We went out for dinner with a group of my boyfriend’s university chums on Saturday night. When his friend had been trying to book a table for the ten of us earlier in the week, nearly every place he tried was full. One restaurant told him that he’d struggle to find space anywhere as it was the first weekend of February and everyone would be out celebrating the end of a dry and/or abstemious January.
It’s always a bit of a relief to get January out of the way. It’s such a long month and such a struggle after the merriment of December. With Easter being relatively late this year, the prospect of nearly four months without a break is slightly overwhelming.
Now that it’s February though, it feels like we’re really getting into this new year. Vague resolutions have been replaced by more concrete (and realistic) plans and it feels like there’s a lot to look forward to.
On Sunday morning, we broke with our tradition of the new year and didn’t breakfast on waffles. Between blog posts and instagram pictures, I had a hankering from a proper chocolatey chocolate muffin instead. In keeping with the recent trend around these parts, gluten free seemed the way to go.
There’s not a lot of difference really between knocking up a batch of muffins vs one of waffles. The technique is broadly the same – a bit of whisk, a bit of a fold and you’re ready to bake. Muffins do have the added benefit of not requiring immediate consumption and these beauties have kept me going for most of this week as well.
These are some of the nicest gluten-free muffins I've ever made/eaten. They are slightly more crumbly than their gluten-filled siblings due to the rice flour but not really so much that you'd notice. I love these warmed up a little so that the chocolate chips are all melty but they're equally good cold. They should last a couple of days in the fridge although, like all muffins, they are best eaten on the day that they're made.
- 80g (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) brown rice flour
- 30g (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) ground hazelnuts
- 30g (just under 1/2 cup) cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 large egg
- 75g (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) demerara sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 60ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 60ml (1/4 cup) sour cream
- 50g (2 oz) dark chocolate, chopped
- Crushed hazelnuts, to scatter on top
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F (fan) and line a muffin tin with paper cases.
- In a large bowl, lightly whisk together the flour, ground hazelnuts, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and espresso powder. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, vanilla, olive oil and sour cream.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently fold a couple of times. Add the choocolate chips and fold again until the streaks of flour just disappear.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin cases, sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and bake for 20 - 15 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes or so before removing.
Fairly heavily adapted from canelle et vanille's blueberry, lemon and olive oil muffins. For a dairy-free option, use coconut milk rather than sour cream and dairy-free chocolate chips.