Recipe: Chocolate Basil Muffins


14 Feb Recipe: Chocolate Basil Muffins

Since I’m an unapologetic chocolate addict and flower fanatic, you’d think I’d be blogging about Valentine’s Day with all the love in my heart and passion in my fingertips. But it’s one of those “special” days I ignore in part because it’s so contrived. It doesn’t help that the media, supermarkets and florists start pushing Valentine’s the minute your New Years champagne goes flat. By the time February 14th finally rolls around I wonder if you want or need another heart shaped anything.

So, I was going to let today slip by with nary a mention, without so much as a hint of red or a sliver of pink. No hearts, no cupids, no love poems. But my sister is wiser than I am. Although she knows my stance, she gently pointed out that not everyone shares my view and offered me her heart-shaped silicone baking cups for the occasion. Oh, she knows my weak spot. Baking. I took the hint — and the cups.

So, to celebrate Valentine’s Day and all the good things it represents, here’s a sweet recipe for you. Although these muffins employ an odd chocolate combination more suited to April Fool’s than Valentine’s, trust me, it’s amazingly tasty. None of my muffin samplers could guess the secret ingredient. My mom wondered if it was chili while my sister thought it might be cinnamon. My brother-in-law came closest with mint. Nope. It’s chocolate and … wait for it…

Basil. Yes, basil. Fresh, fragrant, green. green basil.

Since I can’t give you a heart-shaped chocolate basil muffin in person, I want to take you by the mouse, look you straight in the monitor (in a sincere, not creepy way) and ask you to be my Valentine. “Why me?” you ask, sneaking a longing glance at the chocolate muffin. Because you write nice comments, ask great questions, share culinary secrets, send encouraging emails, take the time to point out my errors, ship me hard-to-find ingredients (I’m looking at you, Ms. Julie VR), and lastly, because you read my words, tweet my posts and let me know that you like me.

And I like you, too. A lot.

Now, just say yes and we’ll get on with dessert.

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  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 17:39h, 14 February Reply

    Proof indeed that great minds do think alike … I posted in a similar vein today. Not a fan of Hallmark Holidays … but I’m a big fan of you, Charmian! And, with just one bite, I’d doubtless be a fan of these unusual beauties as well. A truly inspired treat! Happy Valentine’s Day!!!


    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 20:43h, 14 February Reply

      Too funny! I just popped by your site, read your post and said to my husband, “Hey, Diva just wrote my blog!” Your cat even looks like one of mine.

      Great minds, etc. Nice to see you back. Hope you managed to enjoy the day.

  • Mama Kelly aka Jia
    Posted at 21:31h, 14 February Reply

    Have to admit that I never even thought about pairing basil and chocolate. But I bet these would be wonderful in the peak of summer when I have more basil than I know what to do with.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 12:08h, 15 February Reply

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. While I love pesto, I can eat only so much of it. My chocolate limit, on the other hand, has never been reached.

  • Alejandra Ramos
    Posted at 13:15h, 16 February Reply

    OK…I am definitely intrigued. I love sweet and savory combos and mixing herbs into desserts. This sounds like it could be incredible!!!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:13h, 17 February Reply

      It is an intriguing combination. Basil is more subtle than using chili or cinnamon, more akin to adding a hint of mint. I was very hesitant to try this recipe, but am so glad I took the plunge.

      I see you made a bunt cake with chocolate and orange combined. That’s a great combination, too!

  • Lisa @ Sweet as Sugar Cookies
    Posted at 03:50h, 19 February Reply

    What an interesting idea to add basil to chocolate. I had no idea the two paired together so well. This sounds like a neat idea. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog called Sweets for a Saturday and I’d like to invite you to stop by and link your muffins up. http:/

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 10:16h, 19 February Reply

      It was news to me, too. I probably wouldn’t have tried it, but I was speaking with one of the book’s editors and she was so excited about the recipe, I just HAD to try it. Glad I did.

  • Michaela
    Posted at 08:25h, 05 March Reply

    Two of my favorite foods!! Who knew you could put them together??

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:29h, 08 March Reply

      I know. The combination surprised me too. But it works. Now I wonder what other amazing but odd pairing I’m missing out on.

  • Chandra Wong
    Posted at 11:23h, 28 July Reply

    hi :)

    I was given copious amounts of fresh basil and have been using it in cooking, but i really wanted to make a basil muffin. i came upon your post and thought, “PERFECT”. I meant to make the recipe exactly as written, except to make them in my new jumbo muffin tins – however i had to make a few minor substitutions. I made a double batch, and i needed to add a couple of Tbs. of dutch processed cocoa because i didn’t have quite a cup of regular cocoa. I also only keep skim milk in the house for my son, so i did the standard adding melted butter to the skim milk to make it a whole milk substitute. they are in the oven now – i’m guessing on the time because of the jumbo size.. but i can’t wait for them to come out. the batter (which i know you’re not supposed to test because of the raw eggs) is amazing! i loved the look of the basil and sugar after processing – so verdant and… perfect.

    i believe that your friend guessed mint as the secret ingredient because that’s such a common paring with chocolate – but this is ever so much better! :) please. i’m having a hard time waiting for them to bake. come on timer – go faster for me :)

    thanks for the awesome recipe and cool site!


    • Chandra Wong
      Posted at 19:20h, 28 July Reply

      they baked – they came out (about 31 minutes for jumbo muffins if anyone is keeping track). i ate one when it was probably “too” warm, but – Oh So GOOD! moist and chocolatey. the basil is warm of a warm undertone after they are baked. i shared with my friend who gave me the basil, and she couldn’t even pick out the special ingredient. she was thinking ‘something citrus-y, and a little herb-y”. makes me think that thyme and chocolate would be fabulous, too :)

      thanks again,


      • Charmian Christie
        Posted at 17:38h, 09 August Reply

        Thanks so much for the detailed feedback. I never tried jumbo muffin tins for this but I bet they turned out beautifully.

        Thyme and chocolate? Oh, that sounds great, too. I know lavender works nicely. Nothing like hands on research for such things.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 17:40h, 09 August Reply

      Great substitutions. You really seem to understand how the ingredients work together. Kudos for not just blindly substituting similar ingredients and then wondering what went wrong.

      Chocolate and mint is very popular but I think basil is an even better combination — especially when it’s so prolific this time of year.

      Thanks again for the detailed comment!

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