For some reason, I have the hardest time bringing creativity to bear on breakfast. I could probably eat oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins every day for the rest of my life and be fine with it.
My kids, on the other hand, get done with oatmeal by the time they’re about nine months old. Ryan is now old enough that, like Nathan, if not offered something acceptable for breakfast, he’ll just go hungry. Hungry kids are considerably less fun than fed ones.
So I’ve been forced to be slightly less predictable with my breakfast menu. I started by branching out into other hot cereals, which were considered slightly more interesting (sometimes) by my children. Lately my big winners have been smoothies, muffins and pancakes. I’ve been working on expanding my repertoire in these three categories. Still, breakfast often feels like a bit of a struggle.
But some mornings, inspiration strikes. In this particular case, inspiration struck while I was snuggling Nathan back down to sleep at six in the morning. I’d recently discovered a few frozen raspberries that had languished forgotten in a corner of my freezer, and a vision presented itself to me: warm muffins, the crumb a rich chocolate from cocoa powder but without the overload of sugar that so often characterizes chocolate muffins, studded throughout with tangy raspberry gems.
Now, I admit that chocolate and raspberry is not exactly a new idea in the culinary world; I could probably have googled for “chocolate raspberry muffin recipe” and found a thousand of them out there. (Actually, I just tried it: 161,000 results.) But I chose instead to ride with the visceral sense that my brain had conjured, and use my Basic Muffin Recipe. I keep space on the recipe to add new variations as they suggest themselves; this one made the cut. (The kids might have liked a little more sugar and perhaps some chocolate chips mixed in. Perhaps another time.)
And yes, my children do sometimes eat breakfast naked. What can I say — it’s a casual household we run here.
Basic Muffin Recipe
The full recipe makes a dozen muffins, but I usually halve it, since the muffins are best fresh. I forget what recipes I worked from to make this formula, but I got the original idea from The Complete Tightwad Gazette.
2 1/2 c white whole wheat flour
1/2 c brown sugar or honey
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 c butter or coconut oil
1 c plain yogurt or sour cream
1/2 c milk
1 t vanilla
1 c mashed fruit or vegetable
Mix just to combine. Bake about 25 minutes at 400 degrees.
Our Favorite Variations:
banana or squash with chocolate chips
applesauce with apple chunks, cinnamon and nutmeg
squash with molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and touch of cloves
banana with about 1/4 c cocoa powder and raspberries