Recipe Review

I Tried What’s Gaby Cooking’s Costco-Style Double Chocolate Chip Muffins and My World Has Flipped Upside-Down

updated Jun 24, 2022
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Credit: Patty Catalano

The Costco experience can be summed up in a single product: their muffins. The breakfast bakes come in a limited number of flavors and Costco’s aisles are more carefully curated than your local grocery. The muffins, just like everything else in the store, are oversized. They’re priced per dozen so members can mix and match two 6-pack flavors. It’s bulk buying at its finest.

Costco’s muffin mix-and-match mantra means that you can bring home classic breakfast flavors — blueberry or streusel — and score dessert at the same time. The Costco cake that masquerades best as a muffin are the double chocolate chip muffins. And it turns out I’m not the only one who grew up splitting those jumbo chocolate treats with her sister — Gaby Dalkin did too.

Dalkin is the cookbook author and blogger behind What’s Gaby Cooking and is known for recipes that reflect her California-girl style. So imagine my surprise when Gaby recently teased a copycat recipe for my favorite Costco muffins on her Instagram. Obviously, I gathered the ingredients from my pantry and immediately began baking. I had to know if Gaby’s homemade version could beat the colossal cupcakes (I mean, muffins) of my childhood. Here’s how it went.

Credit: Patty Catalano

How to Make What’s Gaby Cooking’s Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and some of the cocoa powder together in one bowl. Bloom the remaining cocoa powder in hot water in a separate bowl. Beat granulated sugar, vegetable oil, whole eggs, an egg yolk, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until combined. Add the cocoa powder-water mixture and beat until smooth. Alternate adding the sour cream and the flour mixture in three additions, then stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir in 2 cups of chocolate chips. Divide the batter among the cups of a standard 12-cup muffin tin or a 6-well jumbo muffin tin. Scatter the remaining chocolate chips over the batter. Bake the muffins until the muffin tops are tall and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Credit: Patty Catalano

My Honest Review of What’s Gaby Cooking’s Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

There is no bigger Costco fan than me, but their muffins were no match for Gaby’s Double Chocolate Chip Muffins. In a side-by-side comparison, Gaby’s muffins were intensely dark in color with an intense, chocolatey flavor. Costco likely uses natural cocoa for the muffins from their warehouse bakeries based on the lighter, reddish-brown color. I baked my batch with Dutch cocoa, and while Dalkin doesn’t specify a cocoa type in the ingredients list, judging from the darker hue of the muffins in the blog images I suspect she uses Dutch as well.

The homemade muffins had a fine, even crumb, while Costco’s feature a coarse texture with tunneling. Gaby’s recipe technique allows for better-baked muffins, because after mixing the fat, sugar, and bloomed chocolate, the sour cream and dry ingredients are added alternately. This allows the flour more time to absorb moisture without the risk of over-mixing.

The crown of Costco’s muffins were significantly flatter than the tops of Gaby’s impressively tall muffins. The cocoa powder, sour cream, baking, powder, and baking soda all contribute to the towering peak of Gaby’s sweet treats. Gaby’s muffins are packed with chocolate from the inside out, while Costco’s version had a fraction of the chocolate chips baked into the interior of the muffin, there were none garnishing the top. Despite my affinity for all things Costco, I’d take Gaby’s jumbo Double Chocolate Chip Muffins over the warehouse’s offering anytime.

3 Tips for Making What’s Gaby Cooking’s Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

  1. Use good-quality cocoa powder. Gaby doesn’t specify what type of cocoa powder to use in her muffin recipe, so I used my go-to brand. Cacao Barry’s cocoa powder is a Dutch cocoa powder with a higher fat content than the standard supermarket stuff. Guittard Cocoa Rouge Cocoa Powder is also an excellent option that many Kitchn editors stock in their home pantries.
  2. Sift dry ingredients. Even a fine whisk can leave tiny clumps of cocoa powder in the dry ingredients. The best option to incorporate the dry ingredients evenly is to pass them through a fine-mesh strainer or sifter.
  3. Bake in a jumbo muffin tin. Gaby offers instructions for baking both in standard and jumbo muffin tins. I tested the batter in both pans — for the true Costco effect, the jumbo tin is essential.