Where has the time gone?? I can't believe it is February already.
With January out of the way and Valentine approaching a chocolate fix would do us good 🙂
Here you have a simple chocolate muffin recipe. Inside each muffin I have put a candied cherry but I think the best cherries (as fresh ones are not in season now) would probably be the ones in syrup as they are more moist and juicy. Alternatively you can leave them out and swap them for more chocolate which is always nice anyway.
The topping is made with ricotta, powdered sugar and cocoa powder, a bit different to the classic icing you normally find on top of muffins. Much more to my taste and above all it is lighter and healthier.
I usually celebrate Valentine but as a family; it is an opportunity for another delicious dinner with a yummy and possibly romantic dessert afterwards. I am not sure what I will be cooking yet but probably I will go for shellfish as both my children seem to love it so much. I also usually get those Italian chocolates called "Baci Perugina" which are traditional for Valentine. They are chocolates with a hazelnut inside and a romantic message.
Perfect. Another opportunity for a feast!
- Prep Time : 15 minutes
- Cook Time : 25 minutes
- Yield : 10
- plain flour - 200 g - 1 + 2/3 cup
- eggs - 2
- butter - 100 g - slightly less then 1/2 cup
- sugar - 150 g - 2/3 cup
- cocoa powder unsweetened - 60 g - 5/8 cup
- vanilla essence - 1 tsp
- baking powder - 2 tsp
- milk - 150 ml - 5 fl oz (or enough to make a smooth consistency)
- cherries in syrup or candied
- for the topping:
- ricotta - 250 g - just over 1 cup
- powdered sugar - 150 g - 1 + 1/4 cup
- unsweetened cocoa powder - 40 g - 3/8 cup
- chocolate pieces (milk of dark) - 100 g - 5/8 cup
- candied cherries or in syrup and colourful sugary pearls - to decorate
Melt the butter over a low heat.
In a bowl whip the eggs with the sugar.
Add the vanilla essence, the sifted flour, the melted butter, the cocoa powder, the baking powder and mix well. Add a little bit of milk at a time, enough to make a soft and smooth mixture of a semi-runny consistency.
Put one tbsp of mixture into (approximately) 10 muffin cases (there might be less or more muffins depending on how large your cases are) then add a cherry and a piece of chocolate and cover up with some more mixture. Fill the muffin cases two-thirds full.
Make sure you cover up well the cherries and the chocolate levelling the top of the mixture with a spoon.
Bake at 180C or 350F for approximately 20/25 minutes then remove them from the oven and let them cool down.
Make the ricotta topping by mixing the ricotta with the cocoa powder and the powdered sugar. Mix well to make a soft mousse.
With a piping bag or with a spoon pipe out the mousse on top of the muffins. Decorate with a cherry and with some sugary pearls (optional).