Adapted slightly from "The Great Book of Chocolate," by David Lebovitz.
• 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese (regular or Neufchatel), softened
• 1/3c. granulated sugar
• 1 egg
• 1/3c. semisweet chocolate mini-chips
• 11/2c. flour
• 1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
• 5 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1/4tsp. salt
• 1 c. water
• 1/3c. unflavored vegetable oil
• 1 tbsp. white or cider vinegar
• 1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12-cup muffin tin or line it with paper cupcake cups.
Prepare the filling: In the small bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, granulated sugar and egg, beating until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the chocolate mini-chips; set aside.
Prepare the cupcake batter: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl combine the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and stir in the liquid mixture, stirring only until smooth. (Avoid stirring further.)
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups-- about1/4cup each. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the filling mixture into the center of each. The tins will be quite full.
Bake 23 to 25 minutes, until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed.
Cool completely before removing paper liners. The centers sink as the cupcakes cool.