We’re down to our last six recipes in Elements! This week, a chocolate muffin with a surprise inside. Posting date is Sept. 21!
Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins
For the Cream Cheese Filling
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1⁄3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
For the Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon espresso powder
2 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valrhona)
8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%), coarsely chopped, divided
3 ounces (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
1 cup hot coffee
3⁄4 cup hot water
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons sanding sugar (optional)
Make the Cream Cheese Filling
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is lump free. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the egg, vanilla, and salt, beating until completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Fold in the white chocolate chunks. Refrigerate the filling while you make the muffins. (The cream cheese filling can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.)
Make the Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray each cup of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and use a paper towel to spread the oil evenly along the bottom and up the sides of each cup.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt. Set aside.
In another large bowl, place the cocoa powder, 2 ounces of the chocolate, and the butter. Pour the coffee and the hot water over the chocolate and butter and wait 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Add the oil, vinegar, and eggs and whisk again until the batter is completely smooth.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Slowly fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just mixed (be careful not to overmix). Fold in the remaining 6 ounces of the chocolate. Note: If you are using largish chocolate chunks you should toss them in flour so that they will not sink to the bottom of the mix.
Spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons of chocolate batter into each prepared muffin cup (about one-quarter full). Tap the bottom of the pan against the counter to level the batter. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese filling to each cup, then cover the cream cheese layer with the remaining chocolate batter. Make sure the batter is just flush with the rim of the pan. If you want, sprinkle the muffin tops with sanding sugar right before baking to create a crunchy muffin top (and who can say no to a crunchy muffin top?).
Bake for 30 to 32 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Move the muffin pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Gently loosen the muffins with an offset spatula or small knife, remove the muffins from the pan, and let them finish cooling on the wire rack.
The muffins can be stored in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 2 days. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving.
Excerpted from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copyright © 2012 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.