Whole wheat chocolate chip muffin

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Of late, I am trying to have on-hand at least one “to-go” type of food item for those days when everyone at home is running around like a hamster trying to get ready to start the day.  One of my ultimate favorite is Swiss-style muesli (aka overnight oats, chia pudding). Store bought granola bars (and their friends and family) are convenient but they are usually packed with lots of refined sugars and other unnecessary ingredients that are used to extend their shelf-life. So, I have been thinking of alternatives to help us eat a litter healthier.

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This is where this recipe fits in. I am not saying these whole wheat muffins are totally healthy at all. They are definitely carb-heavy. Each muffin has about a tablespoon of added sugar (which equates to about 12 grams/48 calories of added sugar in each muffin plus whatever is in the chocolate chips). American Heart Association recommends less than 100 calories from sugar for women and 150 for men. On the other hand, 12 muffins use up only 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of butter, so I guess that may qualify them to be low-fat? 🙂

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Having said that, I think these are probably better for you than most of the regular muffins that one might get at a grocery store, school/office cafeteria or at a coffee-shop. If you are used to super moist and light muffins, be forewarned that these muffins are on the denser side due to the small amount of added fat and the denseness of whole wheat as compared to all-purpose flour. However, these are quite soft and full of flavor (especially with the hint of orange flavor in them) and I hope you will enjoy them as much as we did.

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Whole wheat chocolate muffin

  • Servings: 12
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Ingredients
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup prune puree (homemade or store bought)
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax
1/4 cup cocoa (I used Dutch processed)
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a large bowl, blend butter, prune puree and sugar until well mixed and light.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition.
4. Add vanilla and orange zest.
5. Mix all the dry ingredients, except chocolate chips in a medium bowl.
6. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients alternating with 1% milk.
7. Slowly stir in chocolate chips.
8. Pour batter into a 12-muffin pan lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or lined with paper liners.
9. Bake in the preheated oven for 16-19 minutes and test for doneness.
10. Let cool and transfer to airtight storage container.

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Minty Avocado Brownie

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It’s March! And that usually is characterized by GREEN!

From Facebook posts, it is quite clear people are already enjoying their minty Shamrock shakes! So, when the thought for brownies came about, I wanted to combine chocolate and mint, but in a healthier unison! Avocados anyone?

 

20140303_143058[1] In many ways, I guess a good ripe avocado is nature’s butter! Or creamy milk substitute (gosh, can’t wait to try an avocado ice cream or froyo!). Since I had a perfectly ripe fruit tempting me to transform it into something even more divine than its natural indulgent self, I figured I would try out an avocado brownie recipe that I saw at http://www.kirantarun.com. So, that’s what I did! Avocados have a lot of the good fat – but they do pack some serious calories if you eat too much. This recipe that serves 8 uses one large avocado, so not bad. The only cholesterol that is in this recipe comes from a single egg used.

Also, I replaced wheat flour with all purpose flour and ground flax. The end result was a very moist, soft, “choco-minty” brownie that prompted calls for seconds! Next time, I would like to add some chopped nuts (pistachios sound good) to add a bit of textural element. All in all, I think you will not be disappointed in this recipe. In fact you will probably have this as your go-to recipe when you run out of mint-chocolate chip ice cream! This is one of those recipes that definitely needs to find a place in the “guilt free indulgence” category!

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Minty Avocado Brownie

  • Servings: 8
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Ingredients
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup minus 2 heaping tablespoons all purpose flour
2 heaping tablespoons ground flax
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 heaping tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
1 egg, very lightly beaten
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
2 tablespoons chocolate chips, optional
2 tablespoons chopped nuts, optional

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Mash avocado until quite smooth in a medium bowl.
3. To this, add lightly beaten egg, mint extract and espresso mixture.
4. In a separate bowl, mix well the dry ingredients except chocolate chips and nuts.
5. Gently fold in the dry ingredients into the avocado mixture.
6. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if used.
7. Scoop batter into a small loaf pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Level with a knife or back of spoon.
8. Bake for about 25 minutes, till center tests done (toothpick test).
9. Cool in refrigerator and cut into eight squares, about 2″ wide.