Believe it or not, these Healthy Chocolate Chip Muffins were inspired by Starbucks' chocolate chunk muffins. Hopefully I didn't lose any of you by making that confession. Stay with me, folks. I will explain, and I promise the recipe is worth it!
The holidays and two months that followed were a blur. I was so busy that I could barely remember my first name and felt like a hot mess most of the time. I tried to stay on track with planning out healthy meals, grocery shopping and cooking nourishing meals for my family, but life doesn't always go as planned. More than once, I found myself in the Starbucks drive-thru desperate for coffee and something to feed my kids.
Being desperate and sleep deprived, I didn't say "no" when my son requested a chocolate chunk muffin. I knew it was loaded with gluten and sugar and didn't offer many nutrients for his growing body, but no mom is perfect. *sigh* At least I learned a couple of things from those muffins. One, that my son absolutely loves chocolate chip muffins! Two, the muffins confirmed that like me, a lot of gluten-containing foods give him a tummy ache.
Knowing that my son loved chocolate chip muffins so much, I set out to develop a recipe for a chocolate chip muffin that my son could eat, one that was free of most food allergens and actually good for him. I nailed it! These Chocolate Chip Muffins are awesome and my kids absolutely love them. *happy dance*
Not only are these Chocolate Chip Muffins loved by adults and kids alike, they're free of eggs, dairy, soy, corn, and gluten. Thanks to cassava flour, these Chocolate Chip Muffins are not only gluten-free, they're completely grain-free! But don't worry, these muffins aren't crumbly or gummy like most gluten-free and vegan baked goods. These Chocolate Chip Muffins are moist and have great texture and structure, all without xanthan or guar gum!
Hold on, it gets even better. This recipe also uses minimal amounts of natural sweeteners, meaning that they contain less sugar than most muffins and still fall under the Paleo-friendly category. Yippee!
Health Benefits & Nutrition Info
These muffins are made mostly out of almond flour, which is packed with nutrients! Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fats, "healthy fats" that research suggests are good for cholesterol levels and ratios. Almonds are also a great source of magnesium, which promotes healthy blood pressure levels and is used for everything from making bones and teeth to neurotransmitters. In addition, almonds provide the nutrients vitamin E, copper and manganese that boost the body's antioxidant abilities. (source, source)
Not only are almonds packed with nutrients, they also contain more protein, fiber and fat and less carbohydrates than regular wheat or gluten-free grain flours. That combination means that these muffins will help to balance your blood sugar levels instead of spiking them. Balanced blood sugar is important in its own right, but did you know that it also helps you maintain a healthy weight? Yes indeed, these Chocolate Chip Muffins are satisfying in every way and a huge improvement from muffins made with grain flour!
Helpful Tips, Tools & Ingredients
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- use plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk + 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, or
- use vanilla flavored, unsweetened non-dairy milk + 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Unsweetened is crucial because we are trying to minimize the sugar in this recipe, and regular non-dairy milks (those that don't say "unsweetened") contain a ton of sugar. But beyond that, you can choose to use a plain (unflavored) or vanilla flavored non-dairy milk. Either one plus the proper amount of vanilla will provide the vanilla flavor that is so important in chocolate chip muffins. My favorites are SoDelicious unsweetened vanilla cashew milk and SoDelicious plain unsweetened coconut milk.
- Enjoy Life chocolate chips are vegan and free of gluten, nuts, dairy and soy. They also taste great and are considered an acceptable treat by most Paleo gurus. These are what I use. I buy them at Natural Grocers because they are priced far lower at Natural Grocers than Whole Foods. You can also buy them at VitaCost for a great price here.
- VitaCost has their own brand of mini chocolate chips that are sold at a great price. They contain soy lecithin so they are not Paleo, but they are gluten-free and vegan. If Paleo is not your thing, these are worth checking out by clicking on the link above. Vitacost also sells their own brand of dark chocolate chunks that are free of soy lecithin. You can find those here.
- Lily's dark chocolate chips are sweetened with stevia and erythritol, making them a great low-sugar option. They can be found at health food stores like Natural Grocers and they are available on VitaCost, and online natural food and supplement retailer that I use frequently. Click here to buy them online and have them shipped to you in just a few days!
Silicone Muffin Pan
Using a silicone muffin pan will not only save you money since you won't need liners, it will also make your life much easier! Well, at least when it comes to making anything muffin-related. I didn't even grease the muffin cups to make the batch you see in these photos. The muffins just pop out, and the pan cleans up in a snap. It's so easy, and these snazzy pans are only about $10 on Amazon! I bought the Keliwa brand silicone muffin pan that you see below and have been very pleased with it.
Paleo Chocolate Chip Muffins
Now that you know all of my tricks, let's get on with the recipe!
Paleo Chocolate Chip Muffins
Gluten-free | Grain-free | Dairy-free | Egg-free | Soy-free | Vegan | Paleo | Primal
- 2 cups almond flour blanched, extra fine
- ½ cup cassava flour
- ¼ cup arrowroot
- ¼ cup sucanat or coconut sugar use coconut sugar for Paleo version
- 1 Tbsp ground psyllium husks
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup avocado oil or other flavorless oil, such as almond or macadamia nut oil
- ¼ cup honey or agave syrup use agave syrup for vegan version, honey for Paleo
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¾ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, plain or vanilla flavored (see Helpful Tips, Tools & Ingredients)
- 1 tsp or Tbsp vanilla (use 1 Tbsp if using unflavored milk, 1 tsp if using vanilla flavored non-dairy milk)
- ½ cup chocolate chips + about 2 Tbsp more to sprinkle on top before baking (see Helpful Tips, Tools & Ingredients for Paleo, vegan and allergy-friendly choices)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Combine the wet with the dry and stir with a sturdy spoon before folding in the chocolate chips.
If you are using a silicone pan, you can grease the muffin cups lightly, but I have not found it to be necessary. If you are not using a silicone muffin pan, line the muffin cups with paper liners. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and sprinkle a few more chocolate chips on top of each one.
Bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 30 minutes before moving to a wire rack.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, wisk together the dry ingredients. Wisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Combine the wet with the dry and stir with a sturdy spoon before folding in the chocolate chips. If you are using a silicone pan, you can grease the muffin cups lightly, but I have not found it to be necessary. If you are not using a silicone muffin pan, line the muffin cups with paper liners. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and sprinkle a few more chocolate chips on top of each one. Bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 30 minutes before moving to a wire rack. Let them cool completely for the best results, if you can wait that long!
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