and vanilla extract, making sure all is blended and mixture is smooth. Set the batter aside.

In a third bowl, whisk the yogurt and the applesauce together.

Take about 1/3 of the sifted ingredients and fold into the nutella/sugar batter.  Then add 1/2 of the yogurt/applesauce and stir until blended.  Follow the same steps again and then add the last third of the sifted ingredients.  Stir until no dry streaks remain.

Take 2 tablespoons of the measured out chopped hazelnuts and set aside.  Pour the remaining chopped nuts into the batter and then add the mini chips, stir until all is evenly distributed.

Using a scoop, fill each of the 14 muffin cavities evenly with the muffin batter.  They should be about 3/4 full.  Sprinkle the top of each with the reserved nuts. Then, if you have opted for the sparkling sugar, sprinkle it evenly on top of each muffin.

Place pans in oven and bake about 24-27 minutes or until done.  Pans will need to be rotated and  rack switched (from one to the other) halfway through the baking time. When done, top will spring back when lightly touched.

Remove pan and let muffins cool for a few minutes then transfer to rack to finish cooling.
                       **LAST YEAR: Spicy Sausage Calzones**