Friday, February 8, 2013

Healthier Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Have you checked out Pinterest yet? It's a great site for bookmarking anything and everything that you find online. And, more than that, you can browse through the bookmarks (pins) of others - either the people you follow or everyone on Pinterest, by category or as a whole.  

As you can imagine, the majority of the links that I pin are recipes that I want to try. And since I can browse the ideas of so many people, I often come across ideas that I wouldn't have thought of on my own.

Which is how I came across a recipe for "clean eating," healthy chocolate-chocolate chip muffins. They had me at "healthy chocolate," so I decided to make them right away. 

The recipe is flour-free, and includes apple sauce and greek yogurt (I used coconut milk greek yogurt to make them dairy free for little man), which, I'd imagine, contribute to their "clean" status. The recipe also calls for a sugar substitute, but I used regular sugar.

Little man had a lot of fun helping me measure, scoop and stir. And he did a really good job!

Then the mixture is blended (I used an immersion blender) until smooth, divided into a muffin tin and baked.

As the muffins were baking, I started washing the dishes. As I finished up and was wiping down the counters, after the muffins had been in for about five minutes, I realized that I'd made a mistake. I'd forgotten an ingredient. The recipe calls for a cup of hot water. Which, as I wiped the counters, I realized was still sitting in the microwave. But the batter was already divided into 24, among two muffin tins, and had been baking for five minutes. Shoot.

I decided to keep going and just see what happened.

Now, aside from the forgotten water, there was one interesting thing about this recipe... it called for the muffins to bake most of the way, then to sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top, then to finish baking them I wasn't sure how that would work, but tried it anyway.

And then they came out of the oven and cooled for a bit.

Okay, those are pretty flat muffins. And those chocolate chips did not want to stay on them.

But, believe it or not, they were pretty good!

And little man really liked the melty chips on top.

But I wasn't done.

I wanted to try them the "right" way - using all of the ingredients. I was curious as to how they would be different, and if they would be better!

Once again, little man was happy to help me measure and mix.

(and yes, we kept the computer close this time, and checked, double checked and then rechecked the listing many, many times!)

I also decided to include all of the chocolate chips in the batter, rather than sprinkling some on top.

So what were the results?

These muffins looked so much better! They did need a couple extra minutes to bake, due to the extra moisture, but the results were definitely better. Not that they were bad the first time, but the texture was so much smoother this time.

One final note. When I first made this recipe, I followed the link provided on Pinterest. When I went to make them the second time, the Pinterest link was no longer valid. Same link, but it told me that the specific url was no longer valid. Weird. So I turned to Google, where I found what looked like the same recipe. There were a couple of minor differences - I thought that the original recipe called for a whole cup of sugar (substitute), but the second only called for 1/2. They didn't taste any less sweet the second time, so I may just have remembered wrong. The other difference is that the original recipe said to prepare and divide the batter between two 12-cup muffin tins, and the second said to use just one. In reality, the second time I made it, there was more batter than could fit in one 12-cup muffin tin - it made 17 muffins.  Either way, chocolate muffins I can feel good about and that the kids enjoy are winners in my book!

Healthier Chocolate Chunk Muffins

(from Dashing Dish)

1 3/4 cup oats (I used old fashioned)
3 egg whites
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt) (I used greek-style coconut milk yogurt)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (or 2 tsp. vinegar)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup sugar (or sugar substitute that measures in the same way)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with foil cupcake liners or spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a blender, food processor, or in a bowl with an immersion blender, mix all of the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips. Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth.
Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop the mixture into prepared muffin pan.
Place muffins tin in the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Alternatively, when you mix in the chocolate chips, only mix in half of them. After the muffins have baked for 10 minutes, remove muffins from the oven (but don’t shut oven off), and distribute the other half of the chocolate chips on top of each muffin, then return the muffins to the oven for the final 2-5 minutes. When I tried it this way, most of the chocoalte chips fell off from the tops, but if you can get it to work, it looks super cool.
Allow the muffins to cool before removing them from the pan.

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