This recipe started with a bran muffin. Some days I crave a bran muffin, its texture and chewiness, and dark, almost molasses-like insides. But I didn’t have any bran around and a bran muffin is impossible to find in Italy.
But I did have farina di castagne, chestnut flour (note: this is not chestnut puree). If you’ve never smelled chestnut flour before, it has an extremely nutty, earthy smell to it and I knew I couldn’t just use it in any recipe as a substitution instead of regular flour. I would have to invent one completely for it.
Since I still had some brown sugar left over from the Barbecue Baked Beans with Bacon, I knew its rich, dark flavor would complement the chestnut flour well. And since chestnut flour is gluten-free, I decided to add a secret ingredient to give the muffins some body and texture.
What was this secret ingredient? Farina di Cocco, coconut flour.
And it was a perfect choice. The shredded coconut complemented the nuttiness of the chestnut flour incredibly, giving the muffin some texture and chewiness that I was craving. Perfect for breakfast, a snack or even dessert.
These muffins were a huge hit, and of course adding dark chocolate chunks gave it a great flavor contrast and made it almost like a chestnut cake. If you have a block of chocolate, you can chunk it up yourself and add it right before cooking. I had a standard cookie batch size from a friend – 12 ounces, which translates to a big 340g of chocolate chunks.
Note: This photo was of a muffin from a mini-tart, and therefore quite low (all muffin top!) but the muffins came out nice and high in the regular cupcake liners.
Chestnut Flour Chocolate Chunk Muffin Recipe
If you don’t have dark brown sugar, you can try unrefined cane sugar – the darker and the stickier, the better! Makes 10- 12 large muffins.
2 cups chestnut flour (200g)
3/4 – 1cup coconut flour/finely shredded coconut (60g)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter (125g), softened
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dark chocolate, chunked
1. Preheat oven to 190C / 375F. Mix, using a hand mixer, the dry ingredients (chestnut flour, coconut flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda) together in a bowl except for the brown sugar.
2. In another bowl, soften the butter to room temperature or put it a few seconds in the microwave. Mix the softened butter with the brown sugar at high speed for a minute or two, then add the eggs and mix until creamy. Add the vanilla last and mix.
3. Add the chestnut flour mix slowly and mix in. Halfway through add the milk and then the rest of the dry mixture, until well distributed. Add the chocolate chunks and pour into cupcake liners or mini-tart pans lined with parchment paper. Bake at 190 /375F for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
What would you use chestnut flour to make?