A kick of caffeine, a generous helping of chocolate and a crunch of peanuts
I’ve recently realised I have
a two problems. Serious issues in the of the baking-related, food-centric kind. And they demand immediate fixing.
In all my excitement to bake interesting things, my culinary self runs amok, venturing into the weird and quirky zone making things like ambitious things zucchini cupcakes and a tomato cake. Sometimes I am driven by nostalgia and go with the plain and simple like a humble marble cake. Often, when I have absolutely no restrain over my enthusiasm I go so far as to tread in ambitious waters, attempting ladyfingers at home, an apple galette, and sometimes I think in the midst of it all, I have underestimated and hugely ignored the potential of an elementary chocolate cake. Good old chocolate.
Whenever I set out to bake something, I am driven by a craving for a specific flavour, or a keeda to try something I have just seen, or simply because I want to finish something leftover in my kitchen: dying bananas, old apples, the last cup of oats. So I mix and match recipes, mess with the rules, bend the baking protocol and do as I please. I very rarely follow the recipe exactly the way it should be.
So, here we are. Two problems that need fixing. My prognosis: problem #1 can be fixed easily. Find a basic recipe, go in and make it, and my near and dear ones will probably be only too happy. Problem #2 however, is a little complicated, because I cannot curb my inner baking-enthu-cutlet. Because she is like that rat in the chef’s hat in that animated movie. Unconsciously guiding me to do things. My hands stealthily glide over the row of boxes on the shelf, not knowing what I am looking for. But before I know if, a box is grabbed, lid opened, contents emptied into the mixing bowl, and we’re done. The results haven’t been disastrous. So far, at least. But I do believe its something I need to be able to do. So someone show me how to follow a recipe to the T, please?
In the meantime, I’m going to address problem 1. But in typical me-fashion, I’m not going to stick with just a plain old chocolate recipe. When I saw this recipe for chocolate muffins with coffee and peanuts, I could almost feel the kick of caffeine instantly.Folks, we may have just permanently cured problem #1. And because it is an eggless, butterless recipe that involves no more than two bowls and a spatula, I declare it an instant winner, in my books.
What I used
2 cup flour (I used 1 whole wheat + 1 maida)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup strong filter coffee
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vinegar
(If you look closely, problem #2 still persists. Evidently!)
What I did
I don’t have pictures of the process, because 1) the husband messed with some settings on the camera and I wasn;t able to fix them. And my need to bake these muffins wasn;t about to wait for him to come home from work and fix those settings. So I proceeded without pictures; and 2) this recipe is incredibly simple and needs no extra hand-holding.
- First I measured out and mixed all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Then I roasted some fresh peanuts, shelled them and set aside.
- In another bowl mix all the wet ingredients well.
- Then, I gently poured the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mixed well till they were combined.
- I added in the peanuts and mixed one last time.
- This batter was runnier than usual, so I used a tablespoon to spoon the batter into my greased muffin tray. Im still making do without cupcake liners, so I had to grease them well.
- I baked them at 170 degrees C for 20 minutes, but in about 15, they seemed done when I checked with a toothpick.
These beauties were shiny to look at, but didn’t rise as much as I’d expected. Probably the lack of eggs. But they taste wonderful. Moist, fluffy and packed with coffee and chocolate, with the most pleasant roasted peanutty interruptions every now and then.
If you’re on an eggless, butterless trip like I am, and if simple 2-bowl recipes give you a kick, or if you feel you have ignored the power of good old chocolate, this ones for you. In return, I’ll accept suggestions to help me stick to a recipe. Seriously.
EDITED to add: I discovered a glitch in this recipe. I failed to roast the peanuts well enough. If you’re from India, you’ve definitely seen street-carts roasting peanuts in a kadhai full of sand? Turns out, icky as that sounds, is essential for even roasting. When I thought I had roasted the peanuts (because I cooled, de-husked and tasted a few), I had actually just happened to taste the few that had roasted through. A majority of the peanuts in my muffins weren’t roasted enough, and ended up getting cooked through in the cake. So the result, for those who bit into unroasted peanuts, was like boiled peanuts in a perfectly yummy muffin — yuck. I know. I can’t believe I overlooked it.
So anyhow, if you’re trying this, I would suggest go with store-bought roasted (unsalted) peanuts, or patiently roast your peanuts (in an oven perhaps?), cool, de-husk and make sure they’re evenly roasted and crunchy before using them!