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Here in the office, we really love chocolate. Barely an afternoon passes without someone handing round the sweet stuff, so when Eric Lanlard's new book Chocolat (Mitchell Beazley, £18.99) landed on our desks, there was no question which recipe we'd be trying first: cocoa-rich muffins dense with fudgy chocolate hazelnut spread – ideal for a tea-time treat. Eric suggests you serve them with a sprinkling of roasted chopped hazelnuts, but we've come up with a few other topping ideas you might like to try, too:
• Freeze-dried raspberry or strawberry pieces (you'll find them in the baking aisle)
• Carrot or button chocolate decorations – use a little icing sugar mixed with water to stick them to the cakes
• Melt a handful of white marshmallows in the microwave and dip the cakes into them to coat
• White chocolate chips
• A simple dusting of icing sugar
• Or simply devour them as they are while still warm!
You can bake these in regular muffin cases, but we love these high-sided tulip-shaped varieties for a bit of extra glamour. They can be a devil to fill, though – the high sides mean you're likely to get cake batter all over the place. To make it easier, spoon your cake mix into a disposable piping bag, snip a wide hole in the end, then pipe straight into the cases.
What's your favourite chocolate treat? Tell us in the comments box below.
CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT MUFFINS