Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins

What these muffins are not:

  1. at all Nutella flavored or including Nutella as an ingredient
  2. pumpkin muffins

Duh, they’re not pumpkin muffins. Why not? I’m still holding out, still not baking with pumpkin until I feel ready to fully embrace fall. I am determined to find the other flavors that bring this season to mind.

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Toasted hazelnuts are a fall flavor, right? I can’t say that I’ve ever purchased or even thought much about hazelnuts until I filled a sack with raw ones from the bulk bins last week. I was inspired by this post from The Healthy Foodie to make my own hazelnut butter. Before I knew it, the nuts were in a batch of muffins rather than jars of homemade spread. Next time, hazelnuts.

If you want something light but chocolatey, with some crunchy nuts and rich hazelnut flavor (which I might describe as sweet and sophisticated) then these muffins are for you. I’ll be honest. I was going for a mocha hazelnut muffin but somehow the coffee flavor didn’t make it to my taste buds. I didn’t miss it. I had Peet’s Cafe Domingo to sip alongside my mid-morning snack muffin…or dessert…or quick, healthy breakfast.

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Peet’s sent me these new roasts as part of the FoodBuzz Tastemakers program. They also sent this coupon for you, my lovely readers!

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The balanced blend of Central and South American coffees in Cafe Domingo had the “pure coffee taste” that Peet’s touted in literature on their new medium roast coffees. It doesn’t take a culinary genius to realize that coffee and chocolate snuggle up together to make a perfect buzz of nourishment and, for me, comfort. That may seem like a statement full of contradictions but a good cup of coffee and a chocolatey, nutty, healthy muffin really do trigger happy, calm feelings in me no matter what time of day I’m consuming them.

I broke out my mini Cuisinart for this operation. I often forget that I have a food processor, since I lived without it for so long on the boat. The mini size is perfect for chopping nuts and other ingredients that aren’t too voluminous. I’m also much more likely to get it out and use it when it’s small and clean-up is therefore easier! Still, sometimes I wish I had a big food processor : (

On a related note, I’m getting my new(old) mixer at the end of the month! My mom and aunt retrieved it from my grandmother’s house last month. I can’t wait to have this all-important device for a baker and I will think of my grandmother’s lemon bars ever time I use it (lemon bars were probably the last thing she baked for me, maybe the last thing she ever baked).

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Muffins were the perfect thing to bring me comfort this week. It’s been tough adjusting to my two internships that occupy a full 3 days of the workweek! I know, I’m a wimp. It’s just been a long time since I’ve had a “job” to go to. I’m surviving, though. I baked muffins. I took them with me. I commuted by bike, bus, and BART. I made claymation movies and helped middle schoolers with science projects. Most of my food became mobile but I managed not to starve. As a busy fall workday-tested recipe, I give these muffins an A+!

Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins
Adapted from Joy of Baking.com

1 3/4 cup flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry and 3/4 cup wheat)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular milk soured with a splash of vinegar)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup strong, black coffee
1/3 cup agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped

Check out this post for great instructions on roasting hazelnuts, or buy them already roasted.
Once you have your nuts taken care of, chop them finely by hand or in a food processor. Set aside.

Preheat oven to375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and cocoa powder.
Separately, beat eggs, buttermilk, applesauce, agave, and coffee, stirring in vanilla at the end.
Pour liquid ingredients into dry mixture and stir gently, folding in hazelnuts and stirring just until batter is barely combined.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are firm and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.

Although I didn’t try it, I’m betting these would be delicious with a little peanut butter spread on them!

2 Comments

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2 Responses to Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins

  1. Chocolate and hazelnuts were meant for each other (especially for breakfast!) and even if these don’t taste exactly like nutella…I’m certain they’re still seriously amazing!

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