Cacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate Glaze

Cacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate GlazeCacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate Glaze

“The beauty of the world, which is so soon to perish, has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.” – Virginia Woolf

Be it for breakfast, lunch, tea or even dinner – I stand by the claim that everyone loves to enjoy a comforting, humble and unpretentious muffin. And with a recent craving for one, I could not resist baking and sharing just one of my favourite muffin recipes with you.

It seems impossible to have too many muffin recipes. I have a fairly substantial collection in my home recipe box, despite offering only one other muffin recipe on the blog (…hidden in the back archives from the early days of butter and brioche). I do believe that every-person should have at least a few recipes at their disposal – the classic, the every-day, the twist and the dessert in disguise. And it’s these muffins that definitely fall into the latter.

Cacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate Glaze

Cacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate Glaze are rich, decadent and addictive – an unusual twist on the classic chocolate chip. The muffins are made with the usual suspects –flour, sugar, butter and vanilla but are creatively jazzed up by the addition of cacao nibs, honey, olive oil, white wine and cornmeal. Once baked, the muffins are then topped with an intense Espresso Dark Chocolate Glaze… and sprinkled with a generous pinch of cacao nibs – which elevates them into a devilishly good and dessert-like territory.

Cacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate GlazeCacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate Glaze

Though these ingredient additions may seem strange, they do provide much needed flavour balance and textural depth to an otherwise regular muffin recipe. Just a few little new things, which unveil a different muffin entirely – a muffin you will be guaranteed to love.

Cacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate Glaze

Cacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate Glaze have a unique and compelling flavour. They are not very sweet, due to the addition of cacao nibs to the batter and tops… and the espresso powder and dark chocolate in the glaze. If you do have more of a sweet tooth, you can easily substitute the dark chocolate for a lighter, milkier blend. Oh, and please don’t overfill the muffin liners too. Half-way is sufficient enough… take it from someone with experience, they will rise, and almost double – but flat-top when cooled.  

Cacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate GlazeCacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate Glaze

I am always on the look-out for the perfect muffin recipe to feature in my repertoire. And I do think I have stumbled upon it with these Cacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate Glaze. They are everything that a good muffin should be – moist and dense, not-so-sweet but rich… and moorish-ly addictive.

Cacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate GlazeCacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate GlazeCacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate Glaze

Cacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate Glaze
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12
For the muffins:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4.6 oz. / 130 g caster sugar
  • 3.6 oz. / 100 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2.5 oz. / 70 ml. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. white wine
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 3.6 oz. / 100 g all-purpose flour
  • 1.4 oz. / 40 g corn-meal
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1.8 oz. / 50 g cacao nibs, plus extra for sprinkling
For the glaze:
  • 5.8 oz. / 165 ml heavy cream
  • 4.2 oz. 120 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. espresso powder
  1. To make the muffins, begin by first pre-heating an oven to 350 F/180 C. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with 12 paper liners and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer, beat the eggs, yolks and caster sugar on medium-high speed until thick, doubled and glossy – 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, olive oil, white wine, honey, vanilla and salt.
  4. In a steady stream, slowly pour the butter and oil mixture into the egg mixture with the mixer speed on low. Pause mixing and add in the flour, cornmeal and baking powder until just combined. Fold in the cacao nibs.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin liners, filling them no more than half-way. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the muffin tops have set, are golden and slightly spring back to the touch. Please don’t overbake! The muffins will continue to cook upon being removed from the oven. Allow the muffins to cool in the muffin tin for about 10 minutes, before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Bring the cream to a light boil in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Immediately pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and espresso powder set in a small bowl. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed for 2 minutes, before beginning to gently stir until homogenous and glossy.
  7. Spoon the glaze over each muffin, allowing a little to drip down the sides, and sprinkle with extra cacao nibs. You can serve the muffins immediately, or wait a few hours for the glaze to slightly harden. The muffins will keep, tightly wrapped, at room temperature, for up to two days.

