Monday, June 13, 2011

Overdue


I don't remember exactly how it started, but sometime last year I was a (quite a bit) short on grocery money and started selling muffins. I told my mom, so I've been selling muffins.
What do you mean you're selling muffins?
You know, like...selling...muffins...
To who?
People who buy them?
It was actually quite a simple process: I lived by bunch of businesses, and their employees got hungry mid-afternoon. Once they got to know me it was a very easy sell, and the same people bought from me each week. For whatever reason, my mother and my sister Elena found this hilarious; I'm pretty sure I was given a rendition of the muffin man. This from my sister who works at a bakery (cue Elena: we don't sell muffins at my bakery.) Snot.
Argentines love these muffins, once you get them to try them of course (cheese and chocolate is not a time-tested combination in Argentine-land). Colombians love them too, as do probably all kids everywhere. Quite frankly, I'm not normally a big black-bottom muffin fan as I find them too sweet and kind of boring tasting. This version is the result of countless batches and relentless tweaking-- they are less sugary-tasting than usual, with coffee to deepen the chocolate flavor but still well-balanced and sweet enough for kids (and South Americans, my god do they like sugar). I was supposed to show a friend of mine how to make these long before I left Buenos Aires but we never got around to it, and now she's in Santa Fe, Argentina and I'm up here in Colombia. Benefits of technology? Downside of globalization? Proof that all anyone really wants out of life is chocolate cake with cheesecake filling (especially with coffee for breakfast)?





Black-bottom Muffins

These muffins are quite straight-forward, and in my opinion easiest to make in the following steps: first make the filling, then sift the dry ingredients together and stir the wet ingredients together. Then you add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, fill the muffin tin, and dollop the filling over the batter. 
On another note, the chocolate batter is completely vegan; these make great vegan cupcakes, by themselves or filled and frosted with (vegan) mocha frosting. Adding a tablespoon of grated ginger to the chocolate batter makes for great vegan muffins, and they get even better the next day.

For the filling:
8 oz. (220 ml. or 1 cup) cream cheese
1/3 c. white sugar
1 egg
½ tsp. natural vanilla extract

To sift together:
1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 c. brown sugar*
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt

To stir together:
¾ c. water
¼ c. coffee (normal-strength drip coffee-- I always use coffee left over from the morning)
1/3 c. vegetable oil (I use sunflower oil, any neutral-tasting oil will do)
1 Tbsp. white or apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. natural vanilla extract 


Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a standard 12-hole muffin tin with paper liners (oiling the holes doesn't work here; the muffins will stick and fall apart). 
Make the filling: beat the cream cheese and sugar together, then stir in the egg and vanilla extract until fully mixed in. Don't overbeat as, like with cheesecake, you don't want to incorporate extra air.
Sift together the dry ingredients directly into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir quickly until you see no more flour streaks (make sure to scrape up from the bottom and on the sides). Fill the muffin cups two-thirds full (a large Pyrex measuring cup with a spout works well for this), then dollop 2 Tbsp. of the filling in the center of each cup. 
Bake for 20-25 min., until the chocolate cake part springs back lightly when you touch it. Let the muffins cool fully in the tin. They keep well in an airtight container for a day or two.
Makes 12 muffins.

* if you don't have brown sugar on hand, replace it with 1 cup white sugar and add 1 Tbsp. molasses to the wet ingredients when you mix them


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Estos muffins son muy faciles de hacer: primero haces el relleno, después tamizas los ingredientes secos juntos y revuelves los ingredientes mojados juntos. Echas los mojados a los secos, llenas el molde, y echas el relleno sobre la masa.
Por otro lado, ésta masa de chocolate no contiene ni lacteos ni huevos; hace cupcakes muy ricos para gente que no come estos productos, solos o con una cobertura (sin lacteos) moka. También podrías agregar una cucharada de jengibre rallado o un puñado de chips de chocolate a la masa.

Muffins de Chocolate con Queso

Para el relleno:
220 ml. de queso crema
1/3 taza de azúcar blanca
1 huevo
½ cucharita de extracto de vainilla natural

Para tamizar juntos:
1 ¼ taza de harina de trigo (tipo 000)
1 taza de azúcar morena*
½ taza de cacao amargo (polvo de cacao sin azúcar)
1 cucharita de bicarbonato de soda
¼ cucharita de sal

Para revolver juntos:
¾ taza de agua
¼ taza de cafe (café colado-- normalmente gasto aquí el café que tengo de sobra de la mañana)
1/3 taza de aceite vegetal (yo uso aceite de girasol)
1 cucharada de vinagre de manzana
1 cucharita de extracto de vainilla

Precalienta el horno a 180ºC. Coloca papeles de muffin en un molde de 12 huecos (aceitar los huecos no funciona aquí; los muffins se pegarán a los lados y se van a desbaratar). 
Haz el relleno: revuelve el queso crema y azúcar juntos, después agrega el huevo y el extracto de vainilla hasta que la mezcla esté bien mezclada. No la batas demasiado porque, como con un cheesecake, no quieres incorporar aire demás.
Tamiza todos los ingredientes secos directamente a un bol grande. En otro bol, revuelve todos los ingredientes mojados juntos. Agrega los ingredientes mojados a los secos y revuelve rapidamente hasta que no veas más rayas de harina (no te olvides raspar el fondo y por los lados) Llena con la masa dos-tercios de cada hueco, después echale 2 cucharadas de relleno en el centro de cada hueco.
Hornea durante 20-25 min., hasta que la parte de torta de chocolate se vuelva a subir cuando la tocas. Deja los muffins enfriar en el molde. Los puedes guardar en una coquita al vacio un día o dos.
Rinde 12 muffins.

* si no tienes azúcar morena, puedes reemplazarlo con 1 taza de azúcar blanco y agrega 1 cucharada de melaza a los ingredientes mojados cuando los revuelvas

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