chocolate zucchini muffins (vegan, no added sugar, dairy free, soy free)

 

I know I’ve hit on a real winner of a recipe when my husband asks for me to make it again. He’s my gold standard. Not that my other recipes aren’t equally tasty, but rather, they might not be equally tasty to people who still love to eat meat, dairy and sugar. Like my husband.

So I’m going to guess that these chocolate zucchini muffins will be safe to label as crowd-pleasers …for vegans and non-vegans, sugar addicts and sugar abstainers alike.

I honestly wasn’t sure how these would turn out and it’s been awhile since I’ve attempted baked goods because most of my past efforts weren’t good enough to try baking again. You see, when you remove the dairy and the eggs and the added sugar, the science of baking a simple muffin suddenly becomes more complicated.

That challenge makes this victory all the no-added-sugar sweeter. If you’re curious why I work to eliminate added sugar in my diet and what the heck do I mean by added sugar anyway, click here to receive a free video which explains all that.

I love these chocolate zucchini muffins because…

  • they are chocolate (hello!)
  • are sweetened only with fruit
  • contain a ‘veggie which my children normally don’t like
  • have an added plant-protein boost from the almond butter and ground flax seed
  • and just look at these delightful air bubbles when you split them open (which reminds me of the Aero bars I used to eat as a child – it’s a Canadian thing)

 

When I’ve made these, I used fresh shredded zucchini. If you’re using frozen, make sure you stir it in while it’s still frozen and get them into the oven ASAP. That way, the water naturally occurring in the zucchini won’t create a soggy mess for you.

Confession: I did add a few dairy-free chocolate chips to some of the batter which helps “bridge the gap” between traditional added sugar muffins and fruit-sweetened ones. However, I don’t think my family was any wiser when they ate the chip-free muffins, so I might leave them out altogether next time.

 

Print
Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

These chocolate zucchini muffins are sweetened entirely with fruit which makes them perfect for breakfast, but they are sweet enough for snacking or as a dessert too!

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Servings: 12
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 scoops 100% pure stevia*
Wet Ingredients
  • 1 small ripe/slightly underripe banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond coconut milk
  • 1 flax egg (1 T ground flax seed + 3 T water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup date paste*
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease your muffin tin well (coconut oil is recommended). Mix up your flax egg and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix to thoroughly combine.

  3. In a food processor or high speed blender, add all wet ingredients EXCEPT the zucchini and apple cider vinegar. Blend until well-combined and very smooth then add to the dry ingredients. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet until combined.

  4. Gently stir in the zucchini and then add the apple cider vinegar and gently mix again. Spoon into prepared muffin tins and bake for 27-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


  5. When finished baking, leave in the muffin tins for 10-15 minutes and then loosen with a knife and remove from the tin and place on a cooling rack. Store muffins in a covered container for 1-2 days refrigerated or 3-4 days refrigerated.

Recipe Notes

*Recipe Notes

  • Be sure to use 100% pure stevia
  • If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using.
  • I recommend using spelt flour and unsweetened almond coconut milk as it's why I used and results may vary with other flours or dairy-free milks although feel free to experiment
  • Unless you don't mind a slight banana flavor to these muffins, I recommend using a small perfectly ripe or just under-ripe banana.

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  •  Click here for my favorite food processor
  • I got my organic spelt flour (GMO free!) from the bulk section at Whole Foods, or you can find it here.
  • Target and many other grocery stores carry the unsweetened almond coconut milk, but you also can get it here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers. I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterStevia™ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping
  • I usually buy my almond butter from Trader Joe’s, but click here for another option.
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • I get my chocolate chips at Trader Joe’s, but here is another kind of dairy-free chocolate chip if you aren’t near a Trader Joe’s

 

chocolate mousse cake (vegan, sugar free, gluten free, paleo)

mousse cake

I’m not really sure if “cake” is the right work to describe this dessert. Pie doesn’t really fit either, although this does have a crust. But after doing some research to see if there was a more fitting name for this confection and turning up nada, I’m running with cake. Food people, if I’ve missed named this dessert, please let me know. I’m all ears.

