Sugar-free Choc & Nut Banana Muffins

Choc chip muff 2

Hands up who loves chocolate chip muffins? But how can these be healthy? By using a few crafty substitutes to conventional recipes, you can rustle up these sugar-free & almost fat-free muffins within an hour (If you want these completely fat-free, just add an extra banana for more moisture). A case of having your cake & eating it!

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These muffins have widespread appeal as they are so tasty, you wouldn’t even know that they are healthy; a great way of encouraging children & the less health-conscious to eat more healthily! The recipe as it stands is suited for vegetarians & coeliacs, but can easily be adapted for vegans too (details below).

They are highly portable, making them great for breakfast-on-the-go, lunchbox snacks, picnics & as pre-work out energy boosts. They also make super healthy (& cute) alternatives at afternoon tea.

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So what are the substitutes?  The sweetness is provided by ripe bananas & dried dates & apple-sauce replaces fat ( which also adds moisture). By using a Pulsin’s sugar-free chocolate drops, the sugar-free status is maintained. These chocolate drops are 72% cocoa, vegan, gluten-free & dairy-free too! They taste like dark chocolate but are not as bitter as cacao nibs, making it more palatable for children.

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An optional topping for these muffins, (which I love), are Pulsin’s vegetarian whey protein crispies..they look a little like snow in snowglobes! They are reminiscent of crunchy sugar granules sometimes found on the top of cakes, but these are healthy & not sweet. They are gluten-free, sugar-free, low fat & make a terrific protein-boosting crunchy topping, adding a lovely textural dimension to these muffins. Vegans can opt for puffed rice, toasted almonds or sunflower seeds instead.

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These mini muffins are now a firm family favourite; they are moist, with a satisfying bite from the sunflower seeds, walnuts & whey protein crispies & packed with banana, fibre, ground flaxseed, with creamy-richness coming from the cocoa in the chocolate drops. These are much tastier & sustaining than conventional sugar-laden muffins.

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The muffins can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free flour & whilst I have used eggs, flax or chia eggs also work (use a tablespoon of ground chia seeds or ground flaxseed soaked in 1/4 cup of water for 10 mins per egg).

Tip: The riper the bananas the better! This is a great way of using up those bananas in the fruit bowl that have turned scarily spotty & or even uniform brown.

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Preparation time: 20-25 mins

Baking time: 25 mins

Makes 24-26 mini muffins

Ingredients

4-5 large ripe bananas (the riper the better)

20g (1/8 cup) coconut oil, or Pulsin’s cacao butter buttons, melted

65g (1/4 cup) of sugar-free apple sauce

2 eggs (or chia or flax egg substitute)

180g (1.5 cups) wholemeal self-raising flour or gluten-free flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2tsp baking soda

2 tbsp protein powder (I use Pulsin’ soya  or pea derived. If you have run out, you can omit and use 2 tbsp more of flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup  or 80g ground flaxseed

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

140g (1 cup) of chopped dates (prunes and figs work well too!)

60g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts (pecans work well too)

35g (1/4 cup) sunflower seeds

60g  (3/8 cup) Pulsin’ sugarfree chocolate drops

Topping: sprinkle liberally with Pulsin’ whey protein crispies (or vegan substitute) & extra sugarfree chocolate drops

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Method

Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Lightly grease 2 X 12 hole mini-muffin tins with spray coconut oil. (I have silicone non-stick ones).

In one bowl, mash up bananas using a fork. Mix with melted  coconut oil or melted cacao butter buttons, sugar-free apple sauce, & eggs (or chia/ flax substitute).

Choc chip 1 prep

In a separate bowl, mix together wholemeal flour, baking powder, baking soda, protein powder (if using), salt, ground flaxseed & vanilla extract.

Gradually mix the flour mix in with the banana mix.

Fold in chopped dates, chopped nuts, sunflower seeds & sugarfree chocolate drops.

Choc chip 3 prep

Spoon teaspoon portions into the greased mini muffin tins. Sprinkle liberally with whey protein crispies & stud with extra chocolate drops.

Choc chip 4 prep

(See how cute they look already!)

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Bake in the preheated oven for 25 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool in the silicone tray for about 10 mins before removing & allow to cool on a wire rack.

Choc chip 6 prep
Allow to cool for 10 mins in the tray before removing onto the wire rack (can you wait that long?!)
Choc chip 8 prep
Standing to attention!
Choc chip 7 prep
..and in line!

Enjoy!

Don’t forget you can find my favourite recipes in my FREE eBook here.

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Nom nom!

*Variations:

You can add cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon) or coffee (by adding 1 tbsp of ground espresso powder), or cacao & maca powder (use 2-3 tbsp cacao powder) or orange zest for interesting variations.

Pecans, almonds, macadamia nuts, brazils, sunflower & pumpkin seeds also work well instead of the walnuts

Find my favourite recipes in my FREE eBook here.

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