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.
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.
- 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
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with foil or paper liners or just spray with baking spray.
- 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)
- 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.
- Immediately reduce heat to 350 F. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes or until muffins appear set. Let cool and set in the cups.