triple chocolate raspberry oat bran muffins

triple chocolate raspberry oat bran muffins

I can't believe that January is over and we've been told that spring is "only" six weeks away. As excited as I am about getting closer to spring, I am also a little worried about the little buds that are beginning to stick their heads out in my garden. And while I write this, I see snowflakes falling outside (another snow day). I'm hoping these guys make it through to summer or my garden is going to be flowerless! 

white and dark chocolate chips

I have so many kitchen goals for this warm season, that I've made a spreadsheet of what I need to do and when based on our local seasonal produce availability. Over the past few months, we've eaten up several jars of stuff that I canned last year and my empty jars are now looking very sad and lonely. It's time to fill them up!

raspberries

I baked a lot over the weekend and I made these triple chocolate muffins. Yes, triple chocolate! Dark cocoa, with a double dosing of dark and white chocolate chips, it's a decadent enough option for breakfast. They are not overly sweet or too moist or heavy to start your morning off, which is why these are my new favorites. Raspberries and chocolate are a fantastic combination and they taste delicious in these muffins. Since, I'm sticking with the theme of breakfast, I dosed these muffins with a little bit of oat bran. I modified and adapted this recipe from The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book.

triple chocolate and raspberry oat bran muffins

triple chocolate raspberry oat bran muffins

yields: 12-16 muffins

ingredients

1/2 cup (1 5/8 ounces) unsweetened dark cocoa
1/2 cup (2  7/8 ounces) oat bran
2 cups ( 8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used a madagascar bourbon extract)
1 teaspoon raspberry extract (optional)
1 1/2 cups plain low-fat greek yogurt
1/2 cup semisweet dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup semisweet white chocolate chips
1/2 cup fresh raspberries 

1. Preheat the oven to 375F and place a wire rack in the center of the oven. Place and line the paper muffin cups in a muffin pan. If you don't have paper muffins cups spray the cups in the pan with a neutral vegetable cooking oil.
2. Sift the cocoa, oat bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt twice in a large mixing bowl and keep aside.
3. Place the butter and sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment cream for 4 minutes on medium high speed until light and fluffy.
4. Add one egg at a time to creamed butter and sugar mixture and beat each egg into the mixture at medium high speed for one minute. Mix in the vanilla and raspberry extracts for 30 seconds.
5. At medium-high speed, mix in the sifted dry ingredients in three installments, adding half of the yogurt between each installment. You may need to occasionally scrape down the bowl from the sides with a silicone spatula to ensure even mixing. Once the batter is completely mixed, remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the chocolate chips and the raspberries. 
6. Using an ice cream scooper, scoop out the dough into the lined muffin pan and bake them for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted through the center of the muffin. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool for another 5 minutes. Serve warm. 
Note: Muffins are best when eaten the day they are prepared but if you want to store them, I recommend freezing the muffins in an airtight ziploc bag. 

sea salt chocolate muffins

Sea salt chocolate muffin

On some mornings, all I want is a muffin, a deep and dark chocolate muffin with my coffee. Okay, perhaps more than one would be ideal and even perfect but either way I really like a good dose of cocoa in them. It's really the best way for me to double my daily am dose of caffeine with a whole lot of joy! Coffee with chocolate it can't get any better than that.

Brown sugar

I never ate a lot of muffins because most of the time they were either too sweet or too greasy and they also never had any interesting flavors that I would have wanted to try. Personally, I like my breakfast muffins to be multigrain or wholegrain based and I am a big fan of oat and oat bran in the mornings. So with the desire to keep things wholesome, I added a couple of different flours into the batter; oat bran, brown rice and whole-wheat give a delicious soft and grainy texture. 

Sea salt chocolate muffins

This is a very deep dark chocolatey muffin with a little bit of sea salt on the crust. When you take a bite into the muffin, the combination of the sea salt with the dark chocolate is simply amazing. The flavors intensify and every subsequent bite is even more exciting than the first, exactly the way I'd like to start my mornings. 

Muffin cocoa and salt

You only need to sprinkle a few salt crystals on top of each muffin, halfway through baking. If you put them on before they will start to sink which is why I recommend placing them once the muffins are slightly firm on the surface but not completely baked. I used a standard 12 cup muffin pan to bake these guys and you could use a smaller sized 24 cup pan as well, just make sure you divide the batter equally between the cups in the pan. You can eat these muffins warm or even at room temperature. Store them in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 

Whole grain sea salt chocolate muffin


sea salt chocolate muffins

yields: 12 muffins

ingredients 

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon dark roast instant coffee powder
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled
1 2/3 cups brown sugar
5 large eggs, chilled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used the madagascar bourbon variety)
1/2 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons sea salt crystals

