Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chocolate-Coconut Muffins (not cupcakes!)

(I promise that the next post will not be about muffins)

Like most people, I have had many "food epiphanies" abroad. I remember being shocked that people in Dakar made and kept yogurt outdoors in a plastic bowl with a piece of plywood over it, and that even in England people didn’t refrigerate open jars of jam or eggs (my English flatmates mused, “Well, maybe if the eggs were *really* not fresh the supermarket *might* need to refrigerate them…”).

I also learned a lot about cultural attitudes towards food by working in bakery-cafes in London and the US, one after the other. It blew my mind when a customer came into Gail's and said something like, "Oh, and let's have a about that muffin?" I thought, "How can muffins be cake?!" But this brings up an important issue. What is the relationship between the muffin and the cupcake these days, when a "muffin" can have more calories/fat/sugar than a piece of cake? Is frosting the only distinguishing factor?

I'd like to believe that there's still a difference, or that at least there's a spectrum between ur-muffin on one end and ur-cupcake on the other. Still, today's adaptation of Arhia's muffin recipe made me question this whole system. Chocolate was the culprit. I wanted to make a muffin that was deliciously chocolatey without being a chocolate cupcake. In the end, it felt like something was lacking. Not that it needed more oil; the applesauce creates a wonderful moist texture. More salt? More sugar? Is there a point at which chocolate doesn't taste like chocolate unless it is accompanied by enough sugar?

Chocolate-Coconut Muffins

1 1/2 c white flour
1 c wheat flour
1/2 c unsweetened coconut
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 c corn oil
1 c applesauce
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
soymilk and/or water to desired consistency

Oil muffin tin. Preheat oven to 375*. Mix dry. Add wet. Mix well. Fill muffin tins almost to the top. Bake 25 min. Makes about 14 muffins.

No comments: