Their actual name is muffins, but I like calling them small mini-cakes, they are single-serving, fluffy delicacies you may prepare easily and fast. In Italy, pears and chocolate is a very appreciated matching: the sweetness taste of the pears is perfectly paired with the bitterness of the dark chocolate. Let’s try them!
Everyone has got their own Achilles’ heel in the kitchen! Something you have been trying to cook for long time again and again, but you have never been able to make it properly! I always blame the oven for my failures, or the bad luck!
My Achilles’ heel is muffins! I have never succeeded in making them well, but today…today it is a beautiful day, a day to remember because I have just baked my best muffins ever. I am so proud of myself!
Muffins fit best those who don’t have much self-control because they are single small portions: only one won’t spoil the diet. Of course, they are quite rich in calories, but if you do sport, or you fancy a healthy sweet breakfast, try this recipe!
Choose the ingredients very carefully:
- Pear: a specific kind of pear is not needed as you have to cut them into very small dices. Opt for a medium ripe one, so you may feel its compact texture at first bite.
- Chocolate: I have tried several kinds of chocolate but the best choice is 85% cocoa buttons, those you may use to make ganache. They melt easily when they are heated up as they are thin and large. Chocolate chips fit well too, but they have a less strong taste. So, if you like the taste of chocolate which slowly melts in your mouth, opt for button. Chocolate nuggets stand in the middle, they are bigger and thicker than chips, they do not melt so easily as the buttons do and they give the muffins a pleasant crunchy texture.
- Butter: this recipe does want butter. None of the other ingredients combine with margarine or oil which would make the mini cakes greasy and taste unpleasant.
- Vanillin: you may use either vanilla extract or a whole bean. The result will be toothsome.
- Flour: opt for flour type 00 or wholegrain one to your taste, I usually opt for flour type 1 which is more rustic (not too rustic anyway); it makes the mini cakes pleasantly grainy and flavorful.
- Baking powder: the most suitable baking powder is composed of disodium pyrophosphate E450, sodium bicarbonate E500, and lightly vanilla flavored wheat starch. In Italy, Paneangeli or Bertolini are the most common baking powders.
A few secrets for baking very toothsome mini cakes:
- Cut the pear into tiny dices because big pieces of fruit hinder the rising process;
- Use a weak flour; if you use a strong flour for long rising process, your mini cakes won’t rise in the oven.
- Do not use the fan oven because it dries the top: the mini cake will get flat and burnt.
- Do not open the oven because the rising process will stop. The result? Flat and sad mini cakes.
- Do not rush: turn the oven off and and leave the mini cakes for about 5-6 minutes with the door opened halfway before taking them out of the oven. They will get perfectly dried but they won’t lose their round shape.
Easy and fast small mini cakes with pears and chocolate
- 260 gr strong bread flour or high gluten bread flour
- 120 gr butter
- 130 gr brown sugar
- 130 half skimmed milk
- 2 eggs
- 150 gr chocolate buttons
- 2 pears
- 1 tps vanilla extract
- 16 gr Baking-powder
- Melt the butter completely in the microwave or in a pot over low heat;
- Mix all the liquid ingredients in this order: softened butter, eggs, sugar, and the milk at room temperature.
- Mix well until the batter, or use an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Whisk together flour, vanilla extract and baking powder;
- Add to butter mixture.
- Finally, add 150g of chocolate chips and the diced pears. The butter should be quite liquid.
- Divide it among muffin pans lined with paper baking cups.
- Add a few chocolate chips on the top of the muffins to you taste before baking;
- Bake in pre-heated static oven at 180° for 20 minutes. Do not open the oven, for any reasons, otherwise your mini cakes will get flat;
- Then switch the oven off and open the door; let them cool down in the oven, only for 5-6 minutes;
- Combine them with some fruit and tea or coffee to taste for a delicious start of the day.
How can you store the mini-cakes?
They keep easily in a air-tight container at room temperature up to 4 days-they must not get wet. A tin or a glass contain fit too. Or freeze them to 3 months.