Have you ever bought one of those big chocolate muffins from Costco? They have chocolate chips and are huge and sweet. Well, this muffin isn't going to rival that type of muffin, but I think it comes pretty close. To get a muffin like that, you need lots of sugar and fat. If that's what you want, I'm afraid I can't deliver something precisely like it in a whole wheat, reduced fat, sugar-free format. Of course, I'm also not going to offer something which is nearly 700 calories as the Costco muffins will provide.
Since the flavor of chocolate is carried across more effectively by sugar and fat (hence the reason it is often delivered in the form of a candy bar), it's a tall order to make a chocolate muffin without those fattening aspects and it took a few tries to get this just right. The results of my baking are a muffin which has a somewhat greater chocolate intensity than a plain chocolate cake. It's moist and the texture is excellent. As is often the case with whole wheat baked goods, these are better the next morning as it allows the moisture to balance out and the "wheaty" flavor vanishes entirely.
You can make 6 quite large muffins or 8 medium-size ones. Nutrition information is given for both at the end of the recipe. Note that this delivers a nice amount of protein for a baked item due to the whole wheat flour and cocoa powder.
picture lightened to show detail - these are actually very dark in color
Chocolate Muffins (sugar-free, reduced fat, whole wheat):
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 medium egg
3/4 cup skim milk
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup Splenda granular
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Van Houten)
2 tbsp. Canola oil
2 tbsp. espresso or very, very strong coffee
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
- Scald the milk, add to the cocoa, stir until dissolved, and allow to cool.
- Whisk the applesauce, egg, milk, cocoa mixture, vanilla, salt, espresso, oil, cinnamon, vinegar, and Splenda together. Mix until everything is smoothly incorporated.
- Sprinkle the flour over the liquid mixture and gently stir just until the flour is moistened. Allow this to rest for 15-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (190 degrees C.). Spray the bottoms of 6 large muffin cups with cooking spray.
- Sprinkle the baking powder over the mixture and stir until just mixed evenly.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared cups. They will be about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
- Bake for 30 minutes. A skewer inserted into the center comes out with sticky crumbs, but not wet batter. Do not overbake (a skewer should not come out clean) as it will dry out the muffins.
- Allow to cool in the tins for at least 15 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges to loosen, pat gently if they stick to the bottom. Place on a rack for cooling.
For 6 muffins:
For 8 muffins: