I’ll probably never go as far as believing that heaven exists, but I certainly have discovered Chocolate Heaven.
I’m one of those people who find it hard to believe in what they cannot prove, or see in front of their eyes: be it gods, ghosts, miracles, alien life on other planets, or the possibility of my food belly gradually beginning to disappear after more than one month of jogging sessions on Saturday mornings. My scepticism goes as far as feeling uncomfortable every time something like “thank God” or “thank heavens” inadvertently slips from my mouth: how can I possibly thank something I don’t even believe in? If I thank it, I must be agreeing that it’s out there, somewhere. Cheap philosophy aside, we do have an alternative, in Italian, but I doubt that anyone who speaks proper English would ever say something along the lines of “thank the sky”. Perhaps “thank goodness” would sound more appropriate, or “thank luck”, or “thank-whatever-the-hell-you-want-as-long-as-you-shut-up-now” – but I need to find out, for the past couple of weeks have been unexpectedly amazing. I need someone or something to thank for all the beautiful things coming my way, without necessarily turning to someone else’s divinities.
But let’s go back to Chocolate Heaven. I have seen it, touched it, smelled it, tasted it – the whole package, yes, and I’d have it again any time. I first discovered it when I first tasted a slice of chocolate fudge cake; apparently it’s a British favourite, and I can only blame myself for having waited six, seven months before gathering the courage to have some. I’ll never make it at home, though: I can only forget my dread of overly buttery cakes when I’m eating out, and can afford to be blissfully oblivious to what’s inside my food. Out of sight, out of mind, they say – and it’s certainly true in my case, since I’ll never be able to follow any recipe that contains more than 200 grams of butter with a light heart and the firm consciousness that the result will be delicious. Because you see, the thing about butter is that the more of it you use, the more soft and delicious your bakes will be!
My last slice of chocolate fudge cake dates back to last September – it’s quite an achievement that I’ve managed to stay off it for so long. I do miss it, but not as much as I would if I hadn’t found other ways of plunging into Chocolate Heaven in the meantime. The first one is stuffing myself on the chocolate egglets my mother generously provides every time she comes to visit, or sends a parcel of motherly care: usually something to read, one or two essential props I forgot on my last trip back home, and a pack of Lindt chocolates. The second one is paying a visit to Hotel Chocolat, which I did quite often during the Easter weekend, thanks to the gift vouchers my boyfriend collected from his work: I still have to taste theie Florentines, which look superlative, but the Hazelnut Praline squares I tried were just as excellent. The third one (possibly a plan for next weekend) is going to Broadway Market on a Saturday morning and treating myself to a slice of Vegan Chocolate Cake (no butter? No eggs? No dairy? Too good to be true, and yet it is!). The fourth one, that is this week’s Breaking Baking News, is making these muffins, which are hands down the best ones I made so far.
Double Chocolate Dark Muffins
(makes 10 – 12 muffins)
I stumbled on this recipe while looking for a way to get rid of some cream I had to use before its expiry date. If you’re facing the same problem, I highly recommend that you try these muffins, as there’s no better use you could do of leftover cream. Not even pouring it on a of strawberries – may I just remind you that there’s no chocolate involved there?
- 250g plain flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 30g cocoa powder
- 30g granulated sugar
- 175g dark chocolate chips
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 125g double cream
- 185ml skimmed milk
- 90g butter, melted
- Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder, and mix them in a bowl.
- Add 130g chocolate chips and all the sugar.
- Add the egg, cream, milk and melted butter, and stir well with a fork or hand mixer, until the batter is smooth.
- Pour the batter into a greased muffin tin, and add the remaining chocolate chips on top.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180° and bake for 12- 15 minutes, until the muffins are firm to the touch, and a skewer of flat knife stuck in the middle of a muffin comes out clean of any crumbs.
- Once the muffins are ready, leave them aside for a couple of hours. The chocolate chips will melt and get quite sticky, so make sure you only take the muffins out of the tin after they have completely cooled down.