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and place the wire rack in the middle position. Line a standard muffin cake pan with baking cup liners. 
Mix and sift all the dry ingredients from the cocoa to the baking powder.  Transfer any grain bits back to the dry mix. Keep aside.
2. Cube the butter and transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar and fix the paddle attachment to the mixer. Cream the butter and sugar on medium low speed for 5 minutes. Add one egg at a time and beat until completely smooth.  Add the vanilla and mix for another 30 seconds on medium low speed. 
3. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients from step 1 to the creamed eggs. Mix on medium low speed until smooth and completely blended, approximately 3 minutes. Add the yogurt to the batter and beat for 1 minute. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and beat for another 3 minutes until completely mixed.
4. Divide the batter equally among the muffin pan cups. Bake the muffins for 12 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the salt crystals over the muffins. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes until the centers are firm to touch or skewer comes out clean from the center of the muffin. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool further.

oat bran and yogurt teacakes

Oat bran yogurt teacakes


I've had an amazing time in Charleston, it was everything I expected and so much more. The people are friendly, the city is historic and beautiful, and the food delicious. The beaches are clean and the water warm enough to swim in, I could not have been happier. This trip turned out to be a perfect summer holiday, there are several great places to eat at, some new and some old with each offering a distinct and fun menu. Some of my favorite places on the trip were Butcher and Bee, Saffron and Sermet's. Downtown.
Even as an adult, I still love fireworks and the spectacular show at Charleston did not disappoint. From the city's aquarium, we had an amazing view of the colorful display of lights that filled up the dark skies. Here are some of the photographs of the dazzling fireworks that for some reason always remind me of supernovas and comets.

Fireworks 2
Fireworks
Fireworks and teacake

I have an obsession with all things concerning yogurt, I eat yogurt daily and use it often in cooking. I drink it after my daily workouts in shakes and smoothies as my protein source. A few months ago, I posted a recipe on using Siggi's filmjólk to prepare a saffron and almond drink, over time I got adventurous and started to incorporate this Icelandic drink into several different recipes at home. One reason why I consume and use Siggi's dairy products is because of their company's commitment to using sustainable and eco-friendly practices and the taste is wonderfully tangy. The versatility of their dairy products makes it a useful ingredient to have on hand and just as it did in these oat bran teacakes. These teacakes are delightful and beyond tea or dessert are also great to eat at breakfast. Besides the Icelandic yogurt, there's healthy and delicious oat bran, ground almond meal (with the husk/skin), and some whole-wheat pastry flour. To make it a little more adult (which is completely optional), I added in some reduced red wine for color and created a few swirls. If you do skip the red wine, then skip step#2 and the swirling portion in step#5. 

Lemon Zesting

I can't believe how time flies, this month marks the second year of my blog. When I first began A Brown Table, I wondered if I could keep up with a weekly schedule and the demands of maintaining an active blog. That part is still hard and finding a balance between life and blogging can sometimes be challenging. So much has changed too with this blog, I learned a little bit of CSS, HTML and photography over time and incorporated new ideas and styles with every post. I've made mistakes on this journey and learned from them but every upcoming post makes me excited to share my food, photographs and stories with you. I do hope that you have enjoyed them along the way.

What would a blog birthday be without free gifts and the folks at Siggi's were extremely kind to sponsor a giveaway to celebrate the wonderful two years. The rules for this contest are simple, all you need to do is leave a comment below this post on how you would use Siggi's and visit the Facebook pages and click the like buttons for both A Brown Table and Siggi's. I will randomly select five winners who will receive a free bottle of filmjólk and 4 cups of skyr, via the Rafflecopter widget below (so please sign up through the widget). This contest is only open to residents in the United States (due to shipping reasons, sorry). This contest will run through July 17th and the five winners will have 48 hours to respond, otherwise I will have to select someone else. So hurry up and enter to win and try some delicious Icelandic filmjólk and skyrr from the  folks at Siggi's! Please share this with your friends on Twitter and/or Pinterest!

oat bran and yogurt teacakes

yields: 6 mini bundt cakes

ingredients

2 cups red wine (optional)
1 stick butter, chopped at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup oat bran
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unflavored plain non-fat Siggis' filmjólk
neutral cooking oil spray

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and set a wire rack at mid level height.
2. Reduce the wine to 1/4 cup in a thick bottom saucepan on a medium flame. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Remove and keep aside to cool.
3. Fix the paddle attachment to a stand mixer and cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the lemon extract and lemon zest to the batter and beat for another minute. 
4. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the oat bran, flour, almond meal, baking powder, and baking soda. Add half of the flour mix to the batter and mix for a minute until combined. Pour the filmjólk into the batter with the rest of the flour mix and beat until completely combined.
5. Spray and grease six mini bundt pans with the cooking oil spray. Divide the batter equally among the pans. Add a teaspoon of the reduced wine on top of the batter and each pan and with a clean skewer stir the wine a little in the batter to create random swirl patterns. Place the bundt pans on a baking tray about an inch from each other. Bake the cakes in the preheated oven on the wire rack for 30 minutes until a skewer or knife comes out clean from the center.  Remove the pans and flip the onto a clean plate and allow the cakes to cool inside the bundt pans. After 10 minutes, tap the individual pans carefully to release the cakes. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool to room temperature completely before serving.

Disclaimer: I did not receive any financial compensation for this product, all opinions stated here are my own.

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