First Attempt – A Bust!

So I think I’ve become a bake goods/bake goods recipe snob.  This whole baking blog endeavor has created a monster!

My friend, Ron, and I decided a few months back that we wanted to combine our powers to host a Sunday brunch for our friends.  Now, you should know that Ron is a crazy good cook. When I say, “crazy good cook” I mean, C-R-A-Z-Y good cook!  He is seriously talented, so I was honored when he asked me to join him in this little entertaining project.

We discussed the menu over an amazing dinner that he and his delightful wife, Danelle, hosted.  This guy means business!  Where I would have said lets just make a yummy egg scramble, cook a bunch of bacon (y’all know how I feel about bacon), create a pretty berry bowl, serve mimosas, and I’ll bake a coffee cake.  Um, no.  This boring menu is not jiving with Ron’s C-R-A-Z-Y good cooking skills.  The menu he created will be shared at a later date.

Because the brunch theme is ‘Mexican’ I volunteered to make a Mexican chocolate baked good.  I LOVE Mexican chocolate!  I LOVE drinking Mexican hot chocolate and experimenting with this chocolate in a variety of recipes.  The crumbly, powdery, chocolatey, cinnamony goodness is just warm and lovely.  With all of that said, this recipe was a total bust.

I think one of the reasons it didn’t turn out well was because I used an unfamiliar brand of Mexican chocolate.  If you’ve never used it before, always buy Abuelita chocolate.  That’s what my mom always uses to make Mexican hot chocolate at Christmas time and what I’ve always used because Mom always uses it.

Instead of the wonderfully familiar, yellow, octagonal Abuelita box, I bought Taza chocolate.  I was at Whole Foods and was shocked that they don’t carry Abuelita.  Because I was lazy and didn’t want to drive to another store (damn my apathetic nature!) I settled for Taza.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with Taza but there’s nothing special about it either.  When you break up Abuelita chocolate you can smell, feel, and see the cinnamon in every bit of the chocolate triangles.  Taza chocolate just looks like, well, regular chocolate.  I think that’s where I went wrong.

If you try this recipe, here are a few notes…

  1.  Use Abuelita Mexican chocolate.
  2. Let the chocolate/butter mixture cool completely before adding the eggs.  I rushed that process once years ago and ended up with chocolatey scrambled eggs.

This was a good practice round for me, so I don’t make the same mistake when it comes to our brunch.  Pressure is on!

Marvelous Mexican Chocolate Muffins (care of food.com)

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INGREDIENTS:  6 1⁄4 ounces chopped Mexican chocolate (Abuelita for hot chocolate works well), 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, 2 large eggs (room temperature), 1⁄3 cup sugar, 1 cup whole milk, 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:  Position oven rack in center of oven, and preheat to 400°F.  Spray the inside of the muffin tins and the rims with nonstick spray or place paper cups inside the tins.  If you are using silicone, spray as directed then place them on a cookie sheet.  Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water. If you don’t have a double boiler, use a heat safe bowl that fits snuggly over a small pan of simmering water. Stir constantly until the chocolate and butter are half melted. Remove double boiler/bowl from heat then continue stirring until smooth. Cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl until well blended. Set aside.  Once the chocolate mixture has cooled, whisk in the eggs one at a time, making sure the first is completely incorporated before adding the second. Whisk in the sugar until completely dissolved. Then whisk in the milk and vanilla until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the prepared flour mixture with a wooden spoon until well blended. Do not overmix.  Fill the prepared muffin pans 3/4 full. Save leftover batter for second batch. Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins have pale brown, smooth, rounded tops and a toothpick comes out clean.  Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Gently rock each muffin from side to side to release. Remove from pan and set on rack to cool for an additional 5 minutes, then serve. If storing or freezing, let cool completely before storing in airtight containers or freezer bags. These muffins will stay fresh up to 24 hours at room temperature, or up to 1 month in the freezer.

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