Ari’s Pick: Chocolate Millet Muffins

Dark chocolate and some toasted millet make for seriously marvelous muffins

chocolate millet muffinsBy name, these millet muffins may sound strange—millet and chocolate would hardly make a list of most popular culinary combos. The muffins, though, are one of the tastiest new pastries I’ve eaten in a long time. Not too sweet, a good bit of dark chocolate depth, a lovely slight bit of crunch from the millet (a bit like toasted rice), all baked into a muffin you can nibble on happily with morning coffee. The main attraction for me here is that the millet muffins taste great, but they’re also vegan. Vanilla, cocoa, chocolate, organic millet, organic wheat flour, banana purée, brown sugar, and canola oil. They’re a beautiful bit of baking as well—the millet shows through, sprinkled throughout the dough, sitting on the top like stars in a dark chocolate sky.

Amy Emberling, Bakehouse managing partner, shares:

We really wanted to create a vegan muffin. Over a year ago, pre-pandemic, we posed the opportunity to everyone and asked for trials. John Gies, night pastry supervisor, came up with the basic muffin that we loved. We thought it still needed another “something.” Someone on the pastry crew suggested millet, which is inline with our vision of expanding our grain repertoire.

I think the millet was a particularly great move. There’s something I love about millet that, when I eat it, makes me wonder why I don’t eat it more often. It’s got this light crunchiness and nuttiness. If you don’t know much about millet, you’re not alone. It’s the seed head of a grass that’s been eaten for over 7000 years now. We use it in our terrific Townie Brownies and Townie Brownie Cakes (along with Amaranth). While millet is a minor footnote (or we could say foodnote) for most Americans, in Niger, the home of the band Les Filles de Illighadad, millet is a major crop—much of the country depends on a good millet harvest to eat well in the following year.

I imagine if a Nigerien family were to start a patisserie in Paris, they might end up with something like this combination of chocolate and millet. I’m just thankful that the Bakehouse pastry crew came up with it! The more I nibble on these marvelous new muffins, the more I’ve begun to see that they could pretty easily become something I count on, a part of my morning routine in the most delicious and delightful sort of way!


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Ari Weinzweig
Co-Founding Partner at Zingerman's | + posts

In 1982, Ari Weinzweig, along with his partner Paul Saginaw, founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen with a $20,000 bank loan, a Russian History degree from the University of Michigan, 4 years of experience washing dishes, cooking and managing in restaurant kitchens and chutzpah from his hometown of Chicago. They opened the doors with 2 employees and a small selection of specialty foods and exceptional sandwiches.

Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is a nationally renowned food icon and the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses has grown to 10 businesses with over 750 employees and over $55 million in annual revenue. Aside from the Delicatessen, these businesses include Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Coffee Company, Creamery, Roadhouse, Mail Order, ZingTrain, Candy Manufactory, Cornman Farms and a Korean restaurant that is scheduled to open in 2016. No two businesses in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses are alike but they all share the same Vision and Guiding Principles and deliver “The Zingerman’s Experience” with passion and commitment.

Besides being the Co-Founding Partner and being actively engaged in some aspect of the day-to-day operations and governance of nearly every business in the Zingerman’s Community, Ari Weinzweig is also a prolific writer. His most recent publications are the first 4 of his 6 book series Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Series: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business (Part 1), Being a Better Leader (Part 2), Managing Ourselves (Part 3) and the newly-released Part 4, The Power of Beliefs in Business. Earlier books include the Zingerman’s Guides to Giving Great Service, Better Bacon, Good Eating, Good Olive Oil, Good Vinegar and Good Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Ari regularly travels across the country (and world) on behalf of ZingTrain, teaching organizations and businesses about Zingerman’s approach to business. He is a sought-after Keynote speaker, having delivered keynotes for Inc. 500, Microsoft Expo Spring Conference, Great Game of Business Gathering of Games, Positive Business Conference at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, American Society for Quality (ASQ), and the American Cheese Society. Most recently, Ari and Paul Saginaw were invited to address an audience of 50,000 for the University of Michigan 2015 Spring Commencement.

One of Zingerman’s Guiding Principles is being an active part of the community and in 1988, Zingerman’s was instrumental in the founding of Food Gatherers, a food rescue program that delivers over 5 million pounds of food each year to the hungry residents of Washtenaw county. Every year Zingerman’s donates 10% of its previous years profits to local community organizations and non-profits. Ari has served on the board of The Ark, the longest continuously operating folk music venue in America.

Over the decades, the Zingerman’s founding partners have consistently been the recipients of public recognition from a variety of diverse organizations. In April 1995, Ari and Paul were awarded the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award. In 2006, Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the James Beard Foundation. In 2007, Ari and Paul were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit magazine for their work in the food industry. Ari was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Cheese Society in 2014. And Ari’s book, Building a Great Business was on Inc. magazine’s list of Best Books for Business Leaders.

Notwithstanding the awards, being engaged on a daily basis in the work of 10 businesses and 21 partners, writing books on business and in-depth articles on food for the Zingerman’s newsletter, Ari finds time to be a voracious reader. He acquires and reads more books than he can find room for. Ari might soon find himself the owner of the largest collection of Anarchist books in Ann Arbor outside the Labadie collection at the University of Michigan library!

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6 months ago

I’ve bought your cookbooks in hopes of getting the chocolate millet muffin recipe but no luck. Is it possible to get this recipe for my use at home?

Zingerman's Bakehouse Marketing
Zingerman's Bakehouse Marketing
6 months ago
Reply to  Kathy

Hi Kathy! Thanks for reaching out. We haven’t yet published our Chocolate Millet Muffin recipe anywhere but that doesn’t mean we won’t at some point in the future. In the meantime, you can learn how to make them in our Breakfast Bonanza class at BAKE!, our hands-on baking school.