1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (60 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups (265 grams) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (170 grams) milk or semisweet chocolate chips
Chocolate Fudge Frosting: (optional)
4 ounces (120 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups (160 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Chocolate Muffins: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven. Butter, or line with paper liners, 12 - 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch muffin cups.
In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the melted butter, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
In another large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result.
Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter (the muffin cups will be full), using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.
Chocolate Frosting: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes). Spread a little frosting on each muffin with a knife or offset spatula.
Makes 12 - 14 regular sized muffins.
Chocolate Muffins give you a double dose of chocolate, as they contain both cocoa powder and chocolate chips. You can use either natural unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch-processed cocoa powder and while I lean towards milk chocolate chips, you can also use semi sweet, bittersweet, or even white chocolate chips.
The question is often asked "What is the difference between a muffin and a cupcake?". If you take away the frosting from cupcakes, the lines do become blurred. The big difference, I think, is in the making of the two batters. With cupcakes the creaming method is most often used, that is, where the butter and sugar are beaten together, to which eggs are added and then the flour is folded in. With muffins, most times you do not have to pull out the mixer, you only need two bowls, one for wet ingredients and one for dry ingredients. Combine the two and your batter is made. That is why muffins are what we call a "quick" bread. Now, with that being said, you could easily make these Chocolate Muffins into cupcakes simply by adding a chocolate frosting. This would take the muffins from a breakfast food to a dessert. So, for those who want a frosting, I have included a recipe for Chocolate Fudge Frosting.
Buttermilk is used in this Chocolate Muffin recipe and if you are not familiar with buttermilk it has a nice thick creamy texture with a rich tangy buttery taste that makes baked goods tender. You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to 1 cup (240 ml) of milk. Just stir the vinegar into the milk and then let it stand 5 to 10 minutes before using. Lastly, it is hard to tell when chocolate muffins are baked and we definitely do not want to over bake them or they will be dry. So check them towards the end of baking and they are done when they are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.