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Coco cocoa muffins

There comes a time of year when what's happening outside the kitchen windows makes what's happening on the inside just a little bit cozier. After weeks, in fact months, without rain here on the island the sky finally opened up overnight, bringing wetness and freshness and puddles back to our neighbourhood. And although the rain is much needed, it's still somewhat difficult to say goodbye to the warm blue sky days we were treated to for so long. But a wet and cloudy day is the perfect excuse to get out the stand mixer and raid the baking cupboard for ideas. The first thing I grabbed was cocoa powder. The second was shredded coconut. The result is these rich, chocolatey muffins with shredded coconut in the cake and even more sprinkled on top. There's just no grumpies allowed when these are what's coming out of the oven!

Here's how I made them:

2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut, plus another 1/4 cup for topping

While my oven preheated to 375 degrees (F), I added the eggs, oil, milk, sugar and vanilla to a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth (I used my stand mixer, but a hand electric beater would work great too). In a separate mixing bowl, I whisked together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, nutmeg, salt and 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut. The dry mixture was gradually added to the wet mixture, beating well between additions. I poured the batter into my muffin pan lined with paper muffin cups to about 1/4 inch from the top of the paper. The remaining 1/4 cup of coconut was sprinkled on top. The muffins baked for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre of one of the muffins came out clean.

So bring on the cloudy, rainy dark days of fall! There are endless possibilities hiding in the baking cupboard to keep me entertained on the warm side of the kitchen windows.

What's happening in your baking cupboard? Are there chocolate chips, sprinkles and other goodies waiting for a rainy day? What do you bake when the weather turns cold and gray?