Beating the cold with chocolate

Everyone is in for a hot chocolate?” I asked our friends M. and A. as we all sat around the table. It was early afternoon and despite the bright sun shining outside, it felt bitterly cold. We didn’t mention it but we felt glad to be sitting inside. Home to drink hot chocolate. And eat muffins.

“You don’t mind if my muffins have cocoa in them too, do you? I added, suddenly unsure that we should actually drink hot chocolate to go along with the muffins I’d baked.

A. was the first to look at me. His face lit up with a wide smile that made him look like a child excited to be standing in front of a piece of beautiful candy.

Are you kidding?

baking

He was right. What was I thinking? It didn’t matter that we had them together because when it’s cold and snowy outside and the fireplace is going–and it feels so toasty warm that I could almost sleep inside it–I cannot help but think about Chocolate. Baking. Muffins.

These words sound so melodious when they are put side by side. Enchanting. They feel cozy.

Baking, to start, has a magic buzz. It carries this je-ne-sais-quoi that invariably makes me feel peaceful. Secure. When it happens spontaneously, I like that I don’t feel the need to be original. A list of ingredients naturally flows in my head and that’s enough to start the process. I’ve done the maths and tried the combination so often before that I am confident that nothing can go wrong. Nothing can get between me and my muffins.

And Chocolate, more precisely.

banana cocoa muffins

It’s something that I’ve noticed. The fact that I obviously enjoy making all kinds of dessert. From fruit tarts, clafoutis, petits pots de crème, oeufs à la neige, crumbles, charlottes. But that one way or the other, I invariably come back to anything that involves chocolate.

Chocolate. It’s a charming word that I just know oh too well will make my stomach smile in any occasion.

And these muffins were indeed just right. They used delicate unsweetened cocoa (Valrhona is a favorite), flours with character, and bananas that made them moist. The muffins felt light and nutritious.

Anyone for a second?” I asked as we were engaged in a lively conversation.

Of course!” A. was once again the first to respond. I watched him pick a second muffin and felt pleased. I’ve always liked that he has such an obvious enthusiasm for desserts.

I also told him to bring the muffins left home. I thought he might enjoy one on his flight back to Paris. But as I was clearing the table shortly after they’d left, I realized he’d simply forgotten.

Ah well,” I thought. “Tant pis !” (bummer)

I didn’t tell him but in the end, I was glad that he had forgotten. I was thinking about the walk I’d have in the cold with Lulu the next day, and despite the fact that I’d have my feet frozen and my cheeks and nose turned pink red from too much wind, I’d feel quite happy to have yet another hot chocolate and muffin moment.

Deep inside, you know, I am really a winter kind of girl.

And I think that Lulu is learning to turn into one too.

Non?

Cocoa, hazelnut and banana muffins

For 10 muffins

You need:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/3 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Fleur de sel
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted + more to dust
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup blond cane sugar
  • 7 tablespoons (100 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork

Steps:

  • In a bowl, combine the flours with the baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt; set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a muffin pan with paper cases; set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and light in color.
  • Stir in the melted butter, vanilla and bananas.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Fill the paper cases 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool on a rack and when ready to serve, dust with cocoa.
Le coin français
Muffins au cacao, aux noisettes et aux bananes

Pour 10 muffins

Ingrédients :

  • 70 g de farine de quinoa
  • 45 g de farine d’amaranth
  • 30 g de poudre de noisettes
  • 1 càc de poudre à lever
  • 1/2 càc de bicarbonate de soude
  • 1/4 càc de Fleur de sel
  • 4 càs de cacao en poudre non sucré, tamisé + pour saupoudrer
  • 2 oeufs
  • 100 g de sucre de cane blond
  • 100 g de beurre non salé, fondu
  • 1 càc d’extrait de vanille pur
  • 2 bananes bien mûres, écrasés avec une fourchette

Etapes :

  • Dans un bol, mélangez les farines, la poudre de noisettes, la poudre à lever, la bicarbonate de soude, le cacao et la Fleur de sel; mettez de côté.
  • Préchauffez le four à 180 C et mettez des caissettes en papier dans les alvéoles d’un moule à muffins; mettez de côté.
  • Dans le bol de votre mixeur à pied, battez les oeufs avec le sucre jusqu’à blanchiment.
  • Ajoutez le beurre fondu, la vanille et les bananes et mélangez pour que la préparation soit homogène.
  • Ajoutez ensuite les ingrédients secs.
  • Remplissez les caissettes en papier aux 3/4 et cuisez les muffins pendant environ 25 minutes. Laissez refroidir sur une grille et saupoudrez de cacao amer au moment de servir.

