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Delicious Vegan Chocolate Muffins Recipe Plus Ingredient Facts

Linda Crampton is a former teacher with an honors degree in biology. She enjoys writing about nutrition and the culture and history of food.

Muffins made with one hundred percent whole wheat flour often have a "rustic" look.

Muffins made with one hundred percent whole wheat flour often have a "rustic" look.

The Joy of Chocolate

I love chocolate. It’s my favorite variety of ice cream, smoothie, cookie, cake, and muffin. Cocoa gives chocolate its flavor and has many health benefits, but unfortunately the cocoa in chocolate bars and foods is often accompanied by unhealthy ingredients. Chocolate muffins sold in stores are frequently high in fat and sugar and may contain artificial colors and flavors as well.

Luckily, muffins are quick and easy to make at home, where it’s easy to control their ingredients. The recipe for chocolate muffins shown below contains whole wheat flour and is very low in fat. Although no oil or solid fat is included in the list of ingredients, the muffins aren’t completely fat free, since the rice milk sold in stores contains a small amount of added oil. The pumpkin puree and apple sauce in this recipe provide the texture that fat usually supplies in baked goods.

The muffins contain no animal products, so they are suitable for vegans. Since they are dairy free, they are also suitable for people who are allergic to dairy products. In addition, the muffins contain no added sucrose from table sugar. They are nice to eat as a snack or as part of a meal. They make a delicious dessert when they’re eaten with vegan chocolate pudding or vegan ice cream.

Apple sauce is a good substitute for fat and oil in a recipe.

Apple sauce is a good substitute for fat and oil in a recipe.

Bread and Cake Muffins

Muffins come in two basic varieties. Most supermarkets sell large muffins with a cake-like texture. These are soft muffins that are generally rich in fat and very sweet to taste. Muffins with a bread-like texture are generally firmer and denser and have a coarser crumb. They are often less sweet as well. Bread-style muffins frequently resemble mini quick breads. They are often—but not always—healthier than cake-style muffins. Cake muffins may be nice for a treat, but the only muffins that I make at home are bread muffins. I find that the more often I make them, the less I enjoy store versions.

Three bread-type chocolate muffins

Three bread-type chocolate muffins

Potential Health Benefits of Cocoa

I enjoy chocolate and chocolate-flavored foods for their taste. Cocoa is a healthy substance as well as being tasty, however. It contains chemicals called flavonoids, which may benefit us in several ways.

The best studied flavonoid in cocoa is epicatechin, which seems to be especially helpful in maintaining cardiovascular health. Cocoa flavonoids are thought to inhibit the clumping of platelets together to form blood clots. Blood clots inside blood vessels can cause heart attacks and strokes.

Cocoa flavonoids also act as antioxidants. Researchers have shown that they can reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). Oxidized cholesterol stimulates the buildup of deposits called plaque in arteries, which can lead to cardiovascular disease. Cocoa also seems to reduce inflammation and hypertension (high blood pressure).

The health benefits of cocoa may be negated if the substance is eaten with lots of fat and sugar, since these increase the risk of health problems. In addition, the research that has been done has examined the effects of cocoa ingested as a drink or in chocolate rather than inside baked products like chocolate muffins. Another important point to note is that cocoa comes in different varieties. The type that has been studied by scientists is especially rich in flavonoids. The muffin recipe below is healthy even without considering the flavonoid level, though. Any extra benefit from the cocoa will be an added bonus.

Cocoa powder containing flavonoids has health benefits.

Cocoa powder containing flavonoids has health benefits.

Health Benefits of Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour contains bran, which is the outer layer of the grain. This gives the flour a flecked appearance, a rich taste, and a much higher level of insoluble fiber than white flour. It does produce a denser texture in the muffin, though. For people who would like a lighter textured muffin but would also like to obtain insoluble fiber, mixing whole wheat and white flour in equal amounts might be a good plan.

