Thursday, 18 September 2014

Greek Yogurt and Chocolate Chips Muffins

Greek Yogurt and Chocolate Chips Muffins

I had not planned in advance to make these yogurt and chocolate chip muffins; the idea came when I noticed that I had in the fridge a cup of plain Greek yogurt very close to the expiry date. Nobody at home likes to eat this kind of yogurt on its own, but I usually keep some in the fridge for "potential use" as an ingredient. Yogurt is not the only food I use to buy in advance, to have it on hand just in case. And sometimes what I buy is much more bizarre and, consequently, less versatile than yogurt: it may range from a particular preserve or jam or chutney, to a sauce, to a mix of spices, to a type of grain, to a never tasted cheese. Most of the time I choose these items while hanging around supermarket or grocery store aisles looking for something else, written down on my shopping list; but I also like to buy local specialties when I travel, so I usually bring home edible souvenirs. Not considering purchases made during holidays and travels, where the idea is to bring home something to remember visited places, in the other cases, beyond my impulse buying there are remote, faded memories of particular ingredients required in recipes that I have seen somewhere; a magazine, a cookbook, a website? Who knows! But unfortunately most of the times I do not stumble upon those recipes anymore and so my purchases are actually quite useless. Or better, when I find them in the pantry or worst in the fridge, usually very close to expiring (and I don't like to throw food), I have to choose one out of two alternatives: the first is to to search a recipe requiring some of the stuff I have. So I consult all my cookbooks and food magazines, surf the web, search in my favorite food blogs and, in case I find some inspiration, what I usually have to do is to go and buy many other ingredients that I do not have at home. What a waste of time! The second chance, that I follow more often, is to pretend to be a Masterchef participant and create a dish (preferably and hopefully edible) based on one selected ingredient, or more than one for an even more challenging task.
I know it is pretty weird but I cannot resist; when I go shopping I have to buy something, be it a cup of yogurt or sour cream or a new spice or a jam, that I may need in future!
This time, with the yogurt on hand, the job was quite easy, then I chose to go for the creative route and make something sweet for breakfast.
Greek Yogurt and Chocolate Chips Muffins

To tell the truth I didn't create such an original recipe: there are thousands cakes, breads, muffins, tartes containing yogurt. Also this blog features several recipes with yogurt as a main ingredient (here is the list). So there is not much to say about the recipe; I would only highlight few things. 
  • These muffins don't contain butter but vegetable oil instead. An healthier choice, specially if, like in my case, these little sweets are intended for kids. ( I put it in brackets, but I admit that the flavor and texture that butter adds to most of the sweets for me is unequaled!). The presence of yogurt in the batter makes these muffins very moist and soft. 
  • With regard to the type of vegetable oil, any is suitable, from olive oil to sunflower, to corn germ, soybean, etc. My favorite when baking is corn germ oil, because of its delicate, almost neutral flavor, or even a light olive oil.
  • I  Chocolate is the sweet thing I absolutely prefer, therefore most of the sweets I make contain chocolate, when it is not the main ingredient. But these muffins are very good also in the plain version, flavored with orange or lemon zests, or with different additions, like dried fruits or nuts.
Greek Yogurt and Chocolate Chips Muffins

Greek Yogurt and Chocolate Chips Muffins
makes 12 regular muffins
240 g all-purpose flour
140 g vanilla flavored white sugar 1
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
70 ml vegetable oil 2
2 eggs
180 ml plain Greek yogurt (better if full fat)
150 g chocolate chips 3

Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Line muffin cups with muffin liners.
Sift the flour with baking powder in a medium bowl; add the flavored sugar and salt.
In a separate large bowl, add the vegetable oil, 2 eggs, and yogurt and whisk to combine.
Add flour mixture to the liquid mixture; mix just enough to combine. Fold the chocolate chips into the batter.
Fill muffin cups with the batter about 3/4 full. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.
This muffins keep well at room temperature for up to 3 days, covered with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.

1 I use home-made vanilla flavored sugar which I prepare simply adding "empty" vanilla beans (whose seeds have been removed for other purposes) to a sugar jar. This way the whole vanilla pod is used and sugar becomes amazingly flavored.
2 I like to use corn germ oil for its delicate flavor, but any vegetable oil (sunflower, olive, ...) works well, depending on your preference.
3 Chocolate can be omitted, or swapped for dried fruits (raisins, cherries, ...) or nuts (pine nuts, ground almond or hazelnuts, ...)  or mixed with other additions. Also zests of orange or lemon can be added for a different flavor.  
Greek Yogurt and Chocolate Chips Muffins

1 comment:

  1. I hate food waste so understand your motivation for baking prompted by something in the fridge! These look delicious.