There’s a kitchen battle waging in our house lately, reoccurring like clockwork at noon and 6 p.m. each day, and ironically, the instigator is the littlest among us. Our 14-month-old daughter, whose expanding palate and mighty will we find both glorious and challenging at the same time, has wholeheartedly embraced her culinary preferences as means for self-expression. Of course, this whole concept sounds much more highbrow than it plays out in reality (i.e. all “unacceptable” fare taking a nosedive from highchair tray to floor after little more than a brief inspection). Thus begins our simultaneous journey of encouraging free expression whilst squelching Beany’s desire to throw plates. Parenthood, right?
I fear my baking has only increased the Bean’s taste tenacity lately. She was still on the outskirts of Sickville last week, with a less-than-usual appetite, so I thought it would be fun to bake her something special that she’d be willing to snack on. I whipped up some banana tea muffins (keeping in mind that they’re low on sugar and reasonably healthy if paired with a cup of milk) and gave her half of one when she woke from her afternoon nap. The girl went nuts. She gobbled it down, clapped mid-bite and smooshed her little hands around the plate to ensure ne’er a crumb was missed. This was quickly followed by the sign for “more.” Repeatedly.
Well, long story short-ish, her eyes have been opened. She now knows that chicken is not banana muffin. Pears are not banana muffin. Even bananas are not banana muffin. All of this equates to one hard truth at mealtime: [Fill in the blank] is not banana muffin, and my parents are denying me joy.
So the battle journey continues. Beany is still quite happy to try new things (mushroom and spinach risotto was a big hit yesterday), though nothing elicits quite as loud of squeal as seeing muffin cups pulled out from the pantry.
So what does all this have to do with the cappuccino chocolate chip muffins you see above? Nothing really, besides being another joy of which we must deprive poor Beany (You know, because baby + espresso = bad news bears). I actually baked these the day after I made those banana tea muffins, perhaps because I yearned for the chance to consume something with Beany’s level of gusto. And if delightful consumption is what you’re after, then chocolate and coffee are certainly good places to start. No, Jared and I didn’t smoosh the crumbs on our plates or squeal between bites, but that’s not for lack of love. Toddlers have a sort of zeal that you just can’t bottle.
Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted slightly from The Kitchy Kitchen
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and line 12 muffins tins with paper muffins cups.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until it’s light and creamy. Add the sugars, and beat until fluffy.
In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and espresso, until the coffee granules have dissolved a bit (mine never dissolved completely, which worked out just fine). Add the egg and vanilla. Then pour the milk/espresso/egg mixture into the butter/sugar combo, and mix until well blended.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined (be careful not to overmix!). Fold in the chocolate chips.
Fill muffin cups ¾ full, and bake for 16 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan as soon as they’re cool enough, and then cool them completely on a wire rack.