Double Chocolate Chili Muffins

On the weekends, Jonty is my resident muffin-man. It’s his one baking luxury of the week – he loves to bake them, and I love to eat them, so it’s a win-win situation, really. Around mid-week, he asks if I have any requests; often, it’s a slight modification to the previous weeks muffins. For the past month or so, he’s been making tweaks to these double chocolate chili muffins, and I think he’s mastered them! They’ve got a sky-high muffin top, are studded with big chocolate chunks, and have the perfect warming heat at the end of your bite.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Double chocolate chili muffinsClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Double chocolate chili muffins

Now, before we scare you off with the name, just know that these chocolate chili muffins can be made to tailor to your spice tolerance completely.

  1. If you really like chocolate and love a bit of kick to your food: Follow the recipe as stated.
  2. If you really like chocolate but have uber-sensitive taste buds: Leave out the chilis completely.
  3. If you really like chocolate, but you’re not sure how awesome the chocolate + chili combo is: Start with fewer chilies, one say.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Double chocolate chili muffins

What I love about these muffins is that you just taste a simple chocolate muffin in your first bite. Maybe you’ve hit a jack-pot chocolate chunk, and you’re in chocolate heaven. Then you wonder what that other subtle flavour is? So you have another bite, then you get a lovely warmth on the back of your tongue – that’s the little chili kick at the end. It’s really a great combination of flavours!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Double chocolate chili muffins

Jonty still follows his basic muffin ratio quantity and I think this is a great base for any chocolate chunk muffin:

1 part egg : 1 part sugar : 2 parts liquid : 2 parts flour : 1 part butter : 1 part add-ins

For anyone not aware of how these ratios work, we’ve talked about it before (here and here and here), but essentially it really makes for an easy way to bake and to scale recipes. The only caveat is, you need a kitchen scale. And if you don’t have one already, and love to bake, you really should invest in one! You can pick up a decent one for less than $25.

The ratio recipes will usually start with the weight of a large egg, which will be around 50 g. For this recipe, we’re using 2 eggs, which usually comes out to 100 g. All the other ingredients scale from there.

So for 100 g of eggs, you’ll need 100 g of sugar, 200 g of milk, 200 g of flour… You’re catching my drift? It’s math, but it’s easy math. Honest!

It doesn’t take long to figure out how awesome it is to bake from a recipe using weight measurements versus measuring cups. In most cases, you only need one bowl – and when you don’t have a dishwasher, less time in the sink is always a good thing. The other benefit to baking with ratios is that it makes for scaling recipes up or down, a breeze!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Double chocolate chili muffinsClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Double chocolate chili muffins

So, if you don’t have one, go out and purchase your first kitchen scale, then make these muffins as a reward for being such a smart baker.

From taste-testing experience, these muffins are fantastic with your morning/afternoon coffee or tea and taste excellent on their or with a dollop of raspberry jam 🙂

Double Chocolate Chili Muffins
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 100 g (2 large) eggs
  • 200 g milk
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 150 g cake and pastry flour
  • 50 g dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 100 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 100 g (1 medium) ripe banana
  • 2 - 3 red thai chilis, chopped (optional, depending on heat sensitivity)
  • 100 g dark chocolate chunks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 7 g baking powder
  • 7 g baking soda
  • chopped walnuts, for the topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. Measure out all your ingredients before-hand. Melt the butter and leave it to cool slightly.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, or stand-mixer bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until frothy. Add in the sugar and vanilla and whisk on high speed, until the mixture is foamy, about 1 minute.
  4. While the mixer is running, slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until just combined. Scrape down the sides, as needed.
  5. Add the melted butter and whisk on high speed until completely incorporated. When fully incorporated, the mixture should look very fluffy and almost like a well-aerated cake batter. This should take about a minute on high speed.
  6. Add the ripe banana and whisk on high speed until combined. Finally, add the chilis and chocolate chunks and stir to incorporate.
  7. Place the batter in the fridge overnight to bake in the morning. If you want to bake these right away, still place the batter in the fridge while the oven is pre-heating.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and line a standard muffin tin with 6 muffin cups. Equally divide the batter into the 6 muffin cups. You want to aim to over-fill the cups. It's okay - they won't spill over too much! If desired, sprinkle the tops with chopped walnuts.
  9. Bake at 400 F for 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 F and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The muffins are done when a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre.
  10. As soon as the muffins come out of the oven, run a knife between the top of the tray and the base of the muffin top, to prevent them from sticking when you remove them from the pan. Leave the muffins to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

 Enjoy these Double Chocolate Chili Muffins!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Double chocolate chili muffins

Saturday Snippets: 08.April.2017

This felt like a really busy week, what with a few site visits + tax season + van work… Suddenly we’re back at Saturday again! I had a few other posts in the queue to publish this past week, but it was not meant to be. So here’s to next week 🙂

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 08.April.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • We finished our power training last week – we changed up some of our campus routine and tried to maintain a two-day rest in between campus sessions. I think both changes were a success, and our last session ended on a high note! Now we’re onto a round of power-endurance – bring on the forearm pump!
  • I love Lara Bars – these homemade cashew cookie dough versions look like the perfect climbing fuel.
  • Do you have a favourite donut? I’ve got a major soft-spot for Boston Creme donuts, which is why these cupcakes caught my eye!
  • Are you getting enough protein?
  • Does anyone have any good book recommendations? I’m in a blah phase at the moment, so I’m always on the hunt!
  • Photographers document how quickly some of the worlds biggest glaciers have been receding over the recent years. It’s quite a stark contrast (use the slider bar in the middle of each picture).

