I really have no business buying new cookbooks. I talked about my lack of bookshelf space here back in March, and since then I've added a couple new ones--I got Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert for Mother's Day, and not long afterwards picked up Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice (from which I've made some yummy cinnamon rolls and some Italian bread that's yet to be blogged about). I'm officially out of room. I don't actually have space for my copy of Baking From My Home to Yours on the shelf, but that's okay, since I use it every week anyway.
I've been diligently ignoring the Borders emails in my inbox, so I wouldn't be tempted by any coupons, either. I was doing really well until after last month's Daring Bakers cake. I really enjoyed it, and thought that it couldn't hurt to thumb through a copy of Carole Walter's Great Cakes at the bookstore. I successfully put it back on the shelf afterwards. I might have glanced at a few of her other cookbooks while I was there... and I kept thinking about one of them afterwards. The next day I discovered a 40% off coupon in my email, and I knew I was sunk.
So Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More came home with me. I like to make cakes, but I don't do it all the time. But breakfast foods? I love to make those, and usually bake something at least one morning each weekend. So far I've read the book cover to cover. My biggest problem was deciding what to make first. Muffins seemed like a good place to start, so I looked for something I knew Brianna and Gillian would eat. I settled on the Favorite Vanilla Muffins, with the chocolate chunk variation, which had the added benefit of helping me use up some of my chocolate stash. I was surprised that these used the creaming method, which I don't usually see for muffins. I did worry briefly that I was essentially feeding my children chocolate chunk cupcakes for breakfast. (That would be wrong, wouldn't it?) But they turned out to be not nearly as sweet as I feared they would be. I can see how the vanilla batter would be a good starting point for lots of fun variations. So the first recipe was definitely a success; now I just have to figure out what to make next!
Chocolate Chunk Muffins
(adapted from Carole Walter's Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
3 1/2 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate (I used 60%)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with foil or paper liners.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside. Cream the butter and vanilla together in the bowl of a stand mixer (use the paddle attachment) for about a minute. Gradually add in the sugar, then mix for an additional minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, then mix for another minute. With the mixer on low, stir in about half the flour mixture, then the sour cream, then the remaining flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chunks (I did this by hand with a spatula).
Portion the batter into the prepared pan--a #16 (1/4 cup) scoop works best. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown and the tops are springy to the touch. Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and place on a rack to cool further.