Thursday, April 5, 2012

City Meets Country

Fresh out of college, my first job was in the city -- Jersey City, that is. Five days a week for almost five years I took the train into Hoboken, and then the PATH to Journal Square. I worked the early shift -- 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM -- and it was too early to eat breakfast before I left the house. So every morning I would bring my breakfast, usually cereal, Pop-Tarts, or even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

One day a colleague was eating a beautiful carrot muffin with a velvety cream cheese filling. I asked her where she got it, and she said the PATH deli in Journal Square. She gushed about the muffin and its cake-like texture, saying it was more like eating dessert than breakfast. I decided the next morning to give a muffin a try.

The next morning I entered the deli and stood at the end of a very long line. Despite the length I was fortunate to have my pick of muffins. Because it was so early many of my fellow commuters were just grabbing a cup of coffee on their way to the Financial District. I opted for a cappuccino muffin, loaded with chocolate chips and dusted with powdered sugar.

It immediately became my poison. I could eat one every day. They were so good I bought an extra one to bring home for my mom to try. And she enjoyed them so much some mornings I would buy all the muffins in the display case -- five or six -- for her so she could freeze them and eat them at her leisure.

All that changed, though, in 2005. My husband and I moved to the Poconos. No more commute to Jersey City, no more trains with bomb-sniffer dogs, and no more cappuccino muffins. I thought about those muffins often, though, over the past 6 years. So when I found this recipe in the January/February issue of Cooking Light, I knew immediately it was the perfect way to bring that portion of my past city life into my country life.

Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffin
Recipe from Cooking Light

Hands-on time: 17 minutes.
Total time: 35 minutes
Makes 12 muffins

  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray or cupcake papers

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine first 5 ingredients.
  3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
  4. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray or lined with papers. Bake at 400 for 18 minutes or until done. Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack.

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