Ever since radically reducing my sugar intake a couple of years (and more on this to come next week), I’ve tried to stick to desserts that use mostly fruit to sweeten them. After seeing similar concoction around the Web, I knew I had to try my hand at my own version.

mousse cake steps

This recipe combines the recipe for my dark chocolate pudding mousse with an almond-coconut-chocolate crust sweetened only with date paste. If you want more “cake,” then double the recipe for the pudding.

The best part? You won’t regret eating a second, or third, piece. It’s a cake that will make your taste buds and your body sing – even if it’s not made for a birthday. 😉

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the Chocolate Mousse Cake recipe

chocolate mousse cake

Prep Time: 20-25 minutes

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1 c. whole almonds
  • ½ c. date paste
  • ½ c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ c. unsweetened cocoa powder

For the Mousse

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • ¾ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ c. date paste
  • 1- 14.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 scoops 100% pure stevia
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 T almond butter

Instructions

Combine all crust ingredients in a food processor and blend until the mixture begins to hold together.

Press the crust mixture in a springform pan, packing down tightly,

Combine mousse ingredients in a food processor, scraping down the sides a couple of times, and blend until smooth. You may need to do this in two separate batches if doubling the mousse.

Spread mousse over crust and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Recipe Notes

Double the ingredients for the mousse layer if a higher cake is desired.

Make sure you buy 100% PURE stevia – it should come with its own very tiny scoop. I get mine at Trader Joe’s.

Buy fair trade cocoa powder, if possible

For a raw food dessert, be sure to use raw almonds and almond butter.

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calico brownies (gluten free, low sugar, vegan) + fair trade

100_2143Disclaimer: This is a post that starts out seriously but ends in chocolate.

My husband and I are reading the book, “The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster.” It’s written by an American journalist living in Haiti when the earthquake struck five years ago. However, it’s also a book which details Haiti’s volatile history, sometimes of their own making, but also from in the influence of foreign powers rocking their boat. With the earthquake that just happened in Nepal and more natural disasters of increasing intensity on their way, it’s a timely book to be reading.

But what does Haiti have to do with brownies?

calicobrowniesNot much. At least in the sense that Haiti isn’t a large producer of the world’s chocolate  or coconut oil (it does export some). However, many of the trade practices which adversely affect Haiti on other fronts (which Katz relates in the book), also are in place with countries that do produce the most of the chocolate and coconut oil we consume.

For those of us living in affluent nations, the sad truth is that certain imported foods we enjoy at low cost to us comes at a high cost to others. (If you are interested in learning more about the importance of fair trade, I’ve included some links at the end of this post following the recipe.)

But I believe this can change because every time I make a purchase decision, I am casting my vote not only for the product but also for the business practice that brought it to the shelf.

So when a recipe calls for an ingredient that largely is produced and exported from a developing nation, I cast my vote in favor of fair trade as much as possible.

(Here’s where the brownies come in!)

Unlike most brownies which carry a high sugar content, these Calico Brownies, which are adapted from the “Peanut Butter Brownie” recipe found in “Vegan Planet”* on page 508, derive most of their sweetness from dates. They also feature fair trade cocoa power and fair trade coconut oil…which I think makes them taste all the sweeter.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the calico brownies recipe

 calico brownies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

 Serves: 16 brownies

Ingredients

  • 2 flax eggs (2 T ground flax + 6 T water)
  • ½ cup fair trade coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 cup agave or other liquid sweetener
  • 1 cup date paste
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • ¾ cup fair trade unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 3 scoops 100% pure stevia
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼-1/3 c. no sugar natural peanut butter

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In small bowl, combine the flax seed and water to make the flax eggs. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt oil, add in vanilla and agave, then turn off heat.

Break date paste into smaller pieces and stir into liquid mixture – using a potato masher works well to further break up the date paste.

Add in flax eggs and stir.

Add in dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine (the mixture will appear dense and crumble in large pieces.

