If I’m being honest, I’m really not a huge fan of sweets. I love to bake them for others, but given the choice between a cookie and a bag of chips, I’ll choose the chips three times out of four. But on that fourth time, I want something just sweet enough to satisfy the craving without going overboard.
More often than not, this craving starts nagging in my ear about mid-morning (especially on days I’ve skipped breakfast, shame on me). So I go against my better judgement and stop by one of the ubiquitous coffee/bakeshops near my office and buy a muffin. I don’t know why, I always regret it: it’s a cupcake in everything but name, too sweet, too dense, too sticky (I really hate when the outsides stick to my fingers), too big, just too much.
This is the muffin I wanted. Just a little bit sweet, moist but not sticky, decidedly not a cupcake but unashamed of its tiny pockets of chocolate, and my favorite part of any worthwhile muffin–a crunchy, cinnamon-y, streusel-y top. Plus it takes well to adding whole grain flours, calls for only 1/2 cup of sugar, and yogurt is a primary ingredient–jeez, that’s practically a health food, right?!
These also keep incredibly well, and re-heat perfectly in a warm oven for a few minutes (or toaster oven if you really want to torture your coworkers). And even better? If I use my 1/3 measuring cup to portion the batter, it perfectly fills a standard muffin tin. It’s the little things that make me happy, what can I say?
Chocolate Chip Muffins with Streusel
Makes one dozen muffins. Adapted slightly from Alton Brown’s Old School Muffins in I’m Just Here for (More) Food. If you want to play around, you can easily swap the chocolate chips for anything you like–apples and walnuts, blueberries, and raspberries have all been fantastic, but I’d also love to try these with small bits of banana–or leave extras out entirely and just enjoy with a little butter, maybe some homemade jam.
2 1/4 cup flour (up to 1/2 cup of white flour can be replaced by whole wheat or a mix of whole grain flours)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup mini chocolate chips (regular ones are fine as well, but I like how the smaller ones spread more evenly through the batter)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup neutral oil, like canola
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup whole-fat yogurt (not Greek yogurt)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a standard 12 cup muffin pan by greasing the cups with shortening (science lesson of the day, courtesy of Alton Brown–butter contains more water than shortening, water causes steam, and steam causes mushy muffin bottoms–and no one likes mushy muffin bottoms) and dusting with flour. Set aside.
To make the streusel, stir together the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture is crumbly and any small chunks of butter are well coated with the sugar/flour/cinnamon mixture.
In another small bowl or measuring cup, combine the sugar, yogurt, egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and oil, and whisk together until well combined. In a larger bowl, whisk together the flour(s), salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda; stir in the chocolate chips.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir together just until there are no large pockets of flour, do not over-mix. Divide batter into muffin tins (if you have a 1/3 measuring cup, a slightly heaping scoop will divide the batter almost perfectly) and top each muffin with a tablespoon or so of streusel.
Bake muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through. Once muffins are golden brown and puffed up, remove from the oven and immediately (carefully!) remove muffins from the pan to a cooling rack. Allow to cool until you can’t stand it any longer, then enjoy. Muffins will keep for several days in an airtight container.
…Still here? Well, if you’re really that curious (I was after writing this all up), I did some research and calculating, and one of these muffins has about half the calories of most of the muffins at the chain coffee shop/bakeries. I’m not saying they’re exactly low-cal, but certainly better than spending an entire meal’s worth of calories on one not-very-good pseudo-muffin, especially when I will happily split one of these into a morning and afternoon snack. And having said that, I promise that well be the first and last time I mention calories on this blog.