Cacao Nib Muffins with Espresso Dark Chocolate Glaze


  • Reply Nagi@RecipeTinEats April 21, 2016 at 12:23 am

    This looks amazing and addictive! The chocolate glaze is so alluring!

  • Reply July 5, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    These look amazing! I just bought a little tub of cacao nibs and now – thanks to you – I will use them in this fabulous recipe. I love your photography too – just beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe! 🙂

  • Reply Fiona June 21, 2015 at 9:29 am

    These look TDF! I love cocoa nibs and espresso – what’s not to like?

  • Reply Katie @ Recipe for Perfection June 17, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    I just love the photos! Especially how the chocolate just drips over the side! 🙂

  • Reply Daniela June 6, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Me too , I prefer to celebrate with muffins, of course only if they are as good as yours 🙂

  • Reply Kate June 6, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    I love muffins too, but I never make them?! I think I’ll change all that with these stunners!

  • Reply Amanda June 6, 2015 at 3:04 am

    These muffins are amazing!

  • Reply Tamanique June 5, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    So I actually made these. After seeing them they kept popping back into my head over the last two days, and this afternoon I baked them. REALLY GOOD. Perfect crumb thanks to the cornmeal with bait of crunch and exotic flavour due to the nibs. I did replace all the sugar with honey, and all the butter with olive oil, and in place of the white wine I used sake, cuz that’s what I had. This recipe is a winner.

  • Reply Rachelle June 5, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Wow! You put wine in muffins? I’ll take a dozen! Seriously, Thalia these muffins are beautiful!

  • Reply Carolyn @cookiesandcows June 5, 2015 at 9:50 am

    These look absolutely divine Thalia! I love the dark chocolate and espresso combination! I’m definitely a dessert for breakfast kind of girl so these muffins would be perfect addition to my breakfast table!

  • Reply Sarah @Whole and Heavenly Oven June 4, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    These muffins are total STUNNERS, Thaila! I cannot even stop drooling over that gorgeous espresso dark choc glaze! And I have a ton of cacao nibs currently sitting in my pantry that I need to use up!

  • Reply Kankana June 4, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Absolutely love espresso and dark chocolate and to that you added cocoa nibs. It’s a killer muffin. You got me craving girl.

  • Reply Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 4, 2015 at 4:52 am

    These muffins look soooo good!! The mix of flavours sound so interesting…will be trying this one.

  • Reply Vicky June 4, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Your photography is unreal. I die every time I open this blog.

  • Reply Linda | A La Place Clichy June 3, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    These muffins look wonderful. My mouth is watering just imaging that espresso dark chocolate glaze!

  • Reply Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary June 3, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Cocoa nibs, espresso glaze, honey, wine…. all in a muffin?!?! I’m in shock and awe delight over these muffins! Plus you said they are your favorite, which TOTALLY seals the deal on these little lovelies! I absolutely MUST make these. And I can’t wait! As always, I am drooling… your photography and recipes just keep getting better.. even when I don’t think that is even possible! Thanks so much for sharing! Cheers, pretty lady!

  • Reply Reiko June 3, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    These look and sound absolutely delicious! I love the glaze on these muffins. I LOVE the flavor created by chocolate and coffee (espresso) together. I’m not familiar with cacao nibs but I’ve heard about and seen them a lot and I think it’s time for me to try them.

  • Reply Helen @ Scrummy Lane June 3, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Love that – dessert in disguise! The last muffin I made (very chocolate-y) definitely fell into that category! What I love about these, Thalia, is that they might be quite decadent but they also look very elegant. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, tea or even dinner, as you say!!

  • Reply Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice June 3, 2015 at 11:55 am

    These muffins are absolutely stunning! I can’t get over this amazing flavor, Thalia! And I’m in love with that glaze!

  • Reply Jasline (Foodie Baker) June 3, 2015 at 9:53 am

    The espresso glaze is so alluring and it must have paired so well with the muffin, because they look too phenomenal and delicious!

