Chocolate Ricotta Muffin

I know that chocolate muffins may seem out of place on a healthy eating blog. But I truly believe that eating what you enjoy - in moderation - is an important part of healthy eating. I don't deprive myself of any of the foods I enjoy, and chocolate is high on the list. These cupcakes provide a hefty dose of chocolate, but they are made of all natural ingredients, so you can feel indulge without the guilt. 

These muffins are from one of my favorite cookbooks - Sunlight Cafe, by Mollie Katzen. Today, I made an amazing discovery. I added a bit of extra milk and flour to the extra muffin batter (I had about a cup left after I filled all twelve cups in my muffin tin) and made pancakes. Wow! They were amazing, and it felt great to put the extra batter to a good purpose. Plus the kids were delighted to oblige. There's nothing like chocolate to wake up your taste buds! 

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins (and pancakes)
The original recipe, from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe, is really just for muffins. But I discovered that the batter - with just a bit of extra milk and flour - makes KILLER pancakes. If you make the muffins the night before, you can leave the extra batter in the fridge overnight and whip up pancakes quickly in the morning. 

1 cup white flour
1 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
7 tablespoons cocoa powder (please use Dutch unprocessed)
1 cup sugar
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons butter, melted
(optional - an extra 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup milk if you're making pancakes)

Preheat the oven to 350*. Spray 12 standard muffin cups with non-stick spray. 

Combine the flours, salt,  baking powder, cocoa powder, sugar, and chocolate chips in a large bowl. 

In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, milk, vanilla, and butter. 

Pour the ricotta mixture into the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to mix it  until it's well combined. DO NOT OVER-MIX. 

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Fill them to the top if you like them large, or a bit less if you like them smaller. (If you want to make pancakes, leave over about a cup of batter.) 

Bake for about 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 1/2 hour before removing from the muffin tins. 

(If you have any extra batter and care to have a really decadent breakfast, add the extra flour and milk to the cup of batter. Heat a cast iron or nonstick pan and spray with nonstick spray. Spoon the batter in and cook for 2-3 minutes per side on medium low heat. Serve warm.)

The wet ingredients. 

Droste's cocoa,
my cocoa of choice

The dry ingredients

Chocolate pancakes. Mmmm....

This plate of pancakes was eaten up
before I could say "I can't believe
we're having chocolate for breakfast!"
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