Chocolate Gingerbread Muffins
If classic seasonal flavors were a middle school gym class, poor gingerbread would be the kid who always gets picked last.
I noticed gingerbread’s plight while perusing the holiday aisle at Target. In addition to the shiny red and green ribbons, twinkly lights, and glittery snowflakes, Target has a dangerously wonderful array of special seasonal treats. While peppermint and chocolate and even some stray pumpkin were all well represented, the gingerbread options were much harder to locate.
Yes, peppermint and sugar cookies might be the holiday gym team captains, but this year, I motion that gingerbread be the flavor we pick first. With its unabashed intensity of spice, depth of molasses, and warming presence, gingerbread is exactly the company I want to keep on a chilly evening or, in the case of today’s recipe for Chocolate Gingerbread Muffins, a crisp morning beside my cup of coffee.
With their ultra moist interior, fluffy top prime for picking with your fingers, and pools of melty dark chocolate within, these tender gingerbread muffins are exactly what I need to pull me out of bed, when our house thermostat is set to 65 degrees. (I wait for Ben to leave for work before I crank it up to a roaring 68.)
While gingerbread is typically thought of first as a dessert, I love it at breakfast too. The warm winter spices are the perfect company for my coffee, the molasses heightens the flavor and makes the muffins even more moist.
To keep these gingerbread muffins wholesome enough for breakfast, I used whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, coconut oil, and my new favorite healthy baking ingredient, Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Sugar. A wholesome alternative sweetener made from the nectar of coconut palm tree blossoms, coconut sugar has a light caramel taste similar to brown sugar, and it can work as a direct replacement for white or brown sugar in many recipes.
Because coconut sugar is a dryer than brown sugar, I found that it works best to stir it in with the wet ingredients, let the mixture rest a few minutes, then proceed with the recipe as directed. I added just enough to these gingerbread muffins to make them lightly sweet, while keeping them breakfast respectable.
I also wanted to make the gingerbread muffins healthy to leave wiggle room for two final flourishes: a shower of Bob’s Red Mill Sparkling Sugar and hunks of dark chocolate. The sugar crisps lightly while the gingerbread muffins bake, providing a yummy and addictive texture counterpoint to the moist muffin interior.
The chunks of dark chocolate? Those are for antioxidants and happiness (not necessarily in that order).
This Thanksgiving week, if you are craving a little healthy decadence in between all of the, well, decadence, treat yourself and your family to a big batch of these healthy Chocolate Gingerbread Muffins. Everyone (including you!) will be thankful.
Tools I used to make this recipe:
- Muffin pans. I used two of these 6-muffin pans, and I love this standard 12-muffin pan too.
- Ice cream/cookie/batter scoop. For perfectly portioned, evenly-baked muffins with the fluffiest tops.
Chocolate Gingerbread Muffins
Soft and fluffy healthy gingerbread muffins made with coconut oil, whole wheat flour, and lots of dark chocolate. Wholesome AND delicious!
Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup nonfat milk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Sugar (or substitute light or dark brown sugar)
- 1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted if clumpy
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
- 4 ounces chopped dark chocolate or 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Bob’s Red Mill Sparkling Sugar, for topping
- Place a rack in the center of your oven, then preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper liners. In a small bowl, melt the coconut oil in the microwave, then set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, coconut sugar, molasses, and egg. Let rest 5 minutes for the coconut sugar to dissolve slightly. If the mixture is not yet at room temperature, wait for a few additional minutes, then add the coconut oil. (If the wet ingredients are much colder than the coconut oil, the oil will resolidify and not incorporate properly.)
- In a separate bowl, stir together the white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and nutmeg until evenly combined and no clumps remain. Add all at once to the wet ingredients, then stir gently, just until combined. Fold in the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups, then sprinkle the tops with sparkling sugar. Bake the muffins for 16-18 minutes, until the tops are dry to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store leftover muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or individually wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.
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