Chocolate Custard Muffins

makes 18 standard muffins

3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

5 Tablespoons cornstarch

3 Tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup water

4 1/4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

2 1/2 ounces (5 Tablespoons) butter, cubed

1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

1/3 cup safflower or other neutral oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 extra large eggs at room temperature

1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line a 12-cup and 6-cup muffin pan with liners; set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside

In a medium saucepan whisk together the cornstarch, cocoa, brown sugar, and water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until very thick and smooth.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate, butter, and espresso powder until melted and absorbed.  Add the oil, vanilla, and one egg and beat until combined.  Add the remaining egg and granulated sugar and beat again until smooth and thick.  Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.

Using a generous 1-ounce ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pans.  Bake until the tops are firm and cracked, about 25 minutes.  Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.  Muffins are best enjoyed the day they are made while the tops are crunchy, but they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.  Enjoy!

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