Sometimes, it's okay to break the rules and add a few extra chocolate chips to your muffins. These might remind some of the Chunky candy bars of old, because they combine that chocolatey goodness with nuts and dried fruit. Spices - cinnamon, and just the tiniest bit of cayenne - take them beyond the vending machine.
MAKE AHEAD: The dried cherries need to be rehydrated for 30 minutes. The muffins are best served the same day they are made, but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
From cookbook author and food writer Charlotte Druckman.
1/4 cup dried cherries
1 3/4 cups (8 3/8 ounces) Big Batch Chocolate Dry Mix (stir well before using)
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup chocolate chunks
1/4 cup toasted skinned hazelnuts, chopped (see NOTE)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 9 wells of a standard-size muffin pan with paper or foil baking cup liners, or grease them with cooking oil spray.
Meanwhile, place the dried cherries in a small bowl and cover with warm water; let sit for 30 minutes, then drain.
Whisk together the Big Batch Chocolate Dry Mix, sugar, salt and the cayenne pepper, if using, until well incorporated.
Pour the buttermilk into a large liquid measuring cup, then add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract and oil; use a fork to whisk together until well incorporated. Pour over the dry ingredients, then add the chocolate chunks, plumped dried cherries and hazelnuts; use a flexible spatula to gently fold to form a barely blended batter that's a bit lumpy.
Divide evenly among the muffin cups or wells. Bake (middle rack) until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 19 minutes.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then dislodge the muffins and place them directly on the rack to cool completely.
NOTE: To toast the hazelnuts, spread them on rimmed baking sheet and bake for 4 to 5 minutes, until fragrant and golden brown. Cool completely before using.
Nutrition | Per muffin: 340 calories, 5 g protein, 45 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 27 g sugar