Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins

Yesterday I mentioned a crazy chocolate muffin kick. Well, I’m coming off it. I got the results I wanted (for now) and like this recipe enough to share it.

Let me preface this by saying it’s easy to make really rich, delicious, buttery chocolate muffins. Obviously, making them tasty and lower in calories and fat is harder. A company that’s mastered it is Vitamuffin, but since going to the store and buying Vitamuffins is just too easy (and more expensive), I wanted to make something similarly low in calories and with some nutritional value. I was also on the fence as to whether to go the “better living through chemistry” route and use artificial sweeteners or stick with sugar. With this muffin, you can take either route.

Chocolate Muffin

First, I started with a Vitamuffin clone from Food.com (formerly Recipezaar) which had pretty decent reviews. I also liked some of the modifications made by Katie at Dashing Recipes, particularly changing the flour to oats. I won’t bore you with how many times or alterations I made because the truth is I lost track, but in the end the one I liked best was this one. The muffins don’t rise much and they come out of the oven fairly soft. As they cool, they solidify somewhat and taste really good, even though the texture is slightly grainy from the oatmeal (but not bad — just different).

As mentioned, I mostly played around with sweeteners and made versions with Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, Fibrelle and regular granulated sugar. The Splenda version had a long, unpleasant aftertaste, the Fibrelle version was great (but Fibrelle isn’t in grocery stores yet) and the sugar version was just fine, though slightly higher in calories than the two with the sugar substitute. I’m convinced coconut palm sugar or evaporated cane juice crystals would be awesome here, but I didn’t have of those things and can’t tell you for sure.

I also swapped the drained applesauce out with some prune babyfood. That was very good, but I kept running out of prune baby food and settled on the applesauce version because applesauce is usually what people have lying around.

Made with sugar, the muffins were around 140 calories and close to 2 oz each. Made with Fibrelle, they were closer to 100 and with the same weight.  You can use whichever sweetener you like. If you try something other than sugar, I’d be interested in hearing the results. I’m also just curious to see if people like this recipe, so if you have time to make it and comment that would be great.

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Wheat free chocolate muffins. Reduced calorie and reduced fat.
Recipe type: Muffin
Serves: 12
  • 1 1/3 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Hershey’s dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee or how water
  • 1/3 cup of *drained* applesauce or pureed baby food prunes
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/3 cup vanilla or plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup sugar or Fibrelle or your choice of non-liquid sweetener = to 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon chocolate extract (optional)
  • 1/3 cup extra dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with foil or paper liners or just spray with baking spray.
  2. Grind the oatmeal in a food processor. Add the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and pulse to mix. Open the processor and add hot water (or coffee), applesauce, egg whites, yogurt, sugar (or Fibrelle), vanilla and chocolate extract (if using). Process until well mixed, stopping to scrape sides of processor. Remove top of processor and stir in the chocolate chips (or pour mixture into a bowl if that's easier for you)
  3. Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cups -- it should come almost to the top. Put in the oven, set the timer for 18 minutes.
  4. Immediately reduce heat to 350 F. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes or until muffins appear set. Let cool and set in the cups.
To drain applesauce, start with about 2/3 cup. Spread a circle of applesauce on a stack of paper towels and let it sit for about 10 minutes so that towels soak up the extra water. You'll be surprised at how much water you lose by draining it. This recipe halves easily. If you don't have a food processor but you do have a coffee grinder, grinder the oats in the coffee grinder and make the recipe in a bowl. Use whatever type sweetener you like, but check to make sure that whatever type you use equals 3/4 cup regular sugar. Some measure spoon of spoon, but others don't. If you make the muffins with Fibrelle, you might want to let people know that the sweetener has maltitol in it. Some people are fine with them, but others are sensitive. With the Fibrelle, prunes and oats, this is definitely a high fiber muffin! If you're serving these to a group of people you don't know. it's probably best to stick with the sugar.

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  1. says

    Interesting experiment, and I’m glad they are tasty. When I’ve tried baking without fat, the end result tends to have a rubbery quality. Sometimes the flavor is fine, but I haven’t gotten past the texture. Maybe these are different?

  2. Pam S says

    I’ve been looking for a good chocolate muffin recipe that is low in fat and calories. I’ll definitely try this!

  3. says

    Pam, let me know what you think!

    Lisa, I know what you mean about rubbery fat free baked goods. I didn’t find these rubbery at all.

  4. says

    I’ll make them, since I have the Fibrelle–so you used 3/4 cup of that, too. I’m a little leary of it now. But without the butter, it must work fine.

  5. says

    They don’t look low fat at all, it looks like a much moister cake than vita-muffins and such. I just got my fibrelle in (thanks again 🙂 ) I’ll have to give something similar a try.

  6. says

    I love Vitamuffins but they are crazy expensive. I’ll have to try these!

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