Friday, July 20, 2007

Very berry chocolate brownie muffins

I have always been fascinated by berries, berries of all and any types. I think it all started back when I was young and read Enid Blyton’s books. The characters in her books were always out picking and eating strawberries, blackberries or raspberries, while all I had in Malaysia were rambutans, lychees, longans and mangosteens. Ok, I admit, it wasn’t so tough having the Malaysian versions!

Anyway, one variety that I have always wanted to try (but never got around to it) is the groseille (red current). For about 4 years, I actually didn’t know what it was called in English…until yesterday when I went on a mad hunt trying to find the English name for it.

I love the bright red colour and the little succulent-looking berries. Seeing some at the local fruit and veg shop the other day, I decided to buy a (big) punnet! I rushed home and eagerly dived into the punnet to try my newly acquired treasure.

And urggghhhh…..they were really really REALLY sour!

Someone could have warned me!

So I’ve had this big punnet of sour red currents for a week and now I only have 1 day left to use them up before my extra long weekend in La Rochelle (yay!)!

What do you do with sour red currents? Sour fruit salad? Sour jam? Sour compote? Sour fruit pie? Chocolate brownie muffins?

Yep – you read correctly, chocolate brownie muffins...with sour red currents.

Ingredients and Recipe (adapted from The Joy of Baking)
150g chocolate chopped or broken into bits
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup (105 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup of red currents
(Makes 12 muffins)

Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. (I was lazy and just melted the 2 ingredients directly in the saucepan).

Mix the chocolate and butter well, and when melted, let the mixture cool for a couple of minutes then add in the sugar. Mix well. Add the vanilla and the eggs one by one, mix well.

Finally, add in the flour and salt and oh, mix well! Then add in the red currents and gently stir until the currents are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Be careful not to squash the currents like I did!

Pour batter into the muffin cups or tray. Bake at 325F (170C) for roughly 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin has moist crumbs sticking to it.

The muffins were absolutely delightful and moist. They weren’t as compact and heavy as brownies, and the tartness of the groseille balanced out the sweetness of the chocolate so it wasn’t sickly sweet (especially important after I’d eaten about 3 in a row!).

Anyway, on that note, have a great weekend everyone. I’m off to the parents in-laws for an extended long weekend in sunny La Rochelle.


  1. wow!!! great muffin and great pic as well ^_^

  2. I only use fresh red currant one time and I live it. the flavor as a beautiful color.Unfortunately I never saw again in this country.Wonderful post and photo

  3. what a good use for sour berries! I stil remember my first experience with fresh cranberries, they were far too tart for me!!(quite unlike the dried version)...
    Have fun at La Rochelle!

  4. I'm going to say that if it has fruit in it, it's good for me :)

  5. Nice looking brownie! Have fun at your in-laws!

  6. Yummy looking brownies and I love the red currents. Have a great trip to La Rochelle!

  7. I'm not one for sour berries, that's why I don't much care for raspberries. I love picking berries b/c you can choose only the ripe ones and they're so sweet that way!

    Have you tried gooseberries? Cloudberries? Marionberries (Invented in Marion County, Oregon.)? :)

  8. OMG!! that looks so sinful!! I would love to have one:(
    I have never seen red currants. wonder how they look like.

  9. Delicious!
    I have red California raisins I could use in those yummies!:)

  10. I think I have tried those red currents before. Sometimes, 1-2 are used for cake garnish ? Don't know if they are red currents are they are VERY SOUR. :(

    Hmmm...looks like you are into more baking lately.

  11. Hey W&S! That's a beaut looking choc-muffin you've got there. This is my first encounter with the red currant, on your blog! I do so miss our tropical fruits, though. I'd choose to eat them over any berries, ANYTIME! Have fun at the in-laws in La Rochelle!

  12. Oh my my, your muffin looks exciting... can't wait to dig up all the red currents.

  13. Hi, I´m back from holiday. Paris is beautiful, isn´t it?. So, I´ve done my homework. Can I pick one muffin?

  14. Great way to use a too-tart berry! It looks beautiful and delicious. Hope your stay with the in-laws is wonderful.

  15. For the very reason, I don't even look at red currants. Too sour for my liking. Mmmm, now you have made me wonder. :)

  16. wokandspoon,
    Just curious. How come the muffin looks so flat-top?

  17. What a terrific way to use the red currants. I love brownies with a bit of a twist, and so I thinks your adaptation of the recipe is great.

  18. heh heh, not a bad idea! but aren't the seeds a little annoying? i haven't bought red currants in ages but the last i remember, i froze them in ice-cubes, i think. pretty way to get rid of them! :)

  19. A brownie muffin, what a brilliant idea! Sounds like my kind of breakfast.

  20. Ooh brownie muffins... What a great combo. I love brownies, but they would be too heavy for breakfast so a muffin version sounds just about great. :D

    Have a great weekend in La Rochelle!

  21. Wok&Spoon, a brownie dough can make wonderful things, ya? Pour it into a paper cup and you get brownie muffins. Spread it out in big rounds and you get chewy brownie cookies.

