Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Muffins
Sunday morning saw me up at far, far earlier than I would have hoped – For some unknown and no doubt, evil reason – Miss thing’s team had decided that we needed to be up, dressed and presentable (and in Miss Thing’s case pretty-fied) by 8:30 for team pictures. On a Sunday. Did I mention it was evil? Oh – and I’d been up until 3:00 am the night before. Special, no? At any rate, when I came back from the hour long photoshoot, plus the obligatory hour or so of socializing and team bonding for the giggle of girls, I had to try and come up with something to make that I could bring to Mabon.
Initially I’d planned to make some sort of seasonal fruit dish with fruit from my recent FFTY box – but Miss Thing begged and begged and begged for something with chocolate in it – Brownies or Chocolate Cake or some such thing – to which I said no, but we finally managed to agree on Chocolate Chunk Muffins. Of course, I couldn’t let it go at just that. A recent post on Local Lemons for a Quick Bread that used Brown Butter had been kicking around in my head for a while, inspiring me and getting me thinking about ways that I could incorporate brown butter in to baked goods – and these muffins seemed like a good time to try it out.
And hoo-boy, was it ever a good idea. The Browned Butter added an interesting, carmel-y, nutty flavor. It was subtle, but unmistakable, and definitely something I want to try experimenting with more. It took a simple muffin recipe and made it special. The muffins ended up being used as part of the Circle for the Cakes portion – and I received many compliments on them. I hadn’t been paying much attention to things lately – the busy-ness has eaten my attention span, so I didn’t realize that we were currently in a Mercury Retrograde (although I’m totally not surprised) so things became a little snarled around circle. First one of my sisters ended up having vehicular issues and needed a ride. Then on Friday, I also developed vehicular issues. Don’t worry – everything is fine – although, vaguely humorous aside… we lost our power steering after watching District Nine on Friday. We hadn’t done anything different or unusual – we just got back in to the car after the movie and it wasn’t working. We managed to get home, and only drove sparingly over the weekend. On Monday I took it to the dealership and was told that somehow, we’d lost a belt. No damage that they could see – no reason for the missing belt was evident, no belt was left behind in the parking spot (that we saw) on Friday… the belt just got up and walked off, I guess.
Obviously, with no power steering, and no real idea of what was wrong with the steering, I didn’t want to chance driving very far – when I mentioned to the sister who was hosting the ritual that I was having transportation issues, among other things that were floating around the group – we ended up making a last-minute venue change for Mabon. To my house. Wooopsy! (I volunteered… and yes, I know I’m certifiable. It’s cool.) So directly after making these muffins, Mr. Man, Miss Thing and I started running around, raking up the worst of the debris that accumulates around a lived-in house, and did some light cleaning in preparation.It all worked out, and I think that everyone had a good time and oh yeah, muffins – they enjoyed the muffins.
I was a little short on time while I was making these – and one thing that I learned would be that next time I will brown the butter a few hours (or even a day or two) before I actually need it – because it was a teeny bit of a bottleneck. If you’re like me and working under a little bit of a time crunch – I found that it helped to pour the butter in to a wide, shallow dish (such as a plate) to increase the surface area exposure, and then place the butter in to the freezer for a few minutes. I still had a couple of small liquidy spots, but it really helped a great deal, and got me moving again. Initially I was planning on transporting the muffins, so I used paper liners – but that was simply a matter of convenience for transport – if I’d been making them for staying home, I’d have probably greased the muffin tins instead.
- 12 tbs Butter
- 1½ cups Sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup Milk
- 4 cups Flour
- 2 tbs Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 8 oz Bittersweet Chocolate; coarsely chopped in to chunks
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until butter develops a nutty smell and turns a golden brown in color (there will be browned solid bits floating around in it – which is good)
- Remove the butter from heat and transfer to a bowl or dish.
- Place the browned butter in to the refrigerator (or freezer if in a hurry) to re-solidify (These steps can be done several hours to several days beforehand)
- Preheat the oven to 375° and grease (or line with paper) 2 muffin tins
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and kosher salt
- In a separate bowl, lightly whisk together the milk and eggs
- Cream together the browned butter and sugar until well combined
- Alternate between the liquid ingredients and the flour mixture until combined
- Stir in Chocolate pieces
- Spoon in to muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and toothpick inserted in to center of a muffin comes out clean