HEALTHIER DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS
Who else has fond memories of double chocolate muffins from their youth? We would get these on very special occasions or if we were out for breakfast as a family (which was also a treat). While double chocolate muffins are a very nostalgic breakfast treat for me, I like to find healthier ways to start my day as an adult. I also like to create recipes that use ingredients most people will have in their pantry or can find easily at a typical grocery store. This healthier double chocolate zucchini muffin recipe fits the bill AND tastes just as amazing as the muffins from my childhood (maybe even better than I had remembered!).
What makes these double chocolate zucchini muffins healthier? I’ve reduced the amount of sugar used to make this muffin recipe (as compared to many standard muffin recipes), and also incorporate whole wheat flour. I’ve added ground flaxseed into this recipe because it is packed with all kinds of nutrients, like protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and a myriad of other vitamins and minerals. And last but not least, adding grated zucchini into this double chocolate muffin recipe not only brings vegetables to the table (literally), it helps to create an amazingly moist double chocolate muffin that has you reaching for a second (or third) helping.
One of my favorite things about baking with zucchini is that it has such a mild flavor you cannot taste it at all in your final product. In the case of this double chocolate zucchini muffin recipe, you are left with a super moist version of your favorite breakfast muffin.
This double chocolate zucchini muffin recipe is also a great way to get your kiddos (or partner) to eat their vegetables while also giving them a special treat!
TELL ME ABOUT: HEALTHIER DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate. Grating zucchini may seem intimidating to some, but I promise it isn’t hard! The rest of this double chocolate zucchini muffin recipe is pretty typical measuring, mixing, and scooping your batter into muffin tins.
Flavor: Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate! These double chocolate zucchini muffins have a rich, chocolatey flavor...as you would expect.
Texture: These double chocolate zucchini muffins are soft and moist - everything you would hope for from a muffin!
Time: Including prep and cook time, plan for 35-40 minutes to make your double chocolate zucchini muffins. It can take a little while to grate your zucchini, especially if you’re doing it by hand (which is my preferred method). If you want to shave some time off this recipe, use the grating attachment on a food processor to make quick work of this step.
3 KEY INGREDIENTS TO MAKE AWESOME, HEALTHIER DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS
Zucchini: You need two cups of grated zucchini for this muffin recipe, which is about 2-3 medium sized zucchinis. There is no need to peel your zucchini, you’ll get more nutrients from the skin! Just wash them thoroughly prior to grating.
Ground Flaxseed (aka Ground Flax): You can use either brown or golden flax in this recipe. Golden flax has a milder flavor than brown flaxseed varieties. If you’ve never had flax before, the flavor profile for this ingredient is a mild, nutty flavor. Even using the brown flaxseed variety will not give this recipe an overpowering nutty taste; chocolate will still be the main flavor.
Whole Wheat Flour: Select a high-quality whole wheat flour from a brand you know and trust. Some of my favorites are Gold Metal, Hodgson Mill, and Bob’s Red Mill. You may even have a local mill that sells freshly ground flour near you that you could try. Whole wheat flour will be in your local grocery store’s baking aisle, near to the all-purpose flour.
OVERVIEW: HOW TO MAKE HEALTHIER DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS
Preheat oven & prep your muffin tins: Preheat to 350°F, then spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray and set aside
Make your dough: In a large bowl, mix together sugars, oil, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Add in grated zucchini and stir to combine. Gradually add in dry-ingredients until just combined, I recommend adding your flour in ½ cup increments. Gently stir in the chocolate chips.⠀⠀
Fill your muffin tins: Fill muffin tins ¾ full and sprinkle tops of double chocolate zucchini muffins with mini chocolate chips if desired
Bake: Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean
Cool: Cool in tin for about 5 minutes, then remove muffins and place on a wire rack to finish cooling
Store leftovers: store cooled double chocolate zucchini muffins in an air-tight container
TIPS & TRICKS FOR MAKING HEALTHIER DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS
Any tips for grating zucchini? A few tips for grating zucchini include: 1) after washing your zucchini, cut off the rounded end and use the stem-end as a handle while grating; 2) I like to use a simple 3D, or box grater, to grate my zucchinis for this double chocolate zucchini muffin recipe. I place my grater on a dinner plate, and while applying medium pressure, quickly move the zucchini up and down the grater, always keeping the zucchini touching the grater (it grates on the downward motion). The box grater keeps most of the zucchini pieces inside of it, and the plate is a simple surface to transfer your grated zucchini over to a measuring cup on and then to clean afterwards; and 3) don’t select a super small grating size for zucchinis, they will turn to mush. I use the larger, circular holes on my box grater. Similar to what you might use for a block of cheese.
Do you recommend adding the optional mini chocolate chips to the top of these muffins? Since you’re already doubling-down on the chocolate, why stop? The mini chocolate chips on the top really add to the overall double chocolate muffin experience in my opinion, so I would say you should go for it!
I’m new to ground flax...how do I store it, and what else can I do with it? Welcome to the wonderful world of flaxseed! Ground flax should be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge or freezer. This helps prevent your flaxseed from going rancid. Flax will stay fresh up to 6 months when stored in the fridge, and up to 1 year when stored in the freezer. You can simply place your closed package of ground flax in a gallon sized ziplock bag with the air squeezed out, or transfer it to a different container with a lid - whatever is easiest for you! You can use ground flax in so many ways to add nutrition. Like this double chocolate zucchini muffin recipe, I add ground flax into most of my breakfast bakes (like pancakes and waffles), and you can also add it to smoothies, or sprinkle on top of oatmeal or cereal. You can use ground flax to create a “flax egg” in baking recipes as an egg substitute (this has come in handy when I’ve been out of eggs!) - this is done by using 1 Tbsp of flax to 3 Tbsp of water. Other ideas include adding to homemade salad dressings, into breadings, or as a part of no-bake energy bites or homemade granola bars.
Is there a way to swap out the refined sugar in this recipe to something else? If you would prefer to substitute the refined sugar in this healthier double chocolate zucchini muffin recipe, you can try using a natural sweetener instead such as honey, maple syrup, or agave. Please note, I have not tried these substitutions in this recipe, so cannot tell you how using one of these natural sweeteners may change the texture or moisture level of your muffins. However, typical substitution ratios for these sweeteners in baking are:
Replace 1 cup of granulated sugar with ¾ cup honey
You may also want to decrease the amount of liquid in the recipe by 3-4 Tbsps
Replace 1 cup of granulated sugar with ¾ cup maple syrup
You may also want to decrease the amount of liquid in the recipe by 3 Tbsps
Replace 1 cup of granulated sugar with ⅔ cup agave
You may also want to decrease the amount of liquid in the recipe by 3-4 Tbsps