Sunday, April 3, 2016

Wine and Cheese Chocolate Muffins #SundaySupper

Depending on the day, asking me how I feel about Italian customs may garner eye rolling, sighs, or enthusiastic babble from me. Living in a blended family where (until recently) half the household was die-hard Italian born and bred and any and every celebration denoted 20-odd Italian-Canadians (brothers, sisters, children and cousins) descending on the house for a raucous party, I never quite "got" their passion for loud, familial gatherings. I was raised in a plain-Jane, small but relatively close-knit family where aunts and uncles were almost exclusively out of province and even Christmases never totaled more than 10 people at the table, so the exponential expansion is still a little much for my introverted self to contend with.

That said, I do like Italian culture in the traditional sense - especially their penchant for homemade, from scratch ingredients and meals. I love making my own tomato sauce, bread, ricotta and pasta, especially over the summer when I have the time - and while we do grow our own grapes here, our homemade wine is more like rubbing alcohol than a fine sipper, so it stays out of the glass, out of the pot and (for the most part) down the drain. Instead, I take advantage of the world of wines available at our local liquor store, some of which (like the Italian variety I used in today's recipe) were gifted to me by parents at my school.

In the spirit of this week's #SundaySupper "Italian" theme, I went all-in to create a treat that encompassed some of my favourite Italian flavours and ingredients. My homemade ricotta combined with rich red wine, cocoa and just a hint of almond flavour to make a thick and moist cradle for a single Hershey's Kiss. While sweet and rich, they're definitely still "muffin" territory, and I would shy away from trying to gild these with frosting - if anything, a smear of almond butter would be the furthest I would go. The intense moisture and tenderness of the crumb (almost too soft to work with muffin liners) will make you forget they're over half whole wheat and egg free!

Wine and Cheese Chocolate Muffins

Enjoying our family around the dinner table is what #SundaySupper is all about, making this week’s Italian event a perfect pairing. From Antipasto to Zabaglione and everything in between, we're gathering to enjoy a feast of (Roman) empirical proportions! Our host this week is Manuela of Manu’s Menu.

Here's what we're serving up this week:

Appetizers:

Mains:

Dessert:

Beverages:

Artichoke Torta plus More Recipes for Italian Fest from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Wine and Cheese Chocolate Muffins
Adapted from Eggless Cooking
Makes 12
1 cup extra-smooth (or pureed regular) whole milk ricotta cheese
5 oz (by weight) whole milk (about 9 tbsp)
1/4 tsp almond extract
½ cup dry red wine (I used Doppio Passo Botter Primitivo Salento IGT)
¾ cup sugar
¼ tsp Cabernet Salt (or sea salt)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¼ cup canola oil
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 packet Aero hot chocolate mix (or your favourite hot chocolate mix)
¾ cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
12 Hershey’s Kisses (original or dark), unwrapped
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cheese, milk, extract, wine, sugar, salt, vanilla and oil.
  3. Whisk in the cocoa powder and hot chocolate mix until well combined.
  4. Add the flours and baking powder, mixing until just combined.
  5. Fill muffin cups ½ way full (about 1 ½ tbsp) and place a Kiss in the middle of each. Top with remaining batter.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, until the muffins spring back to the touch - the toothpick test won’t work for these!
  7. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 237.2
Total Fat: 9.9 g
Cholesterol: 12.7 mg
Sodium: 35.5 mg
Total Carbs: 32.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
Protein: 5.7 g