I’m not a big fan of chocolate, but I had a half cup of cocoa taking up space in the cupboard, so I looked around to see if anyone ever made a cocoa muffin, because I wanted something lower on the scale of desserts—not too sweet and with a substantial texture somewhere between cake and bread. I also had some unsweetened shredded coconut taking up its own space, so I looked for coconut streusel recipes and added chopped walnuts—yes, a half cup of walnuts were sitting in the fridge staring at me. So this was pretty much a recipe to help clear up space in the kitchen.
I’ve been out of muffin cup liners and when I made blueberry muffins last week I just greased the tin and it worked fine. You know, sometimes they can stick, but it worked out fine. It seems like I am out of liners more often than not. I worried that these cocoa muffins might be more cake-like and wanted a liner this time, so I made them out of 5.5″ squares of parchment paper. There are a lot of instructions for homemade muffin liners on the web, with sizes varying from 4-6 inch squares. Another advantage to making the petal-style cups is that they stand up high and hold in the streusel, and then they just peel away on your plate without sticking to the muffin like some paper liners do. The hardest part is keeping them in place in the cup until you can add your scoop of batter. As you can see, I pulled all sorts of jars and bottles and salt shakers into action to hold them down.
Coconut Streusel Cocoa Muffins
Preheat oven to 400°
Coconut Walnut Streusel
Adapted from Valerie’s Cookbook “Coconut Streusel Topping”
I added a half cup of finely chopped walnuts to the recipe and ended up using only about half of it on the muffins, so I have almost a cup of it in the fridge, taking up the space where the walnuts used to be 😮
5 tablespoons melted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (cinnamon is great with chocolate, so you might add some to the muffin batter, too)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup flaked or shredded coconut (I only had shredded, but larger flakes would be more attractive)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (or whatever nuts are taking up space in your fridge)
Mix all ingredients except butter in small bowl. Add melted butter and mix until everything is moist enough to hold together if pinched. It will hold together eventually, so don’t give up on the mixing. I used a fork, and then began working it with my fingers until it was all uniform.
Adapted from Recipe Girl “Chocolate Muffins”
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (this was my addition and I think it had a good effect on both the taste and the texture of the muffin)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (you can boost the chocolate flavor with the addition of 1/2-1 teaspoon espresso powder)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix the coconut milk, oil, and egg in a large bowl with a wire whisk. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon—not the whisk—just until combined. Ya know, most people will waste a bowl mixing the dry ingredients together, but in most cases, I don’t see the need for that, any more than I see the need to sift all-purpose flour. I’m a rebel.
Fill the lined muffin cups using a large ice-cream scoop for uniformity. Mine is a 1/4 cup scoop that I overfill a little. You’ll have to experiment with the right size for your tins, but using the scoop also helps get the batter easily into the high fluted liners.
Spoon about 2 teaspoons streusel on each muffin. You will see the benefits of the high liners here. You can see in the photos how the streusel stays in place through the rising of the batter.
Bake about 20 minutes, or until the streusel is lightly browned and the muffin top resists your finger a little. I don’t like to poke test holes in my muffins, but I will in a larger quick bread.
See what you think of the muffin texture, which might be a little more dense than a white muffin. I think the extra fat from the coconut milk, in addition to the cocoa makes that difference.