Espresso Chocolate Bran Muffins

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I was walking to the mailbox yesterday to post a birthday card. Through slush & ice. Down my mile-long driveway. Okay, it was an easy stroll. And on the way back I ran into my not-quite-elderly or else in really great shape & elderly neighbor. She engaged in small talk. Eventually she asked what I study & when I replied “Global Environmental Policy” she responded: “Is that like… Al Gore stuff?”

Yes, folks. It is indeed a bit like “Al Gore Stuff.”

Though, only a fraction of us study climate change. Some of us study energy, some conservation, some international institutions, some water, and those of us that are particularly cool study agriculture & food.

Speaking of which, this week we’re actually studying the EU decision making process on GMOs. Which shall serve as a transition to delicious muffins made with organic whole wheat flour. And probably GM wheat bran… but I wouldn’t know, because it’s not labeled!

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These muffins are a one bowl, three measuring cups (because I use a 1/4 & 1/2 cup for everything) , throw it together in a jiff kind of recipe.

As muffin recipes should be.

And they’re dairy-free, whole wheat, bran muffins. Hello, sorta healthy.

With CHOCOLATE in them. And ESPRESSO. Which probably explains my use of caps right there.

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And the most important part is that I now have espresso-laden, semi-healthy muffins to take to campus Wednesday & Thursday.

I usually forget to pack any food at all and survive off overpriced soy lattes & bagels sold on campus. And by the end of the day my stomach feels cramped & ready to implode/explode. And my journey begins at 6 (wake up) & ends around 10 (get home). But fear not this week! I have prepared with muffins, tabbouleh, hummus & pita! Oh me oh my!

Also, these muffins make the house smell glorious. In all their chocolatey, espresso, fresh-baked goodness.

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Espresso Chocolate Chip Bran Muffins

Inspired by The Kitchy Kitchen
Makes 12 Standard Muffins

WET:
1/2 Cup Oil (i use canola)
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Brewed Coffee (cold)
1/2 Cup Soy Milk
2 Tbsp Ground Espresso
1 Egg (i use ener-g)
2 Tsp Vanilla

DRY:
1 2/3 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2/3 Cup Bran (I used half oat & half wheat)
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
3/4 – 1 Cup Chocolate Chips*

*I used dairy-free chocolate Рhalf Ghirardelli Semisweet Chocolate Chips & half chopped Ibarro Mexican Chocolate. The Mexican chocolate is full of granulated sugar & adds a nice sugary crunch to the muffins.  Feel free to use as much chocolate, or little as you like Рkeeping in mind that it may affect the volume of the batter.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line muffin tray with muffin papers.

Combine all the wet ingredients in a medium/large bowl. Add all the dry ingredients, except the chocolate chips.
Combine thoroughly. Stir in chocolate Chips.
Spoon batter evenly into muffin papers. Should all be about 3/4 full.
Bake for about 18 – 22 minutes or until muffins spring back to a light touch (or toothpick comes out clean method).

Now, NOSH.

With a cold glass or milk or hot cup of coffee.

Contains caffeine. Please, enjoy responsibly : )

All gone!

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Homemade Irish Cream

Ever since I saw recipes for homemade Irish Cream on Foodgawker last year I’ve been dying to make it. I don’t know why it took me so long. It may have been the fact that I don’t really like whiskey and therefore don’t own any… or drink any for that matter. Haha.

Stephen tends to be more interested in recipes that involve alcohol (gingerbread with stout, pot pie with a hefeweizen gravy and so on) and finally convinced me we should try making one of the recipes we’ve seen. We decided homemade Irish Cream would make an amazing Christmas gift for a handful of our friends. We wanted to test out a recipe first though.

It’s so incredibly easy. It reminds me of a chocolatey, coffeey version of Egg Nog. Very Holiday friendly.

Homemade Irish Cream

  • 1.5 Cups Light Cream
  • 1 14oz Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 1/4 Cups Irish Whiskey (we used Jameson)
  • 1 Tsp Instant Coffee Granules
  • 2 Tsp Black Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract (Homemade! It’s just vodka & vanilla beans, so easy.)
  • 1/8 Tsp Almond Extract

Dissolve the coffee granules in a couple of tablespoons of cream. Add the cocoa powder and combine until a smooth paste forms. I used a fork, like scrambling eggs. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. I used a food processor because I was lazy and my blender was dirty. Bad idea. Everything leaked. Don’t. Do. It. Not that anyone else would be as dumb as me. Anywayy, when you’re done blending, pour into your bottle (or jar!) of choice. We used a mason jar as you can see, which was really handy when the chocolate sank to the bottom and wanted me to shake it up.

It turned out really well! I’m not sure what Bailey’s tastes like but I imagine it’s just as good or even better! The idea that you could make it yourself, and control what goes into it, is just so appealing.

Keep refrigerated. Drink responsibly ; )