    I haven't tried red currants here. There are a couple of similar looking berries here called 'Johanisbeeren' and something else (I forget what). Quite expensive though.

    Ya, lah. Enid Blyton used to make me fantasize about her picnic food, too. She could even make boiled eggs eaten with "a twist of pepper and salt" sound good.

  22. Hi, I have to try this, look so delicious, yummm :)
    Have a nice trip.....

  23. Isha : Thx !

    Sylvia : Thanks! Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen red currents in Melbourne either... then again, I’ve never really looked.

    Mandy: I haven’t tried fresh cranberries – only dried ones! I’ll have to try that sometime as well. And thanks, I am having fun here – too bad the weather isn’t that great!

    Kelly: hehe – that’s what I tell myself ;-)

    LittleCorner: Thx!

    EastMeetsWest: Thanks also!

    WanderingC: I love picking berries as well but haven’t had much opportunity to do so in the last few years. And no – haven’t tried gooseberries, cloudberries or marionberries! What are marionberries? Will have to look it up!

    Sharmi: The red berries in the photo are red currents. I never knew what they looked like either.

    Asha: Red california raisins? I always thought raisins were dark in colour.

    Tigerfish: Yep – the currents were sour! Yep – trying to bake more but then I have to eat what I make....not great for my diet!

    Ohfortheloveoffood: I’d pick tropical fruits anytime over berries as well! Mmm, give me a mangosteen anyday!

    BigBoysOven: Thanks!

    Retno: Where did you go on holiday?? Paris?? I’ll have to wait till I get home on Thursday to check out your homework ;-) And yes, you can have a muffin!

    Lynn: Thanks. And I am having fun here, even though it’s raining!

    Judy: I think as long as you have something sweet with the red currents it should be fine. I found the currents on their own too sour.

    Kok: No baking powder. It’s not really a muffin – more like a brownie – quite compact.

    NoraB: Thanks. I wasn’t sure how they would turn out but everyone liked them so guess they came out ok!

    Shilpa: The seeds in the red currents are actually very very very little (much smaller than grape seeds) so you don’t really taste them and you can pretty much eat them. I actually quite like them – they give the currents a little crunch! Ice cubes are a great idea! Especially for summer!

    Amy: Thanks for dropping by! Hehe – sugar rush first thing in the morning!

    Kenny: Hehe – yep, as I said to Amy just above, it’s a big sugar rush first thing in the morning ;-) And I’m still on my weekend so having a great time!

    Argus: Hmm, I’ll have to check out what the Johanisbeeren are. I can’t remember what the red currents were called in German. I loved the Enid Blyton books with all the pixies and elves and all the little tea parties!

    Everything4Sweets: Thanks!

  24. What a fantastic way of using the berries!

    It's not easy to find these here in Brazil and they are quite expensive. I tasted them a while ago, (2 years, I think) during a cooking class, and thought they were very tart (but I love tart things!) :)
    The cooking teacher decorated a Yule Log with them.

    I really prefer your brownies!

  25. My other half says Johanisbeeren are red currants. There were some pale, light yellow ones in the store yesterday. But, like you, I love gazing at the red ones.
    Before, I imagined them to be sweet-tangy; now, thanks to you, I know better. ;-)

  26. Delicious ! :) My MIL make her nice chocolate cake with a layer of cherries (sourish kind) at the bottom. It's a great combination. :)

  27. W&S,
    Marionberries are a type of blackberry, but invented in Marion County, Oregon. :) They're larger and sweeter, in my mind.

  28. hmmmmm i guess am too late now, maybe this muffin has over! :P

  29. O my my...those are so tempt-li-cious
    First time visitor to your blog and am so much in love with ur recipes. hey include me too in the list of rice-eaters, cannot live without it.
    Want rice daily in any form/kind. Already added u to my blog roll.

    I am a new blogger, if time permits do visit me at

  30. Hi, again. I bought a big punnet of Johannisbeeren (red currants) two days ago and have been making pancakes every afternoon - mmm, yummy-delish when you add a spoonful of powdered sugar to the batter before panfrying. The light sweetness balances the tartness of the currants I add to the batter in the pan - together with a few slices of nectarines.
    Thanks for the idea, Wok&Spoon!

  31. Patricia: Thanks! Yep – they are very tart but perfect with a very sweet dessert I think.

    Argus: I think you’re right! Ooo, I haven’t seen the light yellow ones. And the red ones are pretty. And no, not sweet-tangy – sour sour sour!

    CookingNinja: Hmmm, it sounds a little like a black forest cake – yum!

    WanderingC: Hmm…if I ever visit the US again, I’ll definitely have to try the marionberries. I haven’t seen them over here.

    Lia: hehe – there are no muffins left! All gone!

    Padma: Thanks for dropping by! I’ll definitely be visiting your site soon!

    Argus: Oooo, great idea Argus! Hehe – you definitely need a bit of sugar with the Johannisbeeren!

  32. oh man, its 5:30 in the mornugn and i have such a sweet tooth. these look farkin awesome!!

  33. Aria: You're up at 5:30 in the morning?? Early bird!


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