  • Reply Sarah @ SnixyKitchen June 3, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Your photos are so inspiring and these muffins are no exception! Pinned!

  • Reply Danielle June 3, 2015 at 3:07 am

    I would take these over any plain chocolate chip muffin any day! That dark chocolate glaze sounds incredible!

  • Reply Amanda @ Cookie Named Desire June 3, 2015 at 12:46 am

    I love the flavors here, and I know the texture with the cocoa nibs would be so addictive! I can never resist a good muffin!

  • Reply Culina Sophia June 2, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    These looks sublime ! The photos are so crisp and elegant too. I may have to mix the dark chocolate with a little milk chocolate to cater for my unsophisticated palate but cannot wait to try!

  • Reply Louise | Cygnet Kitchen June 2, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    I absolutely love these Thalia, they look decadent and so grown up, I want one (or maybe two) now please!! Stunning shots as always xx

  • Reply marcie June 2, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    These muffins are so special and perfect any time of day. That glaze would be my undoing!

  • Reply Audrey @ Unconventional Baker June 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Cacao nibs + espresso + chocolate? I’m sold ♥

  • Reply Gourmet Getaways June 2, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Dark chocolate = Alesah. Need we say more? 😛 YUM!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  • Reply Claire | Sprinkles and Sprouts June 2, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Beautiful pictures 🙂

    And that glaze!!! Oh yum!!!

  • Reply FoodGeekGraze June 2, 2015 at 4:13 am

    speechless and hungry ♥ ♥ ♥

  • Reply Ana | Espresso My Kitchen June 1, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Never can have too many muffin recipes around. 🙂 Espresso dark chocolate, white wine and cacao nibs?! These look and sound pretty amazing!

  • Reply lynsey | June 1, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I know i said the title of your last post was heaven but i think you just out did yourself. xoxo

  • Reply Evi @ greenevi June 1, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    You are totally right about muffins 🙂
    This version looks amazing, I knew it’s my kind of recipe when I read white wine! Woohoo! Though the espresso and chocolate glaze sounds pretty cool too!
    P.S. I love that the muffins looks like beautiful little flowers!!

  • Reply Lisa June 1, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    These muffins are gorgeous! The look and the thought of that espresso dark chocolate glaze is now permanently engraved in my mind – I have to make these! I’m pinning this and saving it for next time I bake muffins.

  • Reply sarah k @ the pajama chef June 1, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    what a great muffin! i love the fanciness of this recipe. 🙂

  • Reply Jessica | A Happy Food Dance June 1, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, you can never have too many muffin recipes and this espresso dark chocolate glaze looks killer! Beautiful, as always Thalia!

  • Reply Sarah | Broma Bakery June 1, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Uhh, yum?! Cacao nibs are so under utilized but SO GOOD!

  • Reply Swati @ The Full-time Foodie June 1, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Love this recipe! Weirdly I always treated muffins like dessert and sometimes indulged after lunch/dinner when I crave something sweet. This looks lovely, will have to try it out 🙂

  • Reply Julie @ Cooks with Cocktails June 1, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    You had me at wine! My daughters favorite muffins are chocolate chip, but I usually find them to be kind of bland save for the chocolate chips of course. This recipe looks anything but bland. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes) June 1, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    You are so right about muffins. I used to eat a warm muffin after school every single day! It was afternoon ritual that I just adored. I would have loved to have had this growing up but I can have it now so I still win!

  • Reply Kelly // The Pretty Bee: Cooking & Creating June 1, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Wow, these are just stunning! That glaze! Just perfect.

  • Reply June 1, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Lovely and oh so tempting Thalia! I’ll probably dream about these until I can get all of the ingredients to make them!

  • Reply Marissa | Pinch and Swirl June 1, 2015 at 12:11 am

    I have a bag of cacao nibs in the pantry that and I’ve been wondering what to do with them. This is the answer! These look wonderful, Thalia!

