Vanilla Coconut Mini-Muffins

This recipe comes from the Clay Corner Inn of Blacksburg, Virginia.

I love the combination of chocolate and coconut, which is why both usually end up in my morning oatmeal.  The original recipe didn't call for chocolate chips, but I thought they'd be too bland without (1) chocolate, or (2) adding more intense coconut flavor.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup shredded coconut
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease mini-muffin cups or spray with non-stick spray.
2) In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, coconut, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chips.  Whisk until thoroughly blended.
3) In small mixing bowl, combine butter, egg, milk, and vanilla.  Whisk until thoroughly blended.
4) Add milk mixture to flour mixture.  Stir by hand until just combined.
5) Fill each muffin cup half-full.
6) Bake for 11 minutes or until a knife inserted in center of muffin comes out clean (do not allow to brown on edges).  Remove muffins from cups immediately and cool on rack.  Yield: 36-44 muffins.

Notes: I baked the first batch for 12 minutes (per the original recipe), and they were slightly too crusty.  Next time I'll bake for 10-11 minutes.  Also, the coconut flavor was not as pronounced as I thought it would be, so I'll substitute 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract for some of the vanilla.

Kid Participation:
* Pour dry ingredients
* Whisk dry ingredients
* Pour wet ingreidents
* Crack egg
* Stir wet ingredients
* Stir combined batter
* Scoop batter into muffin cups


Mini Maple Chocolate Chip Pancake Muffins

Original Recipe HERE

Chocolate chip pancakes (CCPs) were my brother's and my favorite breakfast, hands down.  On the extremely rare occasion our family went out to eat, we usually went to IHOP (because 20+ years ago, the one near us was a lot more respectable than they are now).  Chocolate pancakes with chocolate chips with whipped cream put us in heaven.  This love affair has continued throughout our entire lives, including ordering CCPs at the breakfast buffet in Disney World.  When we were in high school.  So when I saw this recipe, I was eager to try it.

I was surprised at how much they resembled pancakes in taste and texture.  I'm sure part of this is due to using real maple syrup (thankful to have family friends who tap trees and bottle their own syrup in the great state of New Hampshire).  The trick of adding the chocolate chips to the flour mixture, instead of into the batter at the end, helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the muffin as they bake.  In hindsight, it probably wasn't as necessary in this recipe since the batter was so thick (but keep it in mind when baking things with runnier batter).  Also, stirring the "cold" ingredients together and allowing them to lose their chill a bit helps keep the melted butter from re-solidifying into not-very-appealing chunks when it's added later.

The recipe's name is a mouthful for such petite treats.  These are dangerous because you can eat them in two bites, so having "just one more" is tempting.  The original recipe says to serve them immediately with maple syrup or melted butter for dipping.  I tried them warm from the oven, a few hours later, and the next morning.  They were good each time, though I think reheating them in the toaster oven so the pancake resemblence is more obvious would be a good idea.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt [optional]
2 Tablespoons white sugar
⅔ cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup chocolate chips, plus more for garnish [optional]
1) In small bowl, stir buttermilk, egg, maple syrup.  Set aside.
2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease 24-cup mini-muffin pan with nonstick spray.
3) Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in medium bowl. Sift together with a wire whisk.
4) Add chocolate chips to flour mixture and stir until thoroughly coated.
5) Melt butter.  Add to buttermilk mixture.
6) Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until combined.
7) Spoon batter into muffin tin [filling 24 cups almost completely].  Garnish each with several chips [optional].
8) Bake for 8-9 minutes.  Test for doneness by inserting knife.  Muffins should not brown.
9) Let cool slightly and remove from the pan onto cooling rack.

Notes: This recipe has potential to be tweaked to resemble other pancake recipes, like substituting blueberries for the chocolate chips, adding pumpkin spice, or putting some mashed banana (with cinnamon?) in the batter.

Kid Participation:
* Crack egg
* Stir wet ingredients
* Measure dry ingredients
* Whisk dry ingredients
* Whisk batter
* Garnish with chips (prepare for a melty, chocolatey mess)