In today’s post: These healthy chocolate muffins are rich, moist, and absolutely delicious, but they’re made with healthy ingredients you can feel good about! No gluten, no oil, and no refined sugar.
You’d probably think I’m being dramatic if I told you these muffins are the only reason I get out of bed some days…but it’s not actually far from the truth. Sitting down to a couple of chocolate muffins for breakfast is just about the best way I can imagine starting my day, and I’ve been doing it every day for the past three years. Do I feel guilty about it? Not a bit.
Instead of the sugar, oil, and flour that most muffins are full of, these healthy chocolate banana muffins are packed with ingredients I feel good about: oats, bananas, peanut butter, unsweetened almond milk, and unsweetened baking cocoa. Sure, there’s a couple chocolate chips and in each one, but I am A-OK with a tiny taste of dark chocolate in my breakfast, especially when that breakfast manages to be healthy AND taste like cake all at the same time. They clock in at approximately 175 calories each, with 4 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein, making them a great snack.
But Do They Taste Like Cake?
Do these double chocolate muffins actually taste like cake? When people tell me something healthy tastes just like the normal version I don’t believe them on principal. Because it’s never true. And yes, these don’t taste exactly like my favorite chocolate cake, but I really can’t believe how close they are. They’re rich and chocolatey with a soft, fudgy texture and a hint of a peanut butter/banana bread flavor. I think they’re amazing and would probably eat them for all three meals and dessert if that didn’t seem like overkill. Some of my kids love them just as much as I do; some don’t. One finds them TOO FUDGY (too fudgy? how is she even related to me?). Bottom line: they aren’t exactly cake but they’re pretty darn close, which is amazing considering this is basically a bowl of pb banana oatmeal in muffin form.
Here’s what goes into these fantastic little muffins:
- Oat Flour: Oat flour is the star of the show here, and makes these muffins gluten-free. Compared to all purpose flour, oat flour has more protein, less carbs, and over four times the fiber. It also has more antioxidants, minerals, and B vitamins. You can find oat flour at nearly any grocery store or you can make your own by taking old fashioned oats for a spin in a high speed blender.
- Bananas: Don’t worry, the banana flavor is not super strong in these muffins, but bananas give most of the sweetness and help keep the muffin tender and moist. You definitely need to use ripe bananas with lots of dark spots in this recipe – they are soft, easy to mash, and naturally sweet.
- Peanut Butter: You’ll want a creamy, no stir peanut butter for this recipe, but feel free to use a low or no sugar natural version (as long as it’s no stir). Peanut butter gives richness in flavor, helps keeps the muffins moist, and adds protein.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (also called Baking Cocoa): This ingredient is kind of magic! It gives these muffins a rich chocolate flavor while only adding about 8 calories per muffin. Use a natural cocoa powder, not dutch processed cocoa, in this recipe.
- Unsweetened Almond Milk: This ingredient adds protein without adding much sugar or fat, but if you don’t have any on hand and you’re not worried about being dairy-free you can use skim milk instead.
- Honey: If you use ripe bananas you don’t need much added sweetener at all – I generally only add 1 tablespoons of honey for a batch of 12 muffins. I’ve even skipped the honey completely before and they still tasted great. You could also use maple syrup if you prefer.
- Eggs: Eggs help give lift and extra protein
- Vanilla Extract: I usually avoid imitation vanilla and go with the good stuff, but I make this recipe so often that I was going through lots of vanilla. So I tried it with imitation vanilla, and I couldn’t actually tell the difference. Either will work!
- Baking Soda: Helps with lift
- Salt: Just a tiny pinch to highlight the chocolate flavor
- Chocolate Chips: Depending on your preference you can use semi sweet or dark chocolate chips in this recipe. I use regular size chips but you can use mini chocolate chips if you want. You can even use sugar free or no sugar added chocolate chips if you’d like.
Where can I buy oat flour?
You should be able to find oat flour in any large grocery store. If you live by a WINCO or other grocery store that has a good bulk section, definitely check there. WINCO sells oat flour for under a dollar a pound, which is an amazing deal.
Alternately, if you have a high powered blender, you can make your own oat flour. Just blitz Old Fashioned Oats until you get a fine, powdery flour. Find step by step instructions here.
Make a Big Batch and Freeze
Note: this recipe is adapted from a blender muffin recipe from Making Thyme For Health. That recipe uses old fashioned oats instead of oat flour and mixes the whole thing up in a blender. However, I found that even my Blendtec sometimes got stuck trying to deal with all the ingredients. Plus it was hard to mix in the chocolate chips by hand and get them evenly distributed in the blender.
When I realized I loved these muffins so much that I’d want to eat them every day, I knew I had to figure out how to make a double batch of 24 muffins at once. So I adapted the recipe to use oat flour instead, which means you can mix it up in a large bowl with a hand mixer, and you’re not limited by the capacity of your blender.
I bake a double batch of 24 muffins and let them cool for a few minutes in the pan, then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once they are at room temperature, I place them in square plastic storage containers I found at Dollar Tree which fit 12 muffins each. I store the containers in the freezer then pull a couple muffins out each morning for breakfast. To quickly thaw them, place two muffins on a napkin in the microwave and give them 45 seconds on defrost, then 20 seconds on normal power. That gives me beautiful, fresh, moist chocolate muffins every morning!
Healthy Chocolate Banana Muffins
- 2 medium Ripe Bananas about 8 oz by weight or almost 1 cup mashed banana
- 1 Egg
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 9 tablespoons Unsweetened Almond Milk equal to 1/2 cup plus one tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- 1/2 cup Peanut Butter
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/8 teaspoon Salt optional, leave it out if you're watching sodium intake
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 and 1/4 cup Oat Flour 5 oz
- 1/3 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips or dark chocolate chips
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- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas. Then add the egg and egg yolk, almond milk, peanut butter, honey, vanilla, baking soda, salt, and unsweetened cocoa powder. Beat until ingredients are incorporated.
- Add the oat flour and chocolate chips and mix until incorporated.
- Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Lightly spray liners with nonstick spray. Spoon approximately 1/4 cup of batter into each cupcake liner. Top with a few extra chocolate chips if desired.
- Bake about 16-17 minutes until tops of muffins are cracked and spring back when touched. Don't overcook or they will be dry. Allow to cool before eating.
- Leftovers can be frozen in an airtight container. To rewarm two muffins, place in the microwave on defrost for 45 seconds. Then microwave on full power for about 20 seconds or until as warm as you prefer.
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