During the past three weeks, I’ve been living in a thick fog of preparing to move, moving, and unpacking. In the midst of it all, I’ve been eagerly eyeing my new stove/oven, reading the thick manual (it’s so fancy that it has a Sabbath mode), and researching recipes to try. I used an electric stove/oven for the past four years, so there will be a bit of a learning curve as I get used to my new high powered gas oven. Luckily I’ve found some recipes that are very forgiving and taste fantastic, even if things are slightly overbaked. These Chocolate Almond Muffins were the first recipe I tried in the new oven. I was especially drawn to the recipe because of the use of copious amounts of almond paste and the promise of deep, dark chocolate. I was not disappointed as the muffins were delicious with a tender, delicate texture and a floral almond flavor that was well balanced by the deep chocolate. Because the muffins aren’t too sweet, they’d be perfect for breakfast too. The one caveat is that the list of ingredients can be a bit daunting for baking pantries that aren’t well stocked. Some “specialty” ingredients that I had to add to my pantry for this recipe were a large tub of almond paste (the tube won’t be enough), brown rice flour, and black cocoa.
Chocolate Almond Muffins
(from Huckleberry: Stories, Secretes, and Recipes from Our Kitchen)
Makes 16 muffins
My notes are in [ ] below.
3/4 cup (200 g) almond paste
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup (30 g) Dutch process cocoa powder [I wanted to really amp up the chocolate flavor so I used 20g regular Dutch process cocoa powder and 10g Black cocoa]
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (240 g) unsalted, cubed butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (130 g) all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups (260 g) coarsely chopped dark chocolate, 60-70% cacao
Powdered sugar for topping (optional)
- Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350°F/180°C.
- Line two 12-cup muffin pants with 16 paper liners, spacing them evenly between the two pants.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the almond paste, granulated sugar, salt, and cocoa powder on medium speed until the mixture looks and feels sandy. Be sure all the almond paste is broken up into a fine meal with no clumps. [Making sure the almond paste is not lumpy is really important, otherwise your muffins will bake up with with lumps of almond paste that will leave your tasters wondering, “what is that?” in a bad way].
- Add the butter and beat for 1 to 2 minutes on medium.
- Incorporate the eggs, two at a time, beating well after each addition. [After mixing in the eggs, I also scraped down the bowl.]
- Add the vanilla, then pause mixing.
- Add both flours, the baking powder, and chopped chocolate.
- Mix on low speed, just until incorporate; then fold by hand to be sure it’s properly, but gently, incorporated.
- Fill the muffin cups with batter, all the way to the top, then bake (the muffins to do not rise much). If both pans won’t fit on the center rack, just bake in batches until the muffins just barely spring back when pressed, 20 to 22 minutes.
- [Use skewers to loosen the edges of the muffin tops from the pan.] Allow to cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar.