I don't know what came first: my penchant for baking muffins or Mike's penchant for eating them. After a years-long run of cereal and several months of toasted English muffins, he has settled into a breakfast routine of one hard-boiled egg with salt, a muffin microwaved from the freezer, and the previous night's Colbert monologue on his cell phone. ("Sometimes I really go wild and have two muffins," he says. On those days I can hear the peels of laughter from upstairs.)
To keep up with all of this muffin consumption, I make a batch of muffins every week or so, usually these chocolate chip ones. But lately, I've been working on developing Mike's ideal muffin recipe. He is a very deliberate sort of person, so he had a very specific muffin in mind: lots of cinnamon, not too many chocolate chips, and crunchy sugar on top.
After a couple of test batches, this is the recipe that fits the bill. These are very cinnamon-forward muffins, with a touch of chocolate and a generous sprinkling of turbinado sugar on top.
Since there aren't all that many chocolate chips in this recipe, I like to use the miniature version to get better distribution throughout the batter. Turbinado sugar has more definition and texture than granulated sugar, so it's the best way to get a crunchy texture on top of the muffins. Most grocery stores stock turbinado sugar—Sugar in the Raw is a common brand—but you can substitute granulated sugar or leave it off altogether if you like (just don't tell Mike).
I typically freeze any muffins that we won't eat within two days, since they reheat well in the microwave.
Adapted from Blueberry Muffins, Betty Crocker Cookbook
Yield: about 11 muffins
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
- about 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tins with paper or silicon liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, oil, and egg until well-combined. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and mix just until moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Sprinkle batter with turbinado sugar.
Bake until muffins are golden-brown, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Remove muffins from tins and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Store loosely covered at room temperature.
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