Pumpkin and chocolate are such strange bedfellows, don’t you think? But they really are meant for each other and these Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are love at first bite. After several attempts to add healthy ingredients to this recipe, I think we have a winner.
How to make Healthy Muffins
I bumped up the antioxidants in the chocolate by using dark chocolate chips, which you can omit if desired, maybe add walnuts instead, and I used a mixture of whole-wheat flour and almond flour (the almond flour is critical to this recipe), used coconut oil, and you don’t need much because the pumpkin already makes these muffins moist. The flavor from the coconut oil pairs so well with the pumpkin and chocolate! The recipe calls for chia seeds to compliment the super good-for-you properties of the pumpkin. They’re purely optional and some people might be confused by the tiny popping crunchiness they add to the muffins, but we REALLY like them. I reduced the sugar significantly, but you won’t miss it thanks to the sweet pumpkin puree, chocolate chips and coconut oil. The all-important almond flour has a nutty-sweet flavor so all in all, the sweetness of these muffins is just right.
Making Muffins in One Bowl
These tasty, healthy pumpkin muffins mix up quickly by hand in one bowl, plus bake up moist and delicious. AND they just get better as they sit. In fact, I would plan on making them a day ahead if you can. (Photo note: The muffin that’s cut in the picture is super, super moist and was cut while still warm. As the muffins cool, they will achieve a more cake/muffin-like texture and appear less wet but still moist for up to three days.)
The pumpkin muffins are excellent with or without the chocolate if you’re not a fan of the two flavors together. The muffins are also incredible with chopped walnuts rather than the chocolate chips.
Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon chia seeds optional plus extra for sprinkling on top
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil melted
- 2/3 cup firm-packed light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips rough chopped to distribute more throughout the batter
- Optional: Chocolate chips can be replaced with walnuts or even oatmeal not instant or quick cooking
- Position oven rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin(s) with cupcake liners. This batch makes 12 full muffins as shown in photos or 15 muffins level with the liners.
- In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin puree, coconut oil, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. In the same bowl, sprinkle the flours, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and chia seeds if using over the wet ingredients, and then sprinkle the baking soda and baking powder evenly over everything. Stir until well incorporated and the flours are well mixed in (Note: whole wheat flour can be stirred much more than all-purpose flour without creating a tough finished texture and since the almond flour is gluten-free, it can be stirred in even more with successful results).
- Now add your chocolate chips and give the mixture one last good stir.
- Fill muffin cups between 1/2 to 3/4 full, depending on the size muffins you want. I filled mine 3/4 full. They don't rise a lot, so if you want really big muffins, fill even more. Sprinkle with more chia seeds if you like.
- Bake for 23-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and tops begin to dry at the peaks. Place tin on cooling rack and cool completely.
- For even better muffins, remove from tins when cooled and place in air-tight container for 24 hours before serving.
- You may substitute AP flour for the whole wheat flour if needed but DO NOT substitute the almond flour. It is key to the texture that makes these muffins so special. If you don't have almond flour, wait to make the muffins until you do.
- For a change, feel free to substitute fresh butternut squash for the canned pumpkin. Just chop an equal amount of squash, cook in boiling water until soft, puree in the food processor and add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to the squash. Continue with the rest of the recipe as written.
- Chocolate chips and be omitted, if you like but they had a wonderful compliment to the pumpkin. If you still don't want the chocolate flavor, maybe substitute with walnuts for some healthy fat.
Loosely adapted from Joy The Baker.