On Moby News (aka Sprinter Van Conversion):

Awning:

  • We had two dry days this past week, so we made use of them and finished hooking up the awning motor. This required drilling another hole in the roof of the van, so a dry day was key.
  • The cables go from the awning motor, through a waterproof cable clam that, and then down into the inside of the van. We’ve wrapped cable conduit around the wires that are exposed on the roof. So far so good – no leaking roof!
  • Yesterday, Jonty wired connected the wires to the awning controller, and we now have an electrically extending and retracting awning! Very exciting 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sprinter van conversion - installing a Fiamma awning motor

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sprinter van conversion - installing a Fiamma awning motor

More electrical:

  • Jonty has been prototyping boards that will house all of our electronic controls and displays. He thinks he’s nearing a version that has all the parts we’ve installed so far. The finished product will eventually be mounted above our inverter and electrical panels.
  • Tidying up all the wires and cabling, tucking everything into flexible cable conduit. There’s something very satisfying about seeing all the clutter disappear 🙂
  • An electrical part returned from being re-programmed. Now it reports values consistent with other components and the multimeter – finally it all works as expected!!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sprinter van conversion - control panel board

More wall panels:

  • This time for finished the sliding door (top and bottom) as well as the thin panels in between the back windows. I’m not going to lie – some of the covering is tedious, requiring me to use spray adhesive and a good old needle-and-thread, but we’ve been extremely happy with the end result!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sprinter van conversion - covering wall panels

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sprinter van conversion - covering wall panels

Pictures from the week of 08.April.2017:

I spent a day over in Sechelt last week, for a site visit. I love taking the early morning ferry – the clouds were starting to burn off, and the short 40 minute hop over to the Sunshine Coast was gave me enough time to snap a few pictures. There were only a handful of people on the outer deck, which made it nice and quiet for me to sit and enjoy the view.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Travel to Sechelt BC

I was near the front of the ferry for off-loading – it’s quite fun to see the doors of the berth opening, to reveal your destination.

 

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Travel to Sechelt BC

It was mid-afternoon when I finished my site visit, and I had a few hours to kill before my afternoon ferry was scheduled to head back to Vancouver. There’s a long straight road heading into Sechelt that runs right along the ocean, and it’s a great place to walk along the beach and enjoy the view.

Blue skies or grey skies, I find something so peaceful and mesmerizing about staring out into the ocean. I’m pretty sure many West Coasters feel this way, too!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Travel to Sechelt BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Travel to Sechelt BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Travel to Sechelt BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Travel to Sechelt BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Travel to Sechelt BC

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 01.April.2017

It’s the weekend, and we’re officially into April! If photography’s your thing, check out my new Monthly Photo Challenge word I posted yesterday. I feel like I’m continually wittering on about the weather, but it was a doozy this week.

We broke a 61-year-old rainfall record on Tuesday, with nearly 30 mm of rain (and that didn’t include the rain the day before AND after). After surviving 27 of the last 31 days of rain, it’s safe to say that all “wet” coasters are ready for some sunshine. Let’s hope April brings a lot of it! 🙂

Here’s a few things that caught our eye online this week. Our Saturday Snippets for 01.April.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter Van Conversion):

Awning:

  • Before the rain started on Monday afternoon, we installed the motor on the awning. Previously, it only had the manual wind-out attachment on it, and the other parts have been in the living room since last summer. Once we get a nice dry day, we can route the cables inside and finish the job.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sprinter conversion awning motor 02

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sprinter conversion awning motor 01

Shore Power Plug:

  • Jonty fabricated a mount for our shore power plug. He cut the aluminum pieces using a plasma CNC, and tig welded the parts together. It turned out really well! He was able to get under the van late this past week to install it.
  • We didn’t want to cut a hole in the side of our van, so the shore power plug is mounted underneath the van, on one of the existing struts.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sprinter van conversion -shore power mounted under the van

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sprinter conversion shore power mount 02

Shore power mount mounted under the van (looking towards the front driver side).

Kitchen galley:

  • We’re still trying to figure out a good counter top option for the galley. We’ve ordered a sink, and it should be here mid to late April, so we still have some time to figure things out.
  • We’re back and forth between solid surface (like Corian or Formica) or, more likely, solid wood. We’ll see!

