I smelled the wet pavement before my eyes had even opened. I was roused awake by a scuffling and pouncing around in the early dawn hours. The cat had found his favorite long lost toy, a bright blue yarn ball laced with catnip, that he had hidden long ago. He was so happy to be reunited with this toy, then equally as happy to jump up on the bed, get in some morning scratches and then settle back in for a nap. On cue, the baby within me woke up, started kicking around and I knew there was no chance of going back to sleep. I think of this as training. Leaving the cat and sleeping husband in bed, I heaved myself out of bed while trying to be as quiet as possible. This maneuver is becoming more and more difficult as the weeks pass. I carefully made my way downstairs to the kitchen and started in on an easy muffin recipe. I reached for the ricotta and an egg from the fridge, grabbed some cocoa from the cupboard as the sun broke through the clouds. This was starting off to be a beautiful day!
The beauty of this recipe is that it takes one bowl, a whisk and a spatula. Ricotta is paired with cocoa, espresso powder, some sugars and a dash of cinnamon. I added in a sprinkling of chocolate chips as I carefully folded in some flour.
As I scooped out batter among 9 muffin papers, I was wondering how the recipe would turn out. I cast my doubts aside as these muffins baked for 20 minutes. I was sure the delicious chocolate smell would wake Sweet Z….
…but he continued to sleep. I had a quiet morning all to myself with a hot cup of coffee and this super tender, almost cake-like dark chocolate muffin with melted gooey chocolate chips studded throughout. It was lovely. Maybe waking up early is not so bad after all. Thanks for reading!!!
- Recipe slightly adapted from Mystery Lovers' Kitchen
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 C. ricotta, drained if necessary
- 1/2 C. buttermilk*
- 1/4 C. brown sugar
- 1/4 C. sugar
- 3 T. canola oil
- 1/3 C. + 1 T. dark cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 t. instant espresso powder (optional)
- 1/2 t. salt (more if you wish)
- 3/4 t. baking powder
- 1/4 t. baking soda
- 1/2 C. + 1 T. flour
- Handful of chocolate chips (optional)
- *Out of buttermilk? I put 1 T. of vinegar in a measuring cup and added in milk until it reached 1/2 cup. Stir and let sit a few minutes until thickened.
- Preheat the oven to 375*. Line 9 regular sized muffins tins with paper liners. Lightly spray the liners so the muffins will not stick.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg until well beaten and frothy.
- Add in the ricotta, buttermilk, oil, cocoa powder, brown and white sugars, canola oil, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon, espresso powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and salt - whisking well to combine.
- Gently fold in the flour and chocolate chips, if using, and mix just until combined. This will ensure tender muffins!
- Fill the muffin cups 3/4 of the way full and bake in a 375* oven for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a tester inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean with no crumbs. This took me 20 minutes exactly.
- These muffins are fragile - let them rest in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!