Healthy Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

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This recipe for chocolate zucchini muffins called out to me but it took a while for me to heed the call.

First of all, it was based on a recipe by Marcus Samuelsson, whose memoir Yes, Chef was a recent and engaging, fascinating, inspiring, and delicious read.  I’ve never tried any of his recipes before, and I had actually pinned this one a few weeks ago. But then I saw this version of it, which seemed to preserve the general nature of it but healthed it up a bit, finding alternatives to the sugar (which I would simply have reduced) as well as the oil.

My only hesitation was that the WW Points still seemed really high. . .until I realized that the recipe was for eleven JUMBO muffins, which means about 22 regular-sized (Laurie-friendly) muffins.

And finally, the summer’s about to end and I need to squeeze out a few more zucchini treats before plunging into pumpkin, which is going to be a lot of fun.

So: Marcus Samuelsson + healthier version + zucchini + last day before school starts for the kids = delicious chocolate muffins for everyone! And you know what happened when I ate one of these? I wanted another. Immediately. I resisted, but barely.

First things first: I learned from my late-in-the-game orange zesting experience and prepped my ingredients ahead of time. I grated the zucchini using a fine grater, and squeezed all the excess moisture out with some paper towels.

grated zucchini

Second things second, I mashed the banana.

mashed banana

Once that was done, it was time to start assembling the gooier elements of these muffins.  I’m always happy to have a reason to use my stand mixer, although I don’t always need it when there’s no real creaming of butter & sugar involved. But if Marcus Samuelsson tells me to use it, I’m going to use it. (Or if his adapter tells me to use it, that works too.)

It started with coconut oil, molasses, honey, an egg, and two egg whites.

gooey ingredients

Then I added zucchini, yogurt, vanilla, and the mashed banana.

liquid ingredients gathered

It was a little scary-looking. I never really trust the zucchini to be my completely silent partner, no matter how many times it proves itself worthy. It’s not just zucchini; I just don’t fully trust green vegetables. But I put my skepticism aside and let experience push me onwards, given how many times I’ve been successful.

gross ingredients slurmed together

gross ingredients slurmed together

See why this doesn’t inspire more confidence? You can almost see the zucchini clinging to the mixer, determined to preserve itself.  Eventually I pried the drippy zucchini off the paddle, mixed a little more, and then gave it a rest while I got the dry ingredients together. Instead of two cups of whole wheat flour OR all purpose flour — sorry Mr. Samuelsson and blogger Yvonne — I used 1 1/3 cups whole wheat white and 2/3 of a cup of wheat germ. I added ground flax seed (replacing my slightly scary months-old supply with a fresh bag), cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and two full teaspoons of cinnamon. I like cinnamon.

dry ingredients

dry ingredients, whisked

I added the flour mixture to the zucchini one incrementally, mixing just until incorporated.

flour added to mixer

Last to go in, the chocolate chips. I folded those in by hand, gently.

adding chocolate chips

chocolate chips added

I scooped the batter into muffin cups, getting exactly 22. I stretched it bit; some turned out a little shrimpy. But I got 22.

batter in muffin cups

I baked for 19 minutes, checking in after the first 15. They came out in a variety of sizes, but all full of sweet chocolate goodness (and invisible zucchini).

muffins baked in tin

I let them cool for a few minutes, then moved them to rack. I find it very challenging to take good pictures of very dark muffins. They end up looking a little cartoonish.

muffins on rack

muffins on rack

Unsurprisingly,  adding polka dots doesn’t help with this particular issue.

muffins on polka dots

muffins on polka dots

Doesn’t matter, though. These muffins came out GREAT. Addictively so.

I renamed them, though — these are Healthy DARK Chocolate Muffins. They’re full of chocolate flavor without being overly sweet, just sweet enough. Texture is fluffy and dense, not in a heavy way but just enough to be hunger-satisfying as well as utterly delicious.  The zucchini never rears its ugly green head in the flavor, but the cinnamon is a perfect companion to the dark chocolate. They taste rich and decadent, and they’re neither, which is amazing.  They’re delicious right out of the oven but maybe even just a bit better the next day.



My version of Healthy Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

(makes 22 regular muffins or 11 jumbo)


2 cups grated zucchini
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened or melted
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1 banana , well mashed
3/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 1/3 cups whole wheat white flour
1/3 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips


To prepare, grate the zucchini, using paper towels to squeeze out any excess moisture, and mash the banana.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees, you will reduce the temperature later. Grease or line muffin trays, planning for 11 jumbo or 22 regular-sized muffins.

Using a stand mixer, beat together the zucchini, honey, molasses, coconut oil, egg, egg whites, banana, yogurt, and vanilla. until well mixed.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, wheat germ, flax seed, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk.

Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer incrementally, beating on low speed, stopping as soon as the flour is fully incorporated.

Remove the bowl from the stand and fold in the mini chocolate chips.

Scoop the batter into muffin cups, and pt them into the oven, reducing oven temperature to 375.

For regular muffins, bake for 15-20 minutes. For jumbo muffins, bake 20-25 minutes. Let sit in the pan for five more minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

Try to eat just one. Really. Try.


  1. Your muffins look so great! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this recipe!
    I’m SO gonna try these. But there’s one more question since I tried so many zucchini cake/muffin recipes. Most of them were not sweet enough.
    How sweet are these muffins if you were to rate them with 10 points (sweetest) or 0 points (not at all)?

    Rebecca 🙂

    • Hi Rebecca! These were great. I think it depends on how you like your muffins. I like sweet treats but I don’t make my muffins crazy sweet — if I see a recipe with a full cup of sugar, for example, I think it’s too much. So on your 1-10 scale, I’d give them about a 7, but our scales may be different if you are used to having them sweet. I have some other great zucchini recipes that are sweet as well, so browse by ingredient and let me know if you try these. If it helps, I really hate zucchini and I hate things that taste healthy or taste like vegetables, and these just tasted like treats me to me. My co-workers agreed and gobbled them up fast.

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