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One thing people in any creative field get asked a lot is, "Where do you get your ideas from?" I can't speak for the rest of the creative world, or even the rest of the restaurant world, and honestly sometimes I'm not even sure where mine come from; a random smell, a color, a seasonal change. But in the case of this recipe, the idea came from a bottle of Irish whisky.
While browsing the whiskey section of the liquor warehouse, I got a recommendation for Clontarf Irish Whiskey, and quickly had a new favorite liquor. Slightly smoky and scotchy with a spicy smoothness, the first thing I thought was "mmm this wants chocolate."
Though chocolate and whiskey aren't a huge stretch in the world of flavor pairings, I couldn't stop there. I was still really into making cupcakes at the time and decided to make a batch of the cupcake's slightly more practical cousin, the muffin. Because what says a healthy start to your day more than hard liquor and chocolate chips? Hey, at least there's yogurt in them.
Starting with a basic yogurt muffin formula, I ran a few tests. Straight up replacing the milk in the recipe with whisky (something I love doing with wine in white cake) resulted in flat, overly boozy muffins that hurt to eat. After cutting back the whisky I was pretty happy with them, but made a batch for a friend with lactose sensitivities and substituted neutral oil for the melted butter, which resulted in an even fluffier muffin. With slightly fruity bittersweet chocolate and some fresh cinnamon, these muffins are a great way to start your day. Don't forget to warm them up so the chocolate is melty and top them off with some salted butter.
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About the Author: Anna Markow is a pastry chef obsessed with doing things that no one else does and giving unusual ingredients their time to shine. You can follow her sometimes-pastry-related thoughts on Twitter @VerySmallAnna.
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