Before my older son, John, went to camp last year, I asked him if there was anything special he wanted to have to eat…or better yet, help me cook in the kitchen. To my surprise, he said “Dilly Beans.” If you click on this recipe link, you can actually see there is a good reason for that request. When I posed the same question this year, however, John gave me a more predictable answer: chocolate chip muffins.
This recipe is an old favorite from a cookbook called Chocolate on the Brain by Kevin and Nancy Mills. One of my good friends gave me the book years ago. So, when John and I made these muffins, it was also fun to mention our cooking afternoon to my friend and let her know that her gift made an impression! The recipe is quick to prepare, and the ingredient list is made up of pantry staples. I occasionally make these muffins and slip one into my kids’ lunchbox and they inevitably come home from school asking for more.
Moreover, the simple recipe is ideal for teaching someone to bake. As much as I cook and bake, I don’t engage my boys enough in that department. Not only was this a fun way to spend time together before John left for summer camp, it was also a good opportunity for him to follow basic baking directions and learn the proper way to measure flour, that brown sugar is typically packed, and other helpful tips. And though the hot-from-the-oven muffins were John’s treat, my treat was most definitely spending the extra time with him. It sure was fun!
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/3 cup milk (I typically use nonfat; use what you prefer)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (may use up to a half cup whole wheat flour)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips or chunks (dark, milk, or a mix of both)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and place cupcake liners in 8 muffin cups or grease the muffins cups well.
- Place the butter, milk, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl, and beat with a fork for 30 seconds or until the mixture is well combined.
- Combine the flour, the sugars, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined, and then gently mix in the chocolate chips being careful not to over mix.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin cups. A large ice cream scoop is a mess-free way to evenly portion out the batter.
- Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 14-16 minutes or until the muffins are starting to brown and pass the toothpick test. They will feel slightly firm to the touch.
- Remove from the oven, cool in the pan for a few minutes, and then remove to a rack to cool completely. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
I couldn’t resist adding this photo, taken almost two years after I originally posted the recipe in 2013. As a fresh batch of these chocolate chip muffins cooled (coincidentally in the same type of muffin cases as the earlier batch), it occurred to me that my son’s t-shirt was quite fitting. ; )