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Monday, July 5, 2010

Udi's Double-Chocolate Muffins

Pop quiz: what's the difference between a muffin and a cupcake? When you think about it, the line between the two foodstuffs comes down to intent; cupcakes are like a special, flashy, dessert sub-set of muffins that you can ice, whereas muffins are the utilitarian "part of a complete breakfast" super-set, which usually take butter and perhaps a jam or jelly. Well, now the folks over at Udi's have come up with a way to confuse the hell out of everyone: double-chocolate muffins. Finding these muffins in my local Whole Foods was, I'll admit, something of a pleasant surprise. While I was composing my last Udi's post, I came across the entry for these and thought "I've never seen these in my store. A week later, and boom! Awesome.

So, the double chocolate part. This basically means that the cupcakesmuffins are chocolate-based, with chocolate chips sprinkled throughout. And this is supposed to be something one eats for breakfast? Well, that's what I did, anyway. My findings? First, if you're familiar with any of Udi's baked goods, you'll find that these muffins are a little denser than their standard fare, but they still retain the basic consistency. For the uninitiated, we're talking about interior surfaces with lots of air bubbles and the like. Once you have heated them (I put mine in the toaster oven, but I do that with everything, so your mileage may vary), you'll find that the chocolate chips make for delicious pockets of liquid chocolate. Make these pools too hot, and you might not be as enthralled.

"Yes that's all well and good," you say, "but what of the taste?" Well, I think here, the muffins have made a concession towards being not-cupcakes. They're certainly chocolatey, don't gt me wrong, but their taste has... a certain edge to it that is difficult to explain. It's just a teensy bit of bitterness that keeps the muffins from being a full-blast chocolate extravaganza. Does it ruin the experience? Well, no, but it is puzzling. The best I can figure is the muffins need something to keep them tethered to the realm of actual breakfast products. And if that "something" turns out to be a slight increase in the rice flour ratio, well so be it.

As for the whole "part of this complete breakfast" business, you'd do well to pair these with something that's on the healthier side. I know that you shouldn't expect too much from something that's already billed as being "double-chocolate," but these things are rocking 350 calories, 15g fat, 80mg cholesterol, 250mg sodium, and 52 total carbs, per muffin. On the plus side: no trans fat!

Bottom line, I think these muffins are... okay. If any of you are absolutely jonesing for a more chocolate-based breakfast (or brunch or what have you), I certainly won't tell you not to go for it. For my money, though, I'm not sure I'd choose these again over the multitude of other breakfast options available to me.

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