Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Chocolate Chip Frosting

The debate. I have yet to have it on here, so here we go.

What is the difference between a cupcake and a muffin?

Anyone wanna take a stab at it? Please do. I'll give it my best shot. Here's what I think.

A cupcake is cake and a muffin is bread. Both work well in the cup shape with liners, or not. Cupcakes always have frosting, while muffins sometimes do. I prefer my muffins without it as I want to savor the taste of the bread alone. Along those lines, I think cupcakes are lighter, while muffins are denser. (More dense? Sounds strange to you? Me too. Denser is correct though.) My guess is that the general population would say muffins are healthier. Realistically, this is not the case since they have a lot of the same ingredients as cupcakes, unless they are made specifically with certain health-conscious substitutions. Whew! Any other critical differences I'm missing?

Well, I pinned this recipe from Life's Simple Measures. Jess refers to them as a cupcakes, as the blog she found them on did. After making, baking and tasting it, I'm going with muffin. They are dense, don't rise much and seem more like bread to me, rather than cake. Plus, they have oatmeal in them, which seems like more of a muffin quality to me than cupcake-esque. Not that it really matters. Whatever you want to refer to it as, I'm sure you'll call them yummy, too.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins, 12 regular sized muffins
from Life's Simple Measures via How Sweet It Is (which by the way has 169 comments. Jeepers!)

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp milk
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips (tossed in flour)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare your muffin tin as you wish. Whisk eggs and sugar until well, until there are no lumps. Add vanilla and butter, mixing until smooth. Now, add all your dry ingredients: flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, mixing until smooth. Stir milk in completely. Finally, fold in chocolate chips.

Since I saw how little the muffins rise in the original recipe, I filled my liners nearly full which worked perfectly for me because I wanted fuller cups. Bake 15-17 minutes, or until muffins are set and golden. Let cool before frosting.

While the muffins are baking, you can make your frosting. I halved the original recipe because unlike Jess at Life's Simple Measures, my waistline cannot afford a 1:1 frosting:muffin ratio. Plus, since I filled the cups nearly full, I only had 12 muffins, not 24 like she did. So, if you've got 12 muffins baking, go with the recipe below, if you have more or can simply indulge in more, double what you see below.

Cinnamon Sugar Chocolate Chip Frosting 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp milk (if needed)
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Beat butter until smooth. Add in powdered sugar slowly so as not to create a white mess in your kitchen. Or on yourself. Increasing the speed slowly, add brown sugar and vanilla, beating for 2-3 minutes. Add milk, until you reach desired consistency. Fold your chocolate chips in. And sprinkle some more on top if you wish.

I just love chocolate chips. All over the place in this recipe!

I have had a couple of these and every time I bite into one I am so pleasantly surprised by the muffin flavor! The people in the office kept asking what it was and how different it was from most muffins.  I think it's the cinnamon.

Oh, and what do you think? What is the difference between a muffin and a cupcake?

This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page. 

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