Chocolate isn’t usually a breakfast food, but that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a little something special from time to time with your morning coffee. These Chocolate Swirl Muffins offer just the right hint of indulgence to start your day off on a good note. The muffins feature a two-tone batter that has distinct vanilla and chocolate flavors. They’re also studded with dark chocolate chips and a sprinkle of cacao nibs to ensure that you are getting plenty of chocolate in every bite.
The muffins are moist and tender, but they’re not as rich as chocolate cupcakes would be. They’re also less sweet than you would expect a chocolate chip baked good to be, more along the lines of what you would expect from a breakfast food when compared to a dessert. They do have some sweetness, of course, and they deliver great chocolate flavor, both from the bittersweet chocolate swirl and from the generous number of chocolate chips. The cacao nibs are an optional ingredient that makes a nice addition to the muffins if you happen to have some stashed in your pantry. They add a little bit of crunch and add to the other chocolate flavors in the muffins.
Most chocolate goodies pair perfectly with a a hot cup of coffee and these are no exception. Hot coffee will cause those chocolate chips to melt just enough to make sure you are getting as much flavor as possible out of every bite. The muffins come together quickly and will remain moist and fresh for at least a day or two after baking. They also freeze well, when well-wrapped, so you can defrost one for a quick breakfast treat without having to heat up your oven.
Chocolate Swirl Muffins
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp warm water
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp cocoa nibs (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and warm water. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and egg until well combined, then whisk in vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk, then stir in the remaining flour mixture until it is completely incorporated.
Transfer 1/2 cup of the batter into the small bowl with the cocoa powder mixture. Fold in the batter until the cocoa mixture is completely incorporated.
Stir chocolate chips and cocoa nibs into the large bowl with the rest of the batter.
Fill each muffin cup about 1/3 of the way up with chocolate chip batter. Top with about a tablespoon of the chocolate batter, and divide remaining chocolate chip batter evenly between the rest of the muffin cups. Run a thin knife through the muffin cups gently to swirl the batters gently together.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean and the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.
Cool completely on a wire rack.