I have tasted the magnificence that is a “skinny” double chocolate chip muffin, and I’ve personally witnessed all the ingredients that went into them. I alone can vouch for the seemingly impossible truth: these healthy muffins taste like decadent brownies. For real. And I’ve already made them twice, so I know it wasn’t just a fluke.
(And that’s why we need a Lego guy guarding them. They have a tendency to disappear.)
I admit I was skeptical initially, not just of the original recipe, but of the changes I made to it. The applesauce I thought I had was actually PEACH applesauce. I don’t even like applesauce, so I’m not sure why I got all adventurous and bought it, but the deed was done and I was forced to adapt. Nervous about potential peach flavor messing with the chocolate, I reduced the amount required and figured I’d make it up with yogurt.
So I put half a cup of peach applesauce into a bowl, with a full cup of low fat vanilla yogurt (instead of 3/4 cup), honey, egg whites, cane sugar, and then substituted one generous teaspoon of vanilla bean paste for the two teaspoons of vanilla extract.
I whisked them together, nervous about yogurt lumps because they were verboten. ” Whisk them all together until smooth, with no yogurt lumps remaining,” was the instruction, and when presented with such specificity in a recipe, I always obey.
Fortunately, I had some help in the whisking department.
Behold the results, No lumps.
On to the dry ingredients. Instead of half wheat and half all purpose flour, I used 2/3 cup of whole wheat white and 1/3 cup of wheat germ. and after adding the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, Nathaniel threw in some cinnamon he’d just wrestled with grating. It was less than 1/8 of a teaspoon, but I like to think it helped.
Once that was thoroughly whisked (my substitution for sifting, which I find tedious), I poured that into the bowl with the liquid ingredients and stirred, being very mindful not to overmix.
And then I added the mini chocolate chips, just slightly less than a half cup.
I spooned the batter into a muffin tin. The directions said not to use paper liners, so I didn’t, despite my collection of really fun colorful ones. I filled up each up as much as I could.
I tasted the batter, and then to avoid slurping down whatever traces I could still find in the bowl, I threw it into the sink and filled it up with soapy water. It was a matter of survival.
The baking directions were as specific as the whisking-no-lumps-allowed instruction, so I abandoned my usual muffin method and obeyed.
I baked at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then reduced the temperature to 375 and baked for 13 more. A toothpick didn’t come out perfectly clean, so I baked for 2 more minutes and no longer. Then I let them sit in the tin for another 5. (It said 3. so I mostly obeyed.) They smelled like brownies.
They didn’t really puff up, but they looked and smelled extremely decadent, far beyond what seemed possible given what went into them.
I used a toothpick to pry them out of the tin and get them onto the rack to finish cooling.
Imagine the smell of brownies wafting up from these things that I KNEW had no butter, no oil, and no slabs of melted chocolate. I even knew they had wheat germ!
Once they’d cooled, I tasted one. My skepticism instantly transformed into pure joy as the chocolate flavor rolled over my taste buds and the texture brought me back to the chocolate cakes and brownies of my overly indulgent past.
I’ve made them again since, and the second time I used Greek yogurt instead of regular, a large egg instead of the two egg whites, and mini cinnamon chips instead of chocolate. I think I’ll stick with the chocolate though, as they really upped the ante flavor-wise instead of creating a contrast. If you like chocolate — and you should — then make these muffins. You’re even allowed to eat one for breakfast (or have two, like Nathaniel), even though you also have the option to call them cupcakes and serve them for dessert. (And for the Weight Watchers folks, they are only 4 P+. I know!!)
SKINNY DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS RECIPE (original)
My version of Double Chocolate Chip Muffins (adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)
1/2 cup unsweetened peach applesauce (regular is fine)
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 large egg whites
1 cup low fat Greek yogurt
1 generous teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2/3 cup whole wheat white flour
1/3 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 (scant) teaspoon grated cinnamon
1/2 cup (or just a little less) mini chocolate chips
Spray a 12-cup muffin in and heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Whisk together the applesauce, sugar, honey, egg whites, yogurt, and vanilla. Be thorough and make sure there are no yogurt lumps.
Separately, sift or whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, wheat germ, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon if desired.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry just until incorporated. Don’t overmix.
Fold in the mini chocolate chips, then spoon into muffin cups, filling them up as high as you can.
Bake at 425 for five minutes, then (without taking them out of the oven), reduce temperature to 375 and bake for 13 more minutes. If they’re not done then (if the toothpick doesn’t come out clean), then bake for another 2 minutes.
Let cool in the pan for 3-5 minutes, then move to a wire rack.
Assign a Lego guard if you would like any of them to be left once you’ve made others aware of their existence.