Insoluble fiber is healthy for the intestine. It provides bulk to the contents of the gut by absorbing water and speeds up the movement of the material. This helps to remove wastes from the intestine and prevent constipation. In addition, whole grains (including whole wheat) may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Pumpkin and other bright orange foods such as carrots and yams (sweet potatoes) are a great source of beta-carotene.

Pumpkin and other bright orange foods such as carrots and yams (sweet potatoes) are a great source of beta-carotene.

Pumpkin Health Benefits

Like apple sauce, pumpkin puree makes a good substitute for fat in muffin recipes. It's rich in beta-carotene, which is the plant form of vitamin A. The chemical gives pumpkin its orange color. Our bodies can convert beta-carotene into the form of vitamin A that we need.

Beta-carotene is an antioxidant, which is a substance that inhibits the oxidation of chemicals. Oxidation leads to the production of free radicals. Free radicals can potentially damage cells, so antioxidants can be very useful substances in our bodies.

Vitamin A that is eaten in foods from animal sources or is made from beta-carotene is important for vision. Beta-carotene may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.

Agave Syrup and Nectar

Agave syrup is also known as agave nectar. It's obtained from the agave cactus. It's often used as a vegan alternative to honey. The makers of the brand that I use claim that their syrup has a glycemic index of 39 or less, which means that it has a low effect on blood sugar level.

Agave syrup and nectar are high in fructose. Like any concentrated sweetener, they shouldn’t be used in large quantities. Regularly eating large amounts of products that are rich in concentrated fructose may increase the level of triglycerides (fats) in the blood. A high triglyceride level increases the risk of insulin resistance and heart disease.

It's important to look at ingredients carefully when a recipe claims to be sugar-free. The problem is the definition of the word "sugar". Sometimes the word means table sugar, or sucrose, in which case a sugar-free claim may be accurate. Using this definition, my recipe is probably sugar-free. I say "probably" because sucrose is found in small quantities in a variety of plants besides sugar cane and beets. In chemistry, the word sugar refers to a group of related molecules with a sweet taste and the ability to provide calories. Using this definition, fructose is a type of sugar.

Vegan chocolate muffins

Vegan chocolate muffins

Ingredients for Twelve Muffins

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup vanilla rice milk (unsweetened)
1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree (unsweetened)
1/3 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
1/2 cup of agave syrup

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda together.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, apple sauce, agave syrup, and rice milk together.
  • Combine the dry and wet ingredients. Be careful not to over-stir the mixture. Over-stirring causes tunnels to appear in the baked muffins. I've found that no more than fifteen stirs should be used. The video above gives some tips for mixing muffin batter.
  • Spoon the mixture into twelve oiled, lined, or nonstick muffin cups, filling each cup about three quarters full.
  • Bake the muffins for twenty minutes. I check to see if they are done after fifteen minutes.

The muffins are ready to take out of the oven when a skewer or toothpick that is inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Once they’re out of the oven, leave the muffins in their pan for five to ten minutes, then remove them from the pan and cool them on a wire rack before eating.

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Muffins

Another recipe for low-fat vegan chocolate muffins is shown in the video above. The muffins are gluten-free, which is essential for some people, but they aren't made from a whole grain flour. They contain unrefined brown sugar as a sweetener. They also contain cherries, which could be a nice addition to any muffin recipe.

A gluten-free diet is vital for someone with celiac disease. In people with this disorder, the ingestion of gluten leads to the destruction of villi on the lining of the small intestine. The villi are tiny folds that absorb nutrients from digested food.

The variety and availability of gluten-free foods is increasing, at least where I live. Chocolate muffins without gluten are sold in specialty stores. Unfortunately, they are often expensive and may contain unhealthy ingredients.

Modifying Recipes for Personal Choice

Muffins can make healthy and delicious snacks and meal additions. One advantage of making them at home is that the baker can modify a recipe to improve nutrition or taste. When a recipe is quick and easy to make, such as my muffin one above, it's easy to tweak it to suit one's personal choice the next time it's followed. I love the muffins the way they are, but the recipe could be altered to match someone's personal choice. Experimentation with recipes is often fun.

