I love these muffins. They are truly delicious and, if I’m allowed to say, kind of healthy. You see, I used extra virgin olive oil to substitute butter which is an ingredient that I love to add on baking desserts, especially if it involves chocolate. Olive oil and chocolate are a perfect match, not only because of all antioxidants present both in olive oil and cocoa, but also for providing a rich and moist flavorful result. I also baked partly with brown rice flour, creating a crumbly and nuttier texture that pleased me. The muffins are tasty to eat without any frosting and I would say they are good enough for breakfast. This is one of the reasons I called it muffins and not cupcakes.
Nevertheless, I was meant to bake cupcakes. I got a new pastry tube and tips set and a huge bag and I was all set to make some pretty cupcake decoration. All was flowing freely through my mind. I was seeing and savoring the final goodies only with my imagination. So, I wrote down my recipe while it was fresh (though I adjusted some measurements while preparing it) and “floated” through the kitchen happy with my venture. Baking was a success and it smelled marvelous. It was when I was ready to prepare the frosting that something made me stop. I went to search for a nice frosting recipe with dulce de leche and indeed found some good looking recipes like this one. The problem was the amount of butter and sugar asked. I search and read and look for more but all frosting decoration had a tremendous quantity of sugar and fat. I was a little deceived. I wanted a beautiful and delectable cupcake decoration but too much sugar is a little… too much for me.
Regardless this issue, I prepared my frosting. The dulce de leche was ready and slowly I started to mix the cream cheese with the butter and sugar, testing the flavor as I was adding more. At the end, I had use half of butter and sugar asked in most of the recipes. Actually I saw some recipes listing a full cup of butter and/or until 4 or 5 cups of powdered sugar. Uff. Anyway, I was content with my topping. It doesn’t stand up for a frosting style, but it is tasteful. I serve it by the spoonful on the muffins and top it with chopped chocolate with whole hazelnuts. It is tasteful and esthetically I enjoy the smooth appearance. Of course, it is better to eat them on a plate with a fork, elegantly. Truth being told, these are positively muffins to me and I’m overjoyed with it.
Dark Chocolate Muffins with Dulce de Leche
For the Dark Chocolate Muffins:
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cook time:18 minutes
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup whole milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup dutch cocoa powder
Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper baking cups.
In a large bowl of a stand or hand mixer, beat the sugar with the eggs until pale yellow and creamy. In a small bowl mix the olive oil, milk and vanilla extract. Add to the sugar mixture and whisk until blended.
In a large bowl, stir the flours, baking powder, baking soda and dutch cocoa powder and add to the previous mixture, whisking just until incorporated.
Pour the batter into the muffin baking cups and bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
For the Dulce de Leche topping:
Preparation time: 10 minutes (having the pre-made dulce de leche)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup butter (I used salted butter), softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 oz of good chocolate with whole hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
Start preparing the dulce de leche. I made mine with a can of sweetened condensed milk – see my post here for related recipe. This will take about an hour. You can prepare this in advance and store in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to use (or feel free to use a ready-made dulce de leche brand).
In a large bowl of a stand or hand mixer, with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. I didn’t previously softened the cream cheese because I wanted to use it hard. Add the dulce de leche and butter and beat until creamy. Beat in the powdered sugar until well blended.
Serve on top of the muffins and sprinkle some good chocolate with whole hazelnuts, chopped.
This will be a soft cream topping. If you want to make a frosting to pipe, double the butter and the powdered sugar.