I recently had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go on safari in southern Africa. How does a tightwad from North America manage that? One of my clients is a boutique travel agency and wanted me to visit so I could write a first-hand account of the various safari destinations there. So it was as much work as vacation, if that makes you feel any better. The work is what made it possible.
In the non-work hours, a safari guide and tracker introduced me to a delicious drink called the mochachocarula: coffee, hot cocoa powder, and the South African cream liqueur Amarula.
While getting out muffin ingredients today, I remembered the drink and used it as inspiration. The dominant flavor in these muffins is chocolate, with just a hint of the coffee and Amarula coming through. I like the end product very much, but might try different proportions in future batches to make the coffee and Amarula notes stronger.
And don’t let the pumpkin throw you off. The muffins don’t taste pumpkiny. They just secretly supply your body with vitamin A.
- measuring cups and spoons
- 2 mixing bowls
- mixing spoon or electric mixer
- muffin tin with 12 2½-inch cups
- cooling rack
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- ¼ coconut flour (if not available, use all whole wheat flour)
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 Tablespoon to ¼ cup sugar or xylitol (less if you’re used to less sweetness, more if you’re not)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder or coffee substitute (such as Cafix)
- 1 cup pumpkin purée (canned pumpkin works great)
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 Tablespoons Amarula (if not available, try Irish cream)
- 3 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
- ½ cup chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet or dark baking chocolate (I used 90% dark chocolate)
- Mix wet ingredients (pumpkin, applesauce, oil, vanilla, Amarula, sugar or sweetener) together.
- Mix together flour, cocoa, coffee powder, baking soda, baking powder. Mix in an optional ½ teaspoon salt, then gradually stir in the wet ingredients. Batter should be somewhat lumpy.
- Stir in chocolate pieces.
- Spoon batter into muffin tin.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until tops are firm and inserted toothpick comes out clean.