References

  • "Science celebrates cocoa and chocolate's potential health benefits" from the American Chemical Society
  • "Heart Healthy Benefits of Chocolate" from the Cleveland Clinic
  • "LDL Cholesterol and Heart Disease" from the University of California, Berkeley
  • Whole grains decrease colorectal cancer risk while processed meats increase the risk from the Medical Xpress news service
  • Surprising health benefits of pumpkin from WebMD

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Linda Crampton

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 08, 2021:

Hi, Ravi. I appreciate your visit and comment. I love muffins, too!

Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on September 08, 2021:

Wonderful article Linda.I have always loved muffins and your article gives me a lot of reasons to love them even more guilt-free.Thanks for sharing this wonderful information.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 08, 2021:

Hi, Brenda. Thanks for commenting. I enjoy making muffins. They're quick and easy to produce, and it's easy to change the recipe to get a different flavour.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on September 08, 2021:

Sounds delicious.

I don't like worrying about rather it is good for me.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 08, 2021:

Thank you, Manatita. I love almost anything with cocoa in it! It's very nice as a drink.

manatita44 from london on September 08, 2021:

You seem to be living a very healthy life-style Linda C. from Agave syrup, to vegan-healthy chocolates and their essential benefits, muffins and ice-cream etc. Your photos are pretty impressive! Cocoa was one of my favourite drinks in the Caribbean.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 08, 2021:

Thank you very much for the kind comment, Misbah. Blessings to you as well!

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on September 08, 2021:

Linda, I am a chocolate lover. This is exactly what I was looking for!! I have to give it a try!! I love to bake cake at home at least once a month but I never tried to make muffins. I always buy them from bakeries. Your recipe sounds delicious, and the facts are also very interesting. Thank you for sharing these delicious muffins.

Many blessings and love to you!!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 08, 2021:

Thank you, Liza! I appreciate your visit and your comment very much.

Liza from USA on September 08, 2021:

Finally, I can post a comment on your article, Linda. I was wondering why I didn't get any more notifications from your article. It is frustrating as I love reading your article. By the way, the vegan chocolate muffin looks yummy. I made a lot of chocolate muffins before but, I am on board with making healthy muffins. Thanks for the recipe. I hope I can find a way to fix the issue.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 28, 2018:

Hi, Pamela. I actually have the opposite problem. I don't like muffins that are too dry, although when they are chocolate muffins it's hard for me to resist any kind! I like adding pumpkin sauce to recipes. It's a useful ingredient.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 28, 2018:

These muffins sound delicous. I don't like grocery store muffins as they are often too moist. I have made chocolate muffins using a chocolate cake mix, a can of pumpkin with a few tiny chocolate chips, but I am sure your recipe is healthier. I will try it, and thanks for sharing.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 23, 2017:

Thank you, Pragati004. I appreciate your visit.

Pragati from India on February 23, 2017:

Thanksfor this wonderful recipe...mam..!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 14, 2016:

Thank you very much for the comment, techygran. I hope you enjoy the muffins.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on January 14, 2016:

Dear Alicia, Thank you for this yummy sugar-free low-fat recipe-- I'm going to give it a go!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 23, 2013:

Hi, Nikko. I don't actually live in Vancouver, but I live right next to the city. It is very nice to have so many health food markets and restaurants near by!

Eight on February 23, 2013:

Definitely! I see you're in Vancouver (I'm in Vancouver, too)... We're lucky that we have such an incredible supply of healthy food stores and restaurants that cater to this kind of life style.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 23, 2013:

Thanks for the comment, Nikko. I have to be careful about what I eat too. Eggs and lactose don't bother me, but some other foods and ingredients do. It's good that there's such a wide variety of foods available in many stores now!

