Winter has made an early appearance this year and we’re already getting single digit temperatures on the Gold Coast. Not a good thing since I’m more of a summer girl. My blood just can’t handle the cold. If I had the choice, I would hibernate just to pass the winter. I mean, who would deign to live an entire season with constantly frozen fingers and toes? Also, going to bed with a really cold nose is definitely not the most comfortable way to fall asleep.
Cue delicious comfort food. French onion soup, macaroni and cheese, hot apple and rhubarb crumble, buttery soft baked pretzels, old-fashioned chocolate cake, chocolate self-saucing pudding, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Obviously, chocolate makes good comfort food in winter, so here’s a lovely recipe for chocolate cream cheese walnut muffins.
Perhaps one of the most interesting (read: amazing) things I’ve baked this year, these gorgeous muffins resemble the fudgiest of walnut brownies more than anything. The cream cheese somehow manages to turn these muffins into dense, heavy, creamy, crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth bites of chocolate flavoured chunks.
This is the ultimate comfort food, only made better by the small morsels of crunchy walnuts buried in its dark depths. Not only are they delicious eaten warm (the moist, tender crumb will win you over), they are just as gorgeous when refrigerated. Chilling gives them a firmer texture – it makes them denser and even more fudge-like.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Walnut Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
150g dark chocolate, chopped
125g unsalted butter, cubed
125g cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup walnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 180°C and line a regular muffin tray with paper cases.
- In a small bowl, combine flour and cocoa powder. Mix well, set aside.
- Using a double boiler or microwave, carefully melt the chocolate and butter to form a smooth, glossy mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugars together until light and fluffy.
- Stir the melted chocolate mixture into the cream cheese mixture.
- Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined, then fold in the walnuts.
- Carefully spoon the batter into prepared paper cases until almost full.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the tops are firm to the touch.
- Remove from oven and let muffins stand in tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.