Pour mixture into greased 8×8 glass baking dish and press down firmly with hands.

Pour peanut butter over batter and use a knife to work it in, then press down batter again (keeping your hands moistened with water helps prevent the batter from sticking to them.

Bake 20 minutes.

Let it cool completely before cutting.

Recipe Notes

Typically, I’ve purchased Equal Exchange’s Unsweetened Baking Cocoa at my local health food store, but recently found Frontier’s Unsweetened Baking Cocoa for less at Abe’s Market. (you can get free shipping on orders over $49.) I usually buy Br. Bronner’s brand of fair trade coconut oil.

Make sure the stevia you use is 100%, otherwise results will vary. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s and it comes with its own scoop.

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 *I am an Amazon associate. If you purchase the cookbook through this link, it will provide a small credit to my account.

 

dark chocolate pudding-mousse (raw)

101_0472

Whenever I had to do a research project for school, I always leaned toward more sober subjects, like “why suntanning is bad for you” or “pollution in the environment.” Why I didn’t think I could combine my fondness for science with something fun like…chocolate…is beyond me.

My oldest son, on the other hand, gets it. Several times in the past couple of years, he has checked this book out from the library.  The first time was for a research project in second grade and just for fun after that. I like his style.

reese
when he dressed as his favorite character – Willy Wonka – for school

And reading through that book, it suddenly clicked with me why chocolate’s health benefits are  touted…it’s a vegetable! “Eat your veggies” suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.

Of course, chocolate stops being a health food when paired with sugar and milk. Which is why recipes like this one for Dark Chocolate Pudding-Mousse are the answer to keeping your taste buds and body happy.

The inspiration for this recipe came from a bonus recipe pack for the Oh She Glows cookbook, but I added a few extra ingredients including the full-fat coconut to further mask the avocado. When you first mix it up, it has the texture of pudding, but will take on the texture of mousse once refrigerated. To keep a more pudding-like consistency, try adding your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk a 1/2 cup at a time (I prefer unsweetened vanilla almond milk).

pudding mousse photo

A note of caution: If you are trying to lose weight, eat this recipe sparingly because avocado and full-fat coconut milk are heavy hitters in the fat department, even if it is plant-based fat. On the flip side, if you find yourself shedding too much weight from eating a low-fat, plant-based, carb-light diet, then by all means indulge away.

And though, spooning it on a plate with sides of mashed potatoes and greens might be carrying it a little too far, I’m all for serving this to my children as an extra treat a breakfast. After all, what better way to start the day than with a cup of fruits and veggies?

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the dark chocolate pudding mousse recipe

 

dark chocolate pudding-mousse

 

Prep Time: less than 10 minutes

Keywords: food processor raw dessert snack gluten-free low-sodium paleo soy-free sugar-free vegan coconut milk dates chocolate

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 14.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 2/3 c. date paste
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (try fair trade!)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 scoops 100% pure stevia powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 T almond butter (optional)
  • unsweetened non-dairy milk as needed

Instructions

Peel avocado, remove pit and put in food processor.

Add date paste, breaking into small pieces to help with the blending.

Add remaining ingredients (except nondairy milk),

Blend ingredients until smooth, anywhere from 1-3 minutes.

If too thick, add nondairy milk 1/4 cup at a time to achieve desired consistency.

Eat immediately or place in refrigerator for later.

Recipe Notes

An avocado that easily yields when gently pressed and is free of bruises works best.

Be sure to carefully read your stevia package to make sure it is pure as many stevia products are a blend and may include undesired ingredients. I bought my stevia at Trader Joe’s and it came with its own scoop. One hundred percent pure stevia is potent so the scoop is tiny, less than 1/8 tsp.

I use roasted almond butter in my recipe because that is what I have on hand. If you want to keep it raw, use raw almond butter.

This recipe thickens as it chills, achieving a mousse-like texture. Adding nondairy milk (I like unsweetened vanilla almond milk best) helps return it to a pudding. This pudding should be consumed within 3 days of eating and must be kept refrigerated.

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