When we first arrived in Miami from Cuba in 1961, a cousin took me to a bakery to get me a treat. Back then, Cubans had not yet taken over the town and this was an old fashioned cake bakery. She purchased a wonderful thing for me. It looked like a cupcake, but with a little more density. There was no frosting, but it had chocolate chips scattered through the entire thing. I didn’t know chocolate came in those little shapes. It was magical. I don’t remember anything else about the day and time after that point, but I do remember the taste and texture of this amazing creation and it was truly heavenly.
I would later to learn that this fabulous piece of deliciousness was a Chocolate Chip Muffin.
I spent the next many years of my life trying to find and isolate the ingredients that went into this dellectable treat.
I would find chocolate chip muffins in lots of places and sizes. Our local grocery store sells a reasonable facsimile. But when your memory has been imprinted with something, there can be no substitution. (This is what happened with me with Mantecado Ice Cream, too.) You know how when you want something to taste a certain way and you take a bite and it doesn’t? That was me in my disappointing hunt for that perfect Chocolate Chip Muffin. *sigh*
(The black coffee part obviously came many years after the intitial exposure to the beautiful muffin, but that’s not important right now.)
I tried so many and it wasn’t til I found one at Porto’s (of course!) that really lived up to the memory of that first perfect muffin. I would taste and try to deconstruct. It was perfect and beautiful. And not to complain or anything, but I am still 35 minutes out from the nearest Porto’s – for which I’m absolutely eternally grateful – but that’s still a Road Trip and technically not close enough to just jump into my car just to satisfy a muffin craving. Ya tu sabes.
But you know how we Cubans are – we excel at “resolviendo.” (Loosely translated: “taking care of business”)
I’m happy to report that with much trial and error I have mastered the great art of Chocolate Chip Muffin making that has finally alleviated the formerly unscratchable itch of having something alive in memory that was ellusive in real life. I got the heavier texture right because I went with cake flour instead of just all-purpose. They have chocolate chips all the way through so you get one in every bite. I’m kind of pleased with myself.
These muffins have now become a Darby family favorite. And that’s how I define “success.”
I’m going to share the recipe which you can use to make a dozen regular size muffins which are perfectly respectable, but the muffin of my dream is big and thick so I, personally end up with only 5 fat muffins per batch using a large muffin pan, which is alright with me because – full disclosure – I don’t share. (Don’t judge.)
You can also get the mini chocolate chips and make mini muffins. I’ll do that for my grandson.
But now I’m spoiled, you see. If you can call having to bake on the regular, “spoiled.” No other muffin will do. It has to be my very own Big, Fat Cuban Chocolate Chip Muffin Of Blessed Memory.
Unless, of course, you’re making a Road Trip to Porto’s and are feeling generous. I know. Shut up.
MARTA’S FAVORITE CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose or cake flour (I prefer cake flour, but all purpose will work, too.)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup MILK CHOCOLATE CHIPS (Not the semi-sweets) PLUS 1/4 cup reserved.
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Grease the muffin tin in your desired size. (I use spray Pam Cooking Spray.)
Beat the egg and add to the four mixture.
Add milk and vegetable oil, stirring only to moisten the flour. Mix in the 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips.
Bake in a hot oven (400 degrees) for 20 to 25 minutes. If you’re using a dark pan, start at around 18 minutes and add time if you need to.
Cool on wire rack.
Yield: 12 regular muffins, 6 large muffins, or 24 mini-muffins – depending on your pan of choice.
Serve with your favorite cup of coffee.
- 1½ cups cake flour or all purpuse flour
- ½ cup granualted sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg (beaten)
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup of MILK chocolate chips - ¾ cup plus ¼ cup reserved
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Beat the egg and add to the four mixture.
- Add milk and vegetable oil, stirring only to moisten the flour.
- Mix in the ¾ cup milk chocolate pieces.
- Fill greased muffin tins ⅔ full.
- Add the ¼ cup chocolate pieces - distributed evenly - on top of each muffin.
- Bake in a hot oven (400 degrees) for 20 to 25 minutes. If you're using a dark pan, start at 18 minutes and add time if you need to.
- Cool on wire rack.