Pictures from the week of 01.April.2017:

I had to head into Gastown for a hair cut this week. I think it’s one of my favourite areas in downtown Vancouver. I love the old, restored brick buildings and cobbled streets. Even in the pouring rain, dodging all the tourists and their big umbrellas, I think Gastown always looks good 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver - Gastown on a rainy day

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver - Gastown on a rainy day

I had a site visit in Sechelt yesterday too, and snapped a few pictures from the ferry. I’ll have a few more to share next week, once I download them off the camera. I always love heading over to the Sunshine Coast. It’s a quick 40 minute ferry ride away, and travelling there always makes me feel like it’s the start of a vacation, even though I’m actually working 🙂 While it was a long day, it was a good way to end the week (and the month)!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | BC Ferries - Sunshine Coast ferry views

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | BC Ferries - Sunshine Coast ferry views

Happy Weekend!

April 2017 Monthly Word: VIBRANT

I’m probably not wrong in saying that North American west-coasters are ready for March to be done. Vancouver has had a record-breaking winter – snow right into March, torrential rain for days (we broke a 61-year old one-day rainfall record this past week!), grey skies for too much of the month. With that, my Month of Today has come to an end. While I wasn’t a fan of the weather, I was a fan of that prompt! I’ll share the full photo round-up in a few days time.

April Month of VIBRANT

I’m done with the grey and gloom of this winter. In order to pull myself out of the doldrums, I’ve given myself a mandate to be on the lookout for colours. And not just a little colour, I’m looking for bold and bright and VIBRANT around town!

The trees are just starting to bud, and the flowers are desperately trying to bloom, and I’ll be on the look-out for those. But, really, our city is filled with vibrancy – painted buildings, colourful clothes, beautiful parks – I’ve just got to keep my eyes open 🙂

So, I’m dedicating April to my month of VIBRANT, and I would absolutely love to see your vibrant world, too! If you’d like to join in, please do (as many or as little photos as you’d like). I’ll post my findings on various social media places – Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter,  tagging #MyMonthOfVibrant and #MyMonthOfApril.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | April 2017 Monthly Photo Challenge - Vibrant

Here’s to a month of VIBRANT!

One-Pot Thai Peanut Shredded Chicken

Have you ever had an idea for something you want to eat, and it comes together exactly as you hoped it would? This Thai Peanut Shredded Chicken dish was that meal. Quite often, we start talking about our “weekend food” early in the week (like, Tuesday morning 😉 ). If we can, we try to cook something new on the weekends, because it can often take longer to make than a standard weeknight meal and we have more time.

I made a batch of my slider buns the previous weekend, so the plan was to do pair those with something. Our first thought was pulled pork (because we love it), but then I saw a few recipes float by online that used tantalizing words like Vietnamese and lemongrass and slow-cooked.

So my brain took those words and ran in a completely different direction and came up with: chicken breast, poached in a Thai broth, shredded and tossed in a spicy peanut sauce.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | One-pot Thai peanut shredded chicken

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | One-pot Thai peanut shredded chicken

Have you ever used the poaching method to cook anything other than eggs? We’ve poached fish before, but nothing else. I must say, this method was the main reason this meal came together so quickly, it’s fast and easy, and keeps the meat juicy and flavourful.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | One-pot Thai peanut shredded chicken

As a bonus, I found this was so quick to make that it could easily be moved into the weeknight meal category… and it only uses one pot… and you get super tasty leftovers…

What’s not to love!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | One-pot Thai peanut shredded chicken

We ate this Thai peanut shredded chicken piled high on the slider buns, topped with slices of fresh, juicy pineapple. It was a match made in Saturday-night food heaven.

I bet it would be equally fantastic in a taco or alongside a crunchy salad, or simply straight from the pan. This wild-card recipe is definitely going to be added to our weeknight rotation!

One-Pot Thai Peanut Shredded Chicken
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 500 g boneless skinless chicken breast, or 750 g bone-in chicken breast / thighs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and diced
  • 2 to 4 Thai red chilis (depending on how spicy you like your food)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (bottom ⅓ thinly sliced, middle ⅓ chopped into large pieces, upper ⅓ discarded)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 - 3 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 lime, zest + juice
  • 1 handful cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil, or neutral oil
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, saute the garlic, ginger, lemongrass slices and red Thai chilis in peanut oil until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken broth, chicken pieces and lemongrass chunks. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and poach the chicken until the meat is cooked, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken and place it on a plate to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, shred the meat with 2 forks.
  4. Skim off any fat from the chicken broth and return the pot (with broth) back to the stove top. Add the peanut butter and soy sauce and whisk to combine. Over medium-low heat, allow the mixture to reduce and thicken. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the lime juice and zest and chopped cilantro.
  5. Add in the shredded chicken and stir to combine. Once the chicken is warmed through, it's ready to serve.

Enjoy this One-Pot Thai Peanut Shredded Chicken!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | One-pot Thai peanut shredded chicken