I recently made these muffins for a friend’s daughter. Poor thing fractured her leg, so I knew some dessert would make her feel better. I made these for her previously and she loved them.
I first posted the original recipe here. While it was decently healthy, after looking at my recipe, I knew I could make it even healthier. I am constantly learning, advancing and striving to become a better, more experienced baker and recipe creator. By the way, her family is not vegan, so this isn’t a “healthy” tasting recipe if you’re wondering. I work hard to make my recipes taste just as fabulous as the butter and sugar loaded ones that I used to make prior to becoming vegan.
Well, not only did I make it way healthier, with almost half the fat, but it tastes even better. My husband and I couldn’t believe it! I went from 1/4 cup oil to only 1 tablespoon and I found I preferred the less oily taste. I just don’t like heavy muffins. I, then, changed the sweetener to using natural maple syrup, instead of all dry sugar. I switched the dry sugar to less and to coconut sugar. I also used coconut milk, reducing it from 3/4 to a 1/4, making it nut-free as well! Her daughter is allergic to nuts, so that’s why I switched from almond milk to coconut milk.
The fat content went from 11 grams to 6.9 per muffin….not too shabby, huh!!
The result is a lighter, fluffier and perfectly moist muffin. Muffins should be moist and light, not heavy or gooey. Using the syrup and the cherries take care of the moisture in the recipe, so butter and oil aren’t really needed. The cherries also intensify the chocolate flavor, which is another purpose to them. I could probably get away with eliminating the only tablespoon of oil and using a nut butter for the fat, but this needed to be a nut-free recipe. I will try sunbutter maybe next time. I’m not a fan of completely eliminating all fat and using all applesauce or fruit puree in cakes/muffins (unless you are going for banana or pumpkin muffins) because that can make them too heavy, dense and mushy….not what I was going for here!!
Recipe: Makes a dozen Prep time: 20 mins Bake time: 15-20 mins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup organic coconut palm sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
One 16 oz bag of frozen dark cherries
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened low-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon grapeseed or neutral tasting oil
3/4 cup vegan dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with decorative paper liners. I like the StayBrite liners from Reynolds. They do not stick, they cook perfectly and the paper liners retain their beautiful pattern and color.
In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients through a fine mesh strainer. This ensures a soft, light cupcake with no lumps. Whisk until everything is evenly distributed. I like to use my hand as well to make sure the leavening agents are mixed well. Stir in the chocolate chips. I like to do this now to avoid over mixing the wet batter at the end.
In a small saucepan, add the frozen cherries and turn the heat to low. Once it is simmering, stir and mash with a fork making sure they are heated through and no longer frozen. This should only take a couple of minutes. Pour into a food processor and pulse a few times until it forms an applesauce consistency, do not fully puree! Let it cool a few minutes. Measure out a cup and save the rest for a smoothie or mixed into your oatmeal. 🙂
In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and the cooled cherry jelly. Whisk everything really well. Add the wet ingredients slowly to the dry ingredients and gently fold in everything with a spoon until just combined, do not over mix. Divide the batter evenly into a 12 cup muffin pan lined with paper liners, using an ice cream scooper. Add a few chocolate chips on the top of each one. Bake for 15-20 minutes. They are done when the toothpick comes out with just a few crumbles on it. Mine were done at 18 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to cool completely on a rack.