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Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

Yes, I love chocolate. Just as much as the next person. I used to be the type that couldn’t resist a chocolate dessert. If chocolate cake/mousse/torte/souffle was on the menu, I’d kiss all else goodbye, turning my back on rhubarb crisp and panna cotta without a second thought. These days — especially these hot summer days — big chocolate desserts have taken a back seat. Back in May, at 2Amys, I had a flawless rhubarb-almond tart to chase the sardine, broccoli rabe, and tomato pizza I’d had for dinner. Two weeks ago, dining with old friends at Jaleo, we chose soft, tender flan and rich, vanilla-spiked basque cake to finish our meal.

Blame it on the heat, but not entirely on the heat: these days, it’s rare that I enjoy a chocolate dessert as much as I savor the clean snap of a piece of chocolate itself. Chocolate pudding is still a regular work snack, and I made a feathery, simple chocolate cake for a friend’s bachelorette party last week, but as a general rule, I’m just more excited by peach cake and sour cherry torte.

I haven’t written off chocolate altogether, though; I’m just incorporating it into baked goods in moderation. These muffins are an example. They don’t hit you over the head with chocolate, but good quality cocoa and (if you’d like) little bits of chocolate perfume and flavor the muffins just the right amount. “Just the right amount” = enough to eat chocolate for breakfast and not feel the least bit guilty about it.

As if the chocolate weren’t enough of a draw, I swirled homemade raspberry jam through the batter and topped each muffin with a couple fresh raspberries. Cherries or strawberries would also be great, and they’re easier to fold into the batter. If you have your heart set on raspberries and want them in the muffins instead of just on top, you can freeze them — that way they’ll be firm enough to incorporate without turning to mush.

Not that I’d complain about a chocolate muffin laced with raspberry jam and smushed raspberries…

Chocolate Raspberry Muffins
adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours
Makes 12 muffins

3/4 of a stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped; 2 ounces if you don’t want chunks in the muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk; can substitute milk with squeeze of lemon
1 large egg
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons raspberry jam
1 pint raspberries, fresh if using to top muffins, frozen (not thawed) if you plan to fold them into the batter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners sprayed with nonstick spray, or with silicon liners. If using fre

Melt butter and half the chocolate in microwave or over low heat on stove, just until uniformly incorporated. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another large bowl, whisk buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Pour wet ingredients and chocolate-butter mixture into dry ingredients and mix with rubber spatula just until dry ingredients disappear. Fold in remaining chopped chocolate, if using, and raspberries, if folding into batter. Drop three tablespoons jam into batter in different spots, and use a knife to swirl into batter.

Transfer batter into muffin tin, filling each cup about 3/4 full. If using fresh raspberries, top each muffin with 3 or 4, pressing them into batter if desired. Bake 20 minutes. Remove muffin tin from oven and transfer to cooling rack. When tin is cool enough to touch, remove muffins, in liners, to cool directly on rack.

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