healthier chocolate muffins

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Today I woke up with a craving for chocolate.  I know, shocking.  But instead of grabbing a cupcake from the refrigerator (there are ALWAYS cupcakes in the fridge), I decided to make some muffins.  I wanted it to be healthy-ish, but I also didn’t want something too dense or packed with oats or wheat germ.  A few simple substitutions later, and I was left with a one bowl, no butter, no granulated sugar recipe that was quick and delicious.  The muffins were moist and soft, with a crispy muffin top, just like it’s supposed to be.  I added some mini chocolate chips because there’s nothing better than a warm muffin and those melted pieces of chocolate in each bite, but you can certainly leave them out to make them even healthier.

I’m now writing this post outside on my deck on a beautiful sunny morning, on the unofficial start of the summer.  I’ve got my dog laying down next to me, a warm muffin to my left, and a small cup of iced coffee to my right.  What more could you want?!

Healthier Chocolate Muffins
(Makes 6 jumbo muffins)

1/2 cup maple syrup
3/8 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup vanilla (or plain) yogurt
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg
3/8 cup milk
1 1/2 tbsp espresso (or strongly brewed) coffee
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (plus more to top each muffin)

Preheat over to 375F.  Line a standard jumbo muffin pan with liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, coconut oil, yogurt, vanilla extract, egg, milk, and coffee.  Once combined, add the baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.  Whisk until combined.  Add the flour and whisk until combined again.  With a spatula, fold in mini chocolate chips.

Fill each muffin liner almost to the top, a little more than 2/3 full.  You want the muffins to rise enough so that they develop that “muffin top” shape.  Top each muffin with a few (or ten if you’re like me) mini chocolate chips.  Bake for 20-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

– bake on,
Sharon

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Good morning muffins

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I am not a morning person. at. all.  When I have the option to, whether I’m working or not, I’ll be in bed until at least 8 or 9.  Too bad that most mornings I can’t have this luxury, and I am up before 5.  I always have been good about eating breakfast (you mean some people turn down the opportunity to eat?!?! I just don’t get that).   The last thing I want to do at 5 in the morning is try to figure out what to make for breakfast – so, these muffins are great and perfect to eat in the car if I am running late.

The first time I tasted a good morning muffin was at whole foods.  I thought it was so yummy that I immediately found some recipes online as inspiration and played around with ingredients.  Truthfully, I still adjust some of the ingredients and add-ons based on what I have at home – apple sauce, fruit butters, butternut squash all make these muffins taste so so good.

And by the way, if you have a kitchenaid mixer at home, USE IT.  I didn’t use it to make these muffins until recently, and wow.  I regretted not using it every time.  Not only did it make a huge difference in the prep time and eliminating the frustration of mixing a thousand ingredients together, but the muffins came out fluffier and tastier.

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Good morning Muffins
(makes 8 large muffins)

1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup fruit butter, apple sauce, or other fruit “mash”
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup sliced almonds or chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1 apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place muffin cups into a muffin tin.  Mix together all the dry ingredients (flour through salt) until well mixed and uniform.  In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together and continue to add wet ingredients (vegetable oil, fruit butter, and vanilla extract) to the eggs.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, gather together the add ins, and fold into the dough mixture.  Place approximately 1/2 – 3/4 cup mixture into each muffin cup and top with some coconut flakes or sliced nuts.  Place into oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes.  A toothpick placed into a muffin should come back clean when the muffins are ready.  Enjoy!

Breakfast on,
– shirley

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graham cracker chocolate chip muffins

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K and I just started watching Breaking Bad.  We’re a little late to the game – I know.  We’re about four episodes in, and so far so good.  It is definitely a bit more intense than the last series we just finished watching – Weeds.  So with my blood pressure up, and the football game in the background, I figured it was time to bake and relax.  Enter these graham cracker chocolate chip muffins.

These muffins are perfect because they’re very versatile.  I make them cupcake-sized, because it’s just the right portion size for breakfast, dessert, or a snack.  The base is your typical chocolate chip muffins, but the graham crackers in the batter, as well as crumble, is just that crunchy extra kick that you need to take this up a notch.  A great dish to make if you are looking for something simple, but unique, to make for your friends and family!

Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Muffins
(makes 12 muffins)
Adapted from How Sweet Eats

For the muffins:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup graham crackers, crushed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

For the crumb topping:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup graham crackers, crushed
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Line the cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, sugar, and salt, until blended.

In a large bowl, combine the milk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract, and beat until incorporated.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the large bowl, and mix until just combined.  Add the chocolate chips and mix with a large spoon, not a hand or stand mixer.

Pour the batter into the cupcake lines, filling each cup about 3/4 full.

Next, prepare the crumb topping.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and crushed graham crackers.  Add the melted butter and mix until the mixture resembles wet sand.  Top each muffin with a heaping teaspoon of the topping.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

bake on,
Sharon

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