I was intrigued by the Double Chocolate Rye/spelt muffins touted on Green Kitchen. Chocolate and rye!!!. Rye flour in the U.S. is associated with heavy, gummy, serious breads––certainly not pastries. Doubters (Sally) warned that they could be “brown rocks,” or worse “Scandinavian cow pies” given the weightiness of the ingredients. But it seems that chocolate and rye** are a familiar and much loved taste combo in Denmark, especially for breakfast during the cool months. And Green Kitchen said they were delish, so I decided to try them.

I tweaked the recipe by adding extra-strength vanilla extract, substituting my famoso Vanilla Salt (below: easy, but not essential), and throwing on some extra chopped chocolate. The muffins—served warm with plain Greek yogurt and a lemon squeeze—were light and fluffy, almost rivalling Aunt Essie’s devil’s food cake. Not too sweet, and certainly not the dreaded thumper duds I was warned about. I suspect the rich coconut milk was key to their success. Proof of the pudding: neighbors sniffing the baking chocolate swooped in and carted them all off.

Susan Dworski
Susan Dworski

Recipe: Double Chocolate Rye Muffins 

Makes 12 large muffins

Dry ingredients

1 scant cup (240 ml / 150 g) whole grain rye flour
1 cup (240 ml / 125 g) fine spelt flour
6 tablespoons cacao powder

2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt such as Malden, flour de sel or Vanilla Fleur de Sel*, divided in half

Wet ingredients

3 eggs
1 cup (240 ml) full-fat coconut milk
2/3 cup (160 ml) maple syrup
2/3 cup (160 ml) extra virgin olive oil
3 1/2 to 4 ounces (100 g) 75% cacao dark chocolate (best quality), coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, preferably double-strength

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Sift together all dry ingredients, including 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, in a large mixing bowl; save the remaining half teaspoon of the salt for topping.

Crack the eggs in a separate bowl and beat them for about a minute. Then add the coconut milk, maple syrup and olive oil while constantly stirring. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture.

Add half of the chocolate to the batter. Use a spatula to carefully fold everything until combined. Divide the batter into the muffin tins and top with the remaining chopped chocolate.

Bake about 18 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining salt and serve. Best enjoyed still warm from the oven served with plain Greek yogurt and lemon.

* Vanilla Fleur de Sel
Delicious served over many savory dishes like fish and delicate seafoods, as well as vegetables and green salads with seasonal fruits and berries. Of course, it’s fantastic as a final touch for cookies, muffins, brownies and homemade granola. Easy to prep: split two whole vanilla beans and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a paring knife. Place in a tightly lidded, 8 oz. spice jar with high quality Maldon or fleur de sel salt; stir to combine mix vanilla seeds with salt. Shake every couple of days to let the vanilla permeate and perfume the salt, wait a week, and you’re ready to roll. General rule: 1 cup of salt per bean. But being a big vanilla fan, I prefer more beans, less salt.
Muffins before baking:
Susan Dworski
Susan Dworski

Muffins just baked:

Susan Dworski
Susan Dworski

Susan Dworski

**Editor’s Note: When Susan first mentioned the combo of chocolate and rye, we did a  preliminary test. We put thin slices of chocolate on rye crackers and crunched: SWELL.

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