Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Chilli Chocolate Muffins

chilli chocolate muffins

 One of my all-time favourite books is called Chocolat written by Joanne Harris. It's a half-amusing, half-sad tale centred around a mysterious woman who descends on a small village in rural France and causes a commotion when she opens a chocolaterie (chocolate shop / cafe) opposite the local church at the beginning of Lent. Joanne Harris gives the whole business of chocolate making an exotic and magical feel and her descriptions of the chocolate concoctions the woman creates in her shop always make my mouth water even though I've read the book about ten times! 

It was in this book that I was first introduced to the concept of chocolate and chilli - the rich, dark, hot chocolate with a pinch of chilli pepper that was served in the cafe sounded delicious! Chocolate and chilli are two ingredients that I'd never thought to put together before but it seems to have become really popular of late and I have to say that it works!

This recipe uses a combination of dark and milk chocolate as well as cocoa to create a really chocolately muffin that has a nice hint of chilli, which gives the muffins a bit of a kick. 

muffin ingredients
Sifted ingredients - flour, baking powder, cocoa and
cayenne pepper
chilli chocolate muffins

Chilli Chocolate Muffins

Notes: Makes 12 large muffins. I use a combination of dark and milk chocolate in my recipe but if you like it really rich use all dark. Fresh chilli could also be added - replace the cayenne pepper and dried chilli flakes with 1 tbsp of chopped fresh chillli.

70g plain chocolate (min 70% cocoa solids)
70g milk chocolate
375g self-raising flour
1tbsp baking powder
50g cocoa powder
1tsp cayenne pepper
85g caster sugar
1tsp dried chilli flakes
2 eggs
375ml milk
6tbsp sunflower oil
2tsp vanilla extract
100g chocolate chips 

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F/ Gas Mark 6. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.

2. Place a bowl over a pan of simmering water (don't allow the bowl to touch the water though) and add the chocolate. Melt the chocolate, stirring continuously until smooth. Don't overheat the chocolate - remove as soon as it's melted. Put it to one side to cool slightly.

3. Sift together in a large bowl the flour, baking powder, cocoa and cayenne pepper the stir in the sugar and chilli flakes.

4. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Add the melted chocolate and stir well - if it separates don't worry just keep stirring.

5. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and fold them together adding 50g of the chocolate chips - be careful not to beat or overwork the mixture.

6. Place the mixture in the muffin cases and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips. Place in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes until well risen. 

7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

eggs and milk
Mixing the milk with the eggs, oil and vanilla

chocolate muffin batter
Chilli chocolate muffins - ready to pop in the oven

chocolate Joanne harris
The book that inspired me!

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