73 comments

  1. yep, no problem with hot chocolate and chocolate muffins together when it’s so cold outside! :) oh and your little lulu, all bundled up in cozy layers – soooo kawaii!!! too adorable.

    here’s my rather late wishes for a wonderful 2010 for you and yours! x

  2. Une question, je connais l’amarante comme fleur, mais pas la farine. D’où provient-elle, où la trouve-t-on et quelle goût a-t-elle ? En fait cela fait 3 questions.

  3. Wow wow wow my husband will loooove these! and how have I not made hot chocolate yet this season?? On it…

  4. Amazing!!–oh and that muffin recipe with those flours! wow–I must try this. Merci!

    and the Lulu’s little eyes peeking up at the world from her bundles–precious!

  5. Thank you Chika! The very same to you! Cannot wait to see and admire your photos and new travels with food!

    Vanille, si tu recherches en ligne, par exemple, tu peux trouver des sites comme celui-ci: http://www.ekitabl.com/achat/produit_details-25-4846.html. Je pense que cette farine doit se trouver facilement dans des magasins bio en France?

    Sarah, good for you!

    Merci Monique. Ils sont tout tout bleus ;-)

  6. these sound amazing! could you substutute all-purpose flour for the three varieties you list in your recipe? those are a little hard to come by in the Chicago suburbs! :)

  7. You just know how to enjoy winter weather, I like it! Chocolate! Wonderful. Your muffins look scrumptious. I’d love to make them but I don’t know where can I buy those flours in London. I had looked for a quinoa flour already but with no success.
    Gorgeous photo of Lulu! She’s very sweet.

  8. I am a fall kind of girl, but I could become a winter one if only I could count on a tray of moisty chocolate muffins when I get home from office with “frozen feet” and “pink cheeks”!

  9. Too bad you have issues finding the flours! have you checked resources on line? Of course, you can always substitute with all-purpose flour, but I tend to believe that the taste is not as nice. I’ve become really addicted to these flours, I must say….on top, they are filled with nutrients and protein.

  10. I absolutely love your blog and you amazing photographs and writing style. However, there is something I always wanted to ask, forgive me if I mentions something I shouldn’t….. Are you and Canelle and Vanille (http://cannelle-vanille.blogspot.com/2008/01/about-cannelle-et-vanille.html) related or partners somehow? I also love her blog, but the similarities are amazing… Today, both blog photos are eggs on the same kind of box, same angle, same… well. Just curious, though. Both of you do a wonderful job and I will keep on being a fan of both ! =)
    Have a wonderful 2010!
    Ana

  11. Hi Ana,

    Thank you for your note. No harm at all. Aran and I have met before actually, when I presented at the Food Styling and Photography conference back in June, in Boston. So no, we are not partners by any means, or related. I guess it must happen that we just like the same things. Have a great 2010 too, and thanks for stopping by!

  12. So gorgeous, Béa – Lulu is just too adorable! Bonne Année et bonne anniversaire (avec du retard) à ta belle.

  13. Bea, these are amazing. I just started baking with quinoa flour but have not tested amaranth yet. Is there a ratio that should be followed when using the different flours? I used all quinoa today because there was only a small amount of flour in the recipe. The light in these photos is breathtaking. You are just getting better and better. Love it!

  14. Lovely story Bea. Isn’t funny…even as adults, we seem to have to give ourselves permission to eat something? In my book, chocolate with chocolate is allowed anytime!

    PS – I adore the dark blue board the muffins are on for their close-up…the color is just perfect for highlighting dark foods!