Eight on February 23, 2013:

Thanks for this recipe - it's next on my list! I'm allergic to eggs and lactose intolerant... so essentially I need to eat vegan (except for meat.... nothing like a good steak and glass of red wine!). Been looking for an easy vegan muffin recipe for a while now! x

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 12, 2012:

Thank you for the visit and the votes, Peggy!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 12, 2012:

Many good reasons to enjoy these chocolate muffins! Thanks for the recipe and info on the health benefits of chocolate. Up and useful votes.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 06, 2012:

Hi, oliversmum. I love to drink hot cocoa too! Thank you very much for the comment.

oliversmum from australia on January 06, 2012:

AliciaC Hi. Thank you for this wonderful Recipe and all the great information on the different ingredients.

I also love a hot drink made with cocoa, especially for supper, delicious.

Seeing the step by step photo,s throughout the making of a recipe are very helpful, it's great. Thanks again.:):)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 08, 2011:

Thank you very much for the comments, gryphin423. It's nice to meet you!

gryphin423 from Florida on October 08, 2011:

Oops, wasn't signed in yet ;-) It looks like you have some other good hubs, off to read those as well...

gryphin423 on October 08, 2011:

Thank you so much for the recipe, the ingredients are going on my shopping list! :-)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 05, 2011:

Thank you for the visit and the comment, Lucky Cats!

Kathy from The beautiful Napa Valley, California on October 05, 2011:

Alicia, this is perfect in all ways...thank you so much.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 22, 2011:

Hi, Hjjjjj. Thanks for the comment. Making the muffins with another gluten-containing flour should work, although I haven't tried this. The texture would probably be a bit different. An equivalent muffin could certainly be made without gluten, but this recipe would need some changes, which I haven’t tried. Eggs (or xanthan gum or guar gum) would have to be added to the recipe to replace the binding action of the gluten. The liquid content in this muffin recipe might have to be reduced to account for the liquid in the egg. It’s also important to use finely ground gluten-free flours, or they can taste gritty, and to bake the muffins at a lower temperature. I bake my gluten-free muffins at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, which works well in my oven.

Hjjjjj on September 22, 2011:

Hello,

These look great. Do you think you can make them with a wheat or gluten-free flour?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 21, 2011:

Thanks a lot, Simone. I appreciate your visit!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on September 21, 2011:

This sounds like my cup of tea!! I've GOT to try this!! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe, AliciaC!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 20, 2011:

I love a rich chocolate taste, too, b. Malin! It is wonderful that cocoa is so good for us and can provide such a great taste when it's combined with the right ingredients. Thanks for the funny comment.

b. Malin on September 20, 2011:

Isn't it Nice, for a change, that something we like is Actually GOOD for Us. I do have a Sweet Tooth and must have a little Chocolate treat after my Meal...Once again Alicia, I have enjoyed the "RICH" (ha, play on worlds) and informative Hub..And I just may try this recipe.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 20, 2011:

Thanks for the visit and the vote, Seeker7. I always try to satisfy my cravings for cakes and desserts with healthier alternatives too!

Helen Murphy Howell from Fife, Scotland on September 20, 2011:

These look delicious! I have to admit that I'm a chocolate fiend as well but I do like to try healthier alternatives and so will definitely give these muffins a try. Many thanks for sharing. Voted up + bookmarked.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 20, 2011:

Thank you very much for the comment and the vote, Eiddwen!

Eiddwen from Wales on September 20, 2011:

Thank you so much for sharing this great recipe.

I bookmark and vote up.

Take care

Eiddwen.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 19, 2011:

Thank you for the visit, breakfastpop. I enjoy collecting or creating low fat recipes too, and I also like to find low sugar ones as well.

breakfastpop on September 19, 2011:

Thanks for the recipes. I am always looking for low fat recipes that taste good and these look wonderful.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 18, 2011:

Thanks, Tom! I appreciate your kind comment and vote very much, as always.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on September 18, 2011:

Hi my friend, those muffins sound and look very yummy, thanks for all this great information about chocolate .

Vote up !!!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 17, 2011:

Hi, Moon Daisy. Thanks for the comment. I'm interested in cocoa's health benefits too. I like to make a hot drink from cocoa as well as eat it in muffins.

Moon Daisy from London on September 17, 2011:

These look lovely. And I like to hear any benefits that cocoa may have!

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