  • Reply Emma @ Bake Then Eat May 31, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    I couldn’t agree more about muffins, everyone needs a few different recipes in their repertoire I never used to like them but over the last few years I have really come to appreciate them. I love the idea of olive oil in muffins, I shall definitely give these a go they sound perfect!

  • Reply Meagan @ The F&B Department May 31, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    These muffins are HANDSOME. They remind me of a well-dressed gentleman with the glaze acting as a vest and cacao nibs for buttons. Maybe that sounds silly, but these are sophisticated and simultaneously comforting. Beautiful!

  • Reply Sarah May 31, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Wow! These look out of this world! Beautiful photos as always 🙂 Would love to try these…

  • Reply Chrissy May 31, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Definitely an unpretentious muffin. Perfect!

  • Reply Katie May 31, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Hey! This recipe sounds awesome and I love the photos you took – can I ask what sort of setup you used (natural lighting, photo box, etc) to create them?

    Can’t wait to read more of your posts!

  • Reply Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar May 31, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    This is such a neat flavour! I love the sound of these muffins!

  • Reply Abby May 31, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    These muffins are gorgeous, Thalia! You always create the most beautiful baked goods. <3

  • Reply April @ Girl Gone Gourmet May 31, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Holy cow those look amazing – drippy chocolate is the best kind of chocolate 🙂

  • Reply Hannah | The Swirling Spoon May 31, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Such gorgeous muffins. I am kind of obsessed with making muffins at the moment… muffin perfection is harder than I thought! Yours look wonderful and the dark drippy glaze is so appealing!

  • Reply Laura | Lau Sunday cooks May 31, 2015 at 9:10 am

    White wine and chocolate together? Thanks Thalia, my dream comes true ! 🙂

  • Reply Maureen | Orgasmic Chef May 31, 2015 at 8:27 am

    I can almost feel that dark chocolate glaze on my lips as I bite into this gorgeous muffin.

  • Reply Beeta @ Mon Petit Four May 31, 2015 at 5:09 am

    These look positively decadent. They look just like the kind of muffin I’d want to curl up on the sofa with, with a cup of tea. I love that they’re not super sweet and made with dark chocolate. The espresso is definitely a nice touch too. And how interesting to use the olive oil, wine, and cornmeal together…it’s always the most unique ingredients that make such a wonderful difference! Beautiful job, sweet girl. XO

  • Reply Tieghan May 31, 2015 at 3:22 am

    I just got into cacao nibs, so these muffins are lookin KILLER! 🙂

  • Reply Mary Ann @ the beach house kitchen May 31, 2015 at 1:40 am

    Thalia that espresso dark chocolate glaze seals the deal!! These look fabulous! One can never have too many muffin recipes!

  • Reply June @ How to Philosophize with Cake May 31, 2015 at 1:32 am

    Yum, such elegant muffins! Espresso and dark chocolate are really the best 🙂

  • Reply Sam@SugarSpunRun May 31, 2015 at 1:31 am

    Beautiful Thalia! They sound amazing!

  • Reply Analida May 31, 2015 at 1:14 am

    These look delicious Thalia. White wine? Great recipe!

  • Reply Lori @ The Kitchen Whisperer May 31, 2015 at 12:47 am

    They look gorgeous Thalia! Very intriguing recipe with the addition of white wine, olive oil and cornmeal. I love cacao nibs and dark chocolate! This is getting saved for sure!

    Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Reply Anna @ Sunny side ups May 30, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    These muffins are absolutely gorgeous, and they look so delicious too! Dark chocolate and espresso are two of my very favorite things in life; I see these muffins happening in my kitchen really, really soon!! 🙂

  • Reply Medha @ Whisk & Shout May 30, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    This looks awesome! So many awesome, intense flavors (dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, espresso… awesome) but such a light treat 🙂 Pinning!

  • Reply Claudia | The Brick Kitchen May 30, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Wow – these muffins are so unlike any other muffin I have made but look absolutely phenomenal! Olive oil, white wine, honey, espresso and cocoa nibs are not something you often see together but it sounds like they create an amazing flavour – definitely on the list to try. 🙂

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