  15. somehow I have enjoyed the cold this season, I think part of the reason is that i have used it as a reason to stay inside and get crafty without feeling like I have to get outside and DO something! haha! these muffins sound sinful and the hot chocolate would be a perfect compliment!
    lulu is sooooo cute with her fur hat!

  16. These muffins look really good…and of course I can never comment on your blog without mentioning how beautiful your photos are! I wish you gave classes and I wish I lived near you:)

    Joyeux Noël et bonne année!!

    Nisrine

  17. I can’t believe I just wished you “Joyeux Noël”. I just did the same thing while commeting on another blog the other day. The season is still in my head:)

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  19. such lovely white wintery light in your photos – thanks for yet another wonderful gf muffin recipe – you keep inspiring with your muffins – and lovely photo of lulu – I love winter but when it comes to babies, after a recent winter sojurn in scotland, I appreciate the simplicity of my sylvia wearing so little in the heat and the clothes drying on the line so easily in our Australian summer

  20. Your muffins are amazing! I’ll be absolutely making them for the weekend! I’m a winter kind of girl too but unfortunately it’s almost summer here (Crete), winter just doesn’t want to visit us yet!…Your photos are beautiful, especially the last one! :-)

  21. The muffins look really delicious! Have to make them soon. Haven’t heard about amaranth flour before. Hopefully I will get it somewhere!
    Love the picture with Lulu. The little winter girl!

  22. Ils ont l’air délicieux et moelleux grace à la banane. Jolie photo de Lulu toute enmitoufflée. Une question,sur tes photos il y a parfois ces jolies petites cuillères colorées (mauve,noire….)où est-ce que tu les trouves??Merci. Bizz et meilleurs voeux!

  23. You are sooooo right, this weather, also here in Europe, gets us in the mood for chocolate and chocolate and more chocolate.
    I have to try this muffins recipe.

  24. Hi Bea.. Do you think I can substitute rice bran for amaranth or quinoa as I can’t find them here where I live. Many thanks..

  25. I recently made a yummy chocolate and banana muffin, but the recipe was also decidedly different than yours. I love how you used hazelnut flour. (And the quinoa – one of my favorite flours!) I bet that tastes wonderful with the cocoa. Gorgeous photos.

  26. Hot chocolate and muffins – perfect for the cold weather. When it’s wintery here my children all say ‘I think it’s a hot chocolate day today’!
    I wonder if you make your hot chocolate with melted chocolate or with cocoa powder?

  27. Excellent post, as always! The photos are great–and your model is more beautiful everytime you share her with us. When I serve cocoa with chocolate I like to add a pinch of black pepper to the cocoa. It shifts the flavor just a bit.

  28. allez zoup ! fini de lire ton billet et les muffins sont au four mm si tous les ingredients ne sont pas reunis :)
    les enfants rentrent ds 30′, ils seront tt contents que j’ai encore “trainer” sur internet ;)
    Bonne annee a toi !

  29. Ho lovely. There’s nothing like a chocolate snack with hot chocolate on a cold day in front of a roaring fire. Very inspirational.

  30. Bea,
    I have just baked these muffins. Ils sont fantastiques!!!!! Thank you for the recipe!
    Zita

  31. Those muffins look divine, and that picture of your baby girl is just too precious. Thanks for sharing. I need to figure out where I can buy the variety of flours you use, and then get baking!

  32. Yum, chocolate muffins and hot chocolate are prefect together. And Lulu has the most beautiful eyelashes! Enjoy the rest of winter.

  33. Always such incredible visuals, and beautifully written – I adore you blog! And your ode to chocolate almost made me crave cold weather so I can enjoy a mug of hot choc (even though it’s stinking hot here in cape Town).

  34. Thank you everyone for coming and leaving a comment! Always like to hear your feedback.

    Aran, as to amaranth flour, it’s definitely a good friend to chocolate. It’s also a flour very *thin*, similar to buckwheat in that sense. I would not recommend using it on its own, beside for baked goods that do not require any rising. That’s why it’s good to combine it with flours like quinoa, or wheat, if you use it, because those are good conductors for the baked goods to rise. Quinoa flour, in the realm of gluten free flours, is an excellent flour to provide moistness because it has a higher fat contents. Hope that helps. Let me know how it goes.

