These tender Chocolate Coffee Muffins have a lovely coffee-chocolate harmony, with added flavor and crunch from the chocolate-pecan streusel. Pair it with a simple Cold Brew Latte and you’re good to go!
One of the new
obsessions hobbies I developed while stuck at home during the Community Quarantine last year was making coffee drinks and lattes. Although recently I have been experimenting more on espresso-based drinks, I became exclusively addicted to experimenting on cold brew infusions for a while. Thankfully they’ve all been successful and delicious, because I cannot deny how expensive of a hobby making cold brew is! The brewing process tends to require quite a lot of coffee beans to make a good amount of concentrate, and if you like strong coffee like me, you tend to make your drink with A LOT of concentrate.
I tried to do the math once just to analyze the cost-benefit ratio. Since I always make at least an 800 mL yield of cold brew each time, that means I go through at least 75 grams or 1 cup of ground coffee per week. (I usually use Sinag Coffee’s Arabica beans these days since it’s midrange but not bad.) This makes enough cold brew to last a week in our household, since our main source of caffeine is still our daily brewed coffee.
The cold brew is either a pre-workout booster or an afternoon delight. But then I also decided to try it in my baking by using it in these Chocolate Coffee Muffins, and I was so pleased by the result I decided to simply accept the fact that I’ll keep buying beans just for cold brew from now on.
Frankly, it’s been some time since I’ve felt THIS satisfied with a muffin. I mean, I’m generally quite happy eating any of the muffins I’ve shared on this blog (in particular, these Blueberry Muffins), but it was different with these Chocolate Coffee Muffins. Oh my goodness, were these muffins just absolute unexpected perfection. There was so much deep coffee flavor intertwining with an equally deep chocolate flavor. You can barely tell where the coffee begins and the chocolate ends! Kind of like when you drink coffee with ‘chocolate’ under the tasting notes.
With these Chocolate Coffee Muffins, I don’t even know if the coffee makes the chocolate shine, or if it’s the other way around. This isn’t a mocha taste for babies. It’s a deliciously intense hit of both chocolate and coffee working in perfect harmony. My coffee and chocolate loving heart is always happy when two of my favorite things in the world intersect so harmoniously like this!
I have made many a coffee-flavored treat, but these have to be one of my absolute favorites. The muffins are soft, with a gloriously intense flavor, but somehow it feels balanced because of the coffee and chocolate push-and-pull going on. You keep eating because you’re trying to figure out which flavor is more dominant. The addition of the crunchy and sweet streusel, plus all those little pockets of chocolate and nuts inside the muffins, give it a satisfying pizazz. They also provide a pleasant textural contrast to the tender cake. This is overall a surprisingly satisfying coffee chocolate treat.
As for the cold brew latte recipe I’m sharing here, it’s my personal favorite way to make cold brew lattes. It’s easy and it works every time. I am not saying it’s the “right way”, it’s just MY way. I don’t add any water to my cold brew these days, just cold brew concentrate and milk. The amount of milk depends on my mood. If I like it milkier, I do a 1:1 cold brew:milk ratio. If I like the coffee taste stronger, then I do a 2:1 cold brew:milk ratio.
Condensed milk is my sweetener of choice all the time, but lately I’ve taken to adding canned coffee jelly to my lattes too. In any case, the cold brew latte goes perfectly with the Chocolate Coffee Muffins!
- The original recipe from Pretty, Simple, Sweet doesn’t have cold brew in it, but I decided to switch things up, and the results were quite good. Of course, you can totally sub the cold brew with the same amount of espresso or strong brewed coffee if you’re not a cold brew person.
- If you don’t want to use butter, you can substitute it with a neutral-flavored oil.
- Depending on the chocolate you use, you will get some nice melted chocolate puddles here and there inside and on top of the muffins. I recommend using real chocolate chopped into chunks rather than chocolate chips since the latter will not melt into the muffin crumb.
- I used Lavazza Prontissimo Intenso for the instant coffee granules component of the recipe. (I managed to snag it while it was on sale, though it’s fairly pricey if it’s not.) I feel like it really helped intensify the coffee taste in the muffins. Nescafe Gold INTENSE is also a good choice here.
- As always when it comes to muffins, please try your best not to overwork your muffin batter. It’s not necessary to mix it until it becomes smooth. Stop mixing the moment you no longer see any streaks of flour in your batter. Same with when you add in the chocolate and nuts, stop mixing once it looks fairly distributed. Overmixing will result in tough muffins.
- You can get away with filling the paper liners nearly all the way to the top for higher dome. I personally think muffins look much better when their domes prominently extend from the paper liner’s edges.
- I do not recommend skipping the streusel. I think it gives the muffins this nice crunch on top.
- As for the cold brew, feel free to experiment on ratios when making your own latte. The most crucial part about my process is frankly the shaking part. You can use a shaker of just some recycled bottle like I did. I think shaking it is the best way to make a completely smooth, well-blended latte. Better than mixing with a spoon certainly.
Chocolate Coffee Muffins with Chocolate-Pecan Streusel
For the Muffins
- 1½ cups 180 grams all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup 35 grams natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup 100 grams granulated white sugar
- ½ cup 100 grams light brown sugar (or granulated white sugar)
- 1 Tablespoon instant coffee or espresso granules
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten, room temperature
- ¾ cup 180 mL whole milk, room temperature
- ¼ cup 60mL cold brew or espresso or strong brewed coffee, room temperature
- ½ cup 113 grams butter, melted and cooled*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup 65 grams pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup 90 grams bittersweet/semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
For the Streusel
- 2 tablespoons 27.5 grams brown sugar or other coarse brownish sugar like turbinado or demarara
- 2 tablespoons 15 grams chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons 22 grams bittersweet/semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
Make the muffin base
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter or line a 12-cup cupcake/muffin tin.
- In a large bowl, place the flour and sift in cocoa powder. Add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, both sugars, and instant coffee granules. Whisk until well-combined, then make a well in the center of the dry mixture.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together egg, milk, coffee, melted butter, and vanilla extract, until well-combined and homogenous.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the well you created in the dry mixture, then use a spatula to fold the dry mixture into the wet until just combined. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as well. Do not overmix. Stop mixing the moment the last streak of flour is gone. The batter will look quite lumpy and thick.
- Fold in nuts and chocolate chips, just until distributed. Again, do not overmix or the muffins will become tough! Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups. Fill them up a little over ¾ of the way full.
Make the streusel
- In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, pecans, and chocolate. Use a spoon to sprinkle the streusel evenly on top of the muffins.
- Bake muffins for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. DO NOT use your fingers to press the muffin tops because the sugar from the streusel will burn you! Cool muffins inside the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- The muffins will keep for 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature. I like to heat them up ever so slightly to melt the chocolate inside and atop the muffins. (They can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight then enjoy.)
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