Mint-Filled Brownie Muffins

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This fudgy muffin hides a bright minty surprise. One bite into the warm chocolate reveals the chilly taste of cool, creamy mint.

This quick and easy recipe requires the use of only one bowl, and you may already have the ingredients in your kitchen pantry.

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Mint-Filled Brownie Muffins (makes 12)

1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
¾ tsp salt
3 eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
12 (1 ½-inch) chocolate-covered peppermint patties

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Put chocolate chips and butter in a heatproof medium mixing bowl and microwave, just until melted, in 30 second intervals.
3. Whisk in sugar and salt until mixture is smooth.
4. Whisk in eggs.
5. Gently whisk in flour and cocoa until smooth (do not overmix).
6. Fill each muffin cup with batter to ¼ full. Place one peppermint patty on top of each muffin and gently press it into batter. Distribute the remaining batter on top of each muffin cup.
7. Bake for 30-33 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
8. Transfer muffin pan to a cooling wire rack to cool completely before removing muffins.

*Notes:
Muffins can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers.

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Hot Chocolate Muffins

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This muffin is as comforting as a steaming mug of cocoa on a freezing cold day. In fact, the recipe was “born” on a blistery day (negative four degrees in Chicago) when 2-year-old Michael was up for the day at 4:30am.

As the muffins bake, the marshmallow filling melts the way the jet-puffed candy dissolves into creamy hot chocolate. The toasted marshmallow top creates a perfectly browned hue and adds a touch of sweetness – a must. Serve with warm milk or as dessert on a snowy day.

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Hot Chocolate Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½  tsp baking soda
½  tsp salt
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup sour cream
½ cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup small marshmallows OR 12 large marshmallows

Marshmallow Filling*

1 cup cream cheese, whipped (at room temperature)
1 cup marshmallow cream (Fluff)
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

* recipe yields extra filling

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper muffin liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, sour cream, butter and vanilla.
4. Pour liquid mixture into dry mix and combine.
5. Distribute batter into muffin cups to 1/3 full.
6. For the Filling, whisk together cream cheese, marshmallow cream, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.
7. Place one heaping teaspoon of filling and a few small marshmallows into each center.
8. Top with remaining muffin batter to no more than ¾ full (or else muffin tops will expand and reach one another during the baking process).
9. Place about 3-4 small marshmallows and/or 1 large marshmallow on each muffin top and prod into batter (be sure to prod into batter or else the marshmallows will slip off during the baking process).
10. Bake 16-18 minutes.
11. Allow to cool 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.