  35. Lovely as usual. I have a bag of Quinoa flour in my pantry but haven’t had the guts to attempt using it yet. This looks like a good one to start on.

  36. I made these last night, to cheer us up as we have been snowed in for over a week in Wales! Fortunately, our supplies had not dwindled so much that we didn’t have cocoa, but I used chestnut flour and wheat as they were all I had. They are absolutely delicious, perfect for lifting spirits in the middle of winter! Thank you for giving us a chocolate high!

  37. Hi Béa, like Gosia I’d like to know what light do you use in these pictures and what makes them so fresh and dreaming? I’m totally bad with my dslr so, pretty please!

  38. Ce post et les photos m’ont vraiment donné envie de faire ces muffins…merci!! C’était chose faite hier soir (bon avec de la farine normale et des noix car je n’avais pas de poudre de noisette…). J’ai bien aimé la texture et j’essaierai la recette originale à l’occasion.

  39. So glad you enjoyed them Meli.

    Koek,

    So lovely, I love Rooibos tea. Thanks for your sweet note.

    And thank you, of course, to everyone! Merci à tous pour vos messages.

  40. Thanks Bea- the quinoa worked great for the pudding cakes. Very light. Now on my third batch of chocolate and banana cupcakes using teff and playing with other flours. I find I have to use a lot of oil. This last one seems to have worked best. Thanks again!

  41. Je me demandais que faire de mon ‘reste’ de farine de quinoa… Je ne me le demande plus maintenant :) Merci Béa pour cette recette alléchante :)

  42. How funny, I’lve just come up with a gluten free cupcake recipe too then I stopped by you blog and thought ah les grands esprits se rencontrent!

  43. Je comprends que tes invités aient été ravis ! Ils me tentent beaucoup tes muffins parce que moi aussi, quand il fait froid dehors, je n’ai qu’une envie c’est de rester au chaud et de cuisiner !

  44. i’m a winter girl too, and i envy you because i’m sweltering in the southern hemisphere – but thanks for the gorgeous recipe! and i suppose we must always be thankful for what we have.

  45. Bea, je suis d’autant plus renversée. Je sais maintenant quelle est ma résolution pour 2010. Trouver des oeufs bleus. Ou encore, pour ma retraite, élever des poules pondeuses d’oeufs bleus. Je suis très sérieuse. Merci pour toutes ces découvertes que tu nous fais faire.

  46. the chocolate muffin looks delicious, the baby is so cute, you photograph pretty good.

  47. Made these muffins twice and they are oh so very good. It’s hard to describe how they make me feel. They are chocolately rich and deliciously satisfying to say the least. These leave my mouth feeling clean and fresh, something wheat flour muffins could never do. Never felt that before after eating muffins or cakes, but I do after eating these. Of all the recipes I have tried that are gluten free, yours are the BEST. I mean this too. I love the way you combine nutritious flours with just the right amount of sweetness that leaves me fulfilled and happy. With the diet I am on you saved my life. Thanks Bea!!!

  48. I’ve been drooling over your blog a long long time now, it’s simple and beautiful! I’m starting a new blog soon and was wondering where you host yours and what platform you use. Sorry if you’ve answered this question before, I couldn’t find it using search. Thanks for the eye candy you’ve been feeding this world!

  49. belle recette…. ça à l’air délicieux!!! en tant que vrai gourmande; mon blog ne peut dire le contraire, cette recette a tout pour me plaire.
    Tres joli blog, gourmand!!!!

  50. Bea,

    Ria and I just made your delicious muffins ! We are enjoying them here on a cold but blue skyed afternoon here in Ireland. We enjoyed them with our hot chocolates.

  51. Oh wonderful Janette. So glad to hear. Big hugs to both of you and Charles! Hot chocolate just sounds right at the moment, even if it feels like Spring here today!

  52. I just stumbled onto your website. I can’t wait to try some of these recipes. Do you think that the flax/water egg substitute would work in these recipes as my son can’t have eggs?

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  55. Another great recipe from the pro… I must admit I am already a great follower. Every time I wanted to cook I really visit first your blog for ideas and techniques. I really find comfort reading blog post especially when it comes to cooking.

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