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Taste test: chocolate muffins

One way to launch a little romance on Valentine's Day is to start the morning with a seductive chocolate muffin. The warm treats are also a great way to share a little love with sweethearts of all ages. We purchased six chocolate muffin mixes from local food markets and baked each batch according to package directions. Judges appreciated the convenience of the mixes, the alluring aroma of the muffins coming out of the oven and the enticing flavors of the tiny cakes.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Krusteaz

Double

Chocolate

83
Martha White

Gluten Free

Chocolate

Chocolate

Chip 50
Martha White

Chocolate

Chocolate

Chip 43
Judges'

comments
These muffins baked into hearty cakes with crusty tops. "They are beautiful," said one judge who especially liked the deep chocolate flavor. "These would go marvelous with a Cutie tangerine," she said. "These are the prettiest," said another. "They are dark and moist with big, craggy cracks. They are intensely chocolatey, not too sweet and very appealing." A couple of tasters said they liked the soft chocolate centers of these muffins, comparing them to molten cakes. "This tastes like a big mug of cocoa," said another panelist.One judge described these muffins as rustic looking. "They are moist and rich and taste like they have chocolate chips baked inside," she said. "I love the crispy exterior." Another said these muffins looked like they were made from scratch. "They are dotted with chocolate bits and have a nice, crinkly top, a pleasant crumb and a rich chocolate flavor," said another. "Bring me a glass of milk!"Martha White's regular, gluten-containing muffins were lighter in color and texture than the competition. "These would be a bit dry if not for the liquidy chocolate swirls inside," said one judge. "The flavor is pleasant." Another described the flavor as "comforting," saying, "They remind me of eating at Grandma's house."
Would

they buy?
All four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.79 for a 20-ounce box from Publix.$1.48 for a 7-ounce pouch from Walmart.98 cents for a 7.4-ounce pouch from Walmart.


Also Sampled: Duncan Hines Simple Mornings Triple Chocolate Chunk ($2.98 for an 18.2-ounce box from Walmart, 24 points); Jiffy Chocolate (76 cents for a 7-ounce box from Walmart, 27 points); and Simple Mills Chocolate ($8.99 for a 10-ounce box from the Fresh Market, 29 points).

Panelists: Janet Keeler, assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and editorial director of Sundaysuppermovement.com; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Mary Jane Park, executive director of the St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District Association; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to mstark@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.



Serving sizeOne of 12 muffinsOne of five muffinsOne of five muffins
Calories250170180
Fat/Fiber4g / 2g4.5g / 1g4.5g / 1g
Sugars/Sodium23g / 240mg16g / 200mg17g / 190mg
Carbs/Protein38g / 2g29g / 2g31g / 2g

Taste test: chocolate muffins 02/08/16 [Last modified: Monday, February 8, 2016 5:07pm]
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