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Reduced Fat Chocolate Muffins

by on January 6, 2010 · 16 comments

There are few things more boring than jogging on a treadmill, but if I have something to occupy my mind it’s not so bad. Yesterday, it was this muffin recipe. Using my favorite King Arthur recipe as a springboard, I tried to think of how I could reduce the fat, add more protein and maybe a little fiber. When I got home from the gym, I wrote the ideas on paper and finally tested the muffins this morning. They were delicious! They’re not as rich as the previous slew of jumbo muffins which call for butter, but they taste great and don’t require any specialty ingredients other than the whole wheat pastry flour which is becoming pretty mainstream. As for the Greek yogurt, you could use any plain yogurt, but I like the Greek kind because it is packed with protein.

I used a 6 cup muffin tin and filled the muffins to the rim. They’re big muffins, 3 oz each, which is why Mastercooks says they’re 240 calories each – more calories than I wanted in each muffin, but not unreasonable since they’re so big. Mastercook also said the fat count was 8 grams (30% of the total calories), protein was 4 grams and the fiber count was 4 grams per muffin.

reduced fat chocolate muffins

Reduced Fat Chocolate Muffins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Moist chocolate muffins made with applesauce instead of butter.
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 6
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour (110 grams)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (30 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt (3/8 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T. light brown sugar, packed (110 grams)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 oz Greek yogurt (the kind with 18 grams protein per 6 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (1 ½ oz)
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. 6 muffin cups with paper liners
  2. Stack about 8 paper towels on the counter and pour applesauce on paper towels. Spread the applesauce around in a circle almost as wide as the towels letting the towels soak up moisture from the applesauce; Let sit for about 5 minutes. You could probably do this step in a strainer, but I did it with towels.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a small mixing bowl.
  4. Scrape the drained applesauce (weight should be 5 oz, volume should now be heaping ½ cup) off the towel and place it in a second mixing bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, egg, yogurt, oil and vanilla.
  5. Pour the dry mixture into the applesauce mixture and stir a few strokes, then add the chocolate chips and stir until blended.
  6. Divide batter equally among 6 muffin cups, filling to the top, and bake for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick or chopstick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Makes 6
  8. Note: Try substituting 5 oz (heaping half cup) of pumpkin or 5 oz mashed banana for the applesauce.

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Published on January 6, 2010

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Ernst January 6, 2010 at 2:49 pm

These look like a good “everyday” alternative to less healthy muffins. To me, 250 calories for a jumbo muffin is a steal, but then I’m not one to count calories. I particularly like the addition of Greek yogurt. When I try my chocolate chip coconut muffins, I may have to add some of the yogurt, or just use this recipe as a base, but without the cocoa.

Emily January 6, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Mmm they look so good! I want one.
I’m the same way on the treadmill. I have to think about other things or I’m miserable!

Betty January 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Just for clarification is that 3 oz. by volume or by weight for the yogurt. This is too good not to try.

shelly (cookies and cups) January 6, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Do you know the calorie count on these?? They look sooo good!

Anna January 6, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Lisa, I just discovered Greek yogurt not too long ago and love it, It’s hard to find a non-meat item with so much protein.

Emily, thanks for the exercise empathy. Maybe we could write a cookbook where we make up all our recipes on the treadmill ;).

Shelly, you must have missed it but I put the calorie count in the text. Mastercook says 240 calories each.

Betty, yogurt weighs about the same as it’s volume, give or take a few grams. I weighed out 3 oz, but if you used a heaping 1/3 cup, you’d be fine.

Katrina January 6, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Mmmmore Mmmmmuffins! (I love muffins.) Looks like a good one! Maybe I’ll break out one of the large cans of pumpkin I bought when there was such a big scare about a shortage. I think I have 7-8 cans! Just wondering, but what brand of Greek yogurt do you like/use?
We are getting LOTS more snow. School tomorrow was already cancelled earlier this afternoon.
I will probably make the muffins in the regular size pan or minis. I’ll let you know how they are with pumpkin!

Katrina January 6, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Oh, and I read magazines on the treadmill at the gym, and I always feel a little silly because they are usually food magazines!

Sweets at Vicky's January 7, 2010 at 8:47 am

I totally agree that the threadmill makes one go ughh sometimes. But! As Katrina says, a great mag is always a perk! :) And then one can look forward to chocolate muffins. life is sooo balanced that way. :)

HeartofGlass January 7, 2010 at 8:49 am

I run (and bike) outside but will gladly reap the benefits of your boredom! These look PERFECT! And I agree 250 calories is also a perfect healthy dessert total!

Krystle January 7, 2010 at 9:22 am

These look amazing! Im with you the treadmill and I dont mix unless I have somethign to completely occupy my thoughts. Mainly trashy tv or food thoughts!

katherine January 7, 2010 at 9:31 am

I made a batch of these this morning from what I had on hand. I used two small bananas in place of the applesauce, light sour cream for the yogurt, white whole wheat for the w.w. pastry four (what is the difference?) and canola oil for the olive oil…. lots of switches… but they were great. My 3 yr old devoured one still warm. I got 8 muffins, as I don’t have a jumbo pan.
Thanks for a healthy and chocolate recipe… what a combo!

Anna January 7, 2010 at 11:28 am

Katherine, thanks for the review! I was thinking banana would be great, but my daughter doesn’t like banana so I went with the applesauce.

Katrina sent a photo of her pumpkin version and they look good too.

Farrah (My KitchenAid Mixer & Me) January 10, 2010 at 7:37 pm

I made twelve of these devilish delights this morning with my daughter. We had to make some adjustments since I didn’t have Greek yogurt or unsweetened applesauce. I used lite vanilla yogurt and sweetened applesauce and my son who doesn’t like to eat anything that he considers “healthy” ate two of them. I sent a couple home with my sister because she said they looked yummy. These were good right out of the oven, when they are warm, gooey and chocolatey!! YUM I posted a picture on my blog page. Thank you!

Mindy January 14, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Hey Anna,
Thanks for the great recipe! I made a double batch of these this morning, using applesauce, black bean puree, and fat free sour cream (instead of the Greek yogurt) with just a little less olive oil. It made 12 beautiful muffins & WOW! They are outstanding!! I am so excited to feed my chocolate-loving family these healthy gems!

Anna January 14, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Mindy, what a great idea to use the black bean puree. If you happen to see this, I’d be curious to know about how much you used. That’s a great way to add fiber and a little protein. Glad to know the beans tasted okay. If they work in brownies, I don’t see why they wouldn’t work in muffins.

Mindy January 21, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Anna, I am so glad that you read my comment. I check your blog every day and feel like you are the authority on baking and experimenting to find yummy recipes!…I have been playing around with bean purees a lot lately (because of the added nutrition, fiber, and ability to substitute out some of the fat, like you said) with lots of good results. I just used two tablespoons for these muffins (I doubled the batch). I usually only sub bean puree for half of the fat in recipes that I am trying for the first time. If I like it, I may use more the next time I make the recipe. I have several great recipes that I use the beans in for most of the fat. I love the stuff!

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