March 17, 2014

Salted Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Sweet whole wheat muffins with a tender crumb and melty chocolate chips!  The salt on top is optional, but highly recommended as it brings out the chocolate - oh, and there is no butter or cow's milk; these are dairy free!

I am addicted to Foodgawker.
It is so fun to look through all the beautiful photos of creative food!  Anytime I need inspiration, I go there.  It promises quality pictures and a wide variety of recipes.  And there is no weeding through hundreds of the same recipe on Pinterest because it happens to be incredibly popular.  Don't get me wrong, I am also a major Pinterest junkie, but Foodgawker makes my little food blogger heart very happy.
I found this recipe from Pretty Simple Sweet and learned so much from her post!  She revealed all the secrets to a bakery style muffin.  And as you can tell, they work!

Go read the whole post (her photos are really pretty as well) but I will share the one trick that stood out to me.  It makes perfect sense and works like a charm! 
Want tall, domed muffins?  Begin baking them at a higher temperature and after a few minutes, lower it to the temperature. This way, the muffins rise quickly and the outside edges will set faster than the center, causing the muffin to have a peak.  Then, they can finish baking at the lower temperature so the edges don't get too brown.  I don't like flat muffins, I mean, that domed top is the best part!  Sometimes, I'll just eat the top part ... please tell me I'm not the only one.

Ah, yes, the top part.  That is straight kosher salt.  You could definitely use coarse sugar, we just never have it on hand.  And I love the way it looks on baked goods. 
If you aren't into the sweet and salty, omit it or use coarse sugar, I won't judge.  I bet it would amazing!  But I love getting the mini chocolate chips and the salt together.  It really brings out the chocolate and adds that addictive saltiness.  My family was split on this, so really, it is up to your personal preference.  It isn't the make it or break it ingredient, but it is what makes this recipe different. ;)
Thanks to canola (or coconut oil) and dairy free chocolate chips, these are friendly to any lactose intolerant diets.  Even better, you don't miss the dairy!  As far as chocolate chip muffins, this is my favorite recipe to date. 
Using mini chocolate chips spreads out the melty chocolate pockets on the inside of the muffin, making these extra delicious while warm. 
They are perfectly domed, with the crusty, bread reminiscent top that bakeries are known for. 
They are lightly sweetened, making them feel dessert worthy, when in reality, you could totally eat one for breakfast.  They're healthy, with only 2-1/2 tablespoons of oil between six hefty muffins, which are 100% whole wheat. 
And even though they are whole wheat, they aren't dry or flat. 
Finally, aren't they just about the prettiest things you've ever seen?

I might just be a tad bit obsessed.

Salted Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins
Recipe Source: The Sweet {Tooth} Life.  Adapted from Pretty Simple Sweet
Yield: 6 muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 egg
1/2 cup almond milk*
2-1/2 tablespoons canola oil (or melted coconut oil)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips**

Topping (opt):
Enjoy Life chocolate chips
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425F degrees.  
Grease12 muffin cups.
In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
Add sugar.
In a medium bowl, mix the egg with the milk, oil and vanilla extract.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula just until combined. Do not overmix. The batter should be quite thick and lumpy. Fold in chocolate chips.
Divide the mixture between the muffin cups almost all the way to the top. Bake for 3 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 375F/190C and continue to bake for an additional 12-17 minutes (this is for standard size muffins. See post notes for jumbo and mini muffins baking times) until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

*If you aren't lactose intolerant, you can substitute regular cow's milk. 
**If you aren't lactose intolerant, you can substitute regular mini chocolate chips.

More muffins!  (I think they are my favorite thing to photograph)

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