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Grain Free Chocolate Mini Muffins

These grain free, dairy free chocolate muffins pack a protein punch and taste more like brownie bites than muffins. The best part? Less than half a teaspoon of added sweetener and oil per muffin! 

 Paleo Chocolate Mini Muffins // One Lovely Life

I’ve said this a few times since we’ve gone gluten & dairy free that I’m grateful for the gluten free, vegan, and paleo diets. They’ve all helped me cobble together a new way of eating. One of the things I’m most grateful for, though, is the discovery of almond meal.

Almond meal is brilliant. It’s full of healthy fats and proteins, lends a subtle sweetness, and I don’t feel the tiniest bit bad about eating it. And these muffins? Yes, they’ve got chocolate in them, but I don’t feel one bit bad about eating them either.


Grain Free Chocolate Mini Muffins // One Lovely Life Grain-Free Chocolate Mini Muffins // One Lovely Life
I’ll be honest, they almost taste like brownie bites. They’re SO good. The magic thing? Other than what’s in your chocolate chips, there are only 3 Tbsp of coconut oil in them for added (healthy) fats and only 3 Tbsp of pure maple syrup in them for sweetener. That works out to 3/8 of a teaspoon each per mini muffin, folks. If you make standard-size muffins, you’re still only looking at 1 1/8 tsp. Most muffin recipes I know (and love) have far more added fat and sugar. With these, you’re really only eating wholesome ingredients, other than the few chocolate chips. I can feel good about that.

And for a lazy Saturday morning or a sweet snack or treat? Perfection.

A few notes (updated):

These freeze beautifully. I make mini muffins because they’re the perfect size for Sophie to manage, but there’s no reason these wouldn’t work in a standard sized muffin tin. You’ll simply need to increase the baking time (see notes in the recipe).

I’ve found the best price of almond meal at Trader Joe’s. These days I mostly use Honeyville blanched almond flour which has a much finer grain and gives these more of a traditional puffed look. Either will work!

This is our mini muffin pan. We use it weekly and LOVE it. Easy to clean, nonstick, and makes the best bite-sized muffins!

Grain Free Chocolate Mini Muffins // One Lovely Life

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Grain Free Chocolate Mini Muffins


  • Author: One Lovely Life, adapted from The Healthy Chef
  • Yield: 24 mini muffins 1x

Description

These freeze beautifully. Feel free to swap out the chocolate chips for some chopped nuts or dried cherries.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2c almond meal
  • 1/4c unsweetened cocoa powder*
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4c almond milk (I use unsweetened–plain or vanilla)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2c chocolate chips* (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, almond milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond extract, if using. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips, if using.
  2. Line a mini muffin tin** with liners or spray with nonstick spray. Fill muffin cups with batter. If you want smooth tops, wet the tips of your fingers and smooth out the batter (I never do this step–I don’t mind crackly tops).
  3. Bake at 350 degrees 18-25 minutes (mine were done at exactly 20 minutes).
  4. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Notes

*Gluten & Dairy Free Notes: I use Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder and Enjoy Life or Trader Joe’s brand semi-sweet chocolate chips. All are dairy and gluten free.

**For standard-sized muffins: you’ll fill 12 muffin cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until done.

16 Comments

  1. Just made these! They’re really good! Thanks for the recipe! Your black bean and sweet potato burritos are on the menu for this week, too. I can’t get enough of those!

  2. Thanks for creating a lovely blog and sharing lovely recipes. Seriously, I want to try every. single. recipe you post, and I know it will turn out great.

    Where do you buy almond meal? Is that the same as almond flour? Could I grind up almonds myself to make a powder, or would I end up with nut butter? (Lots of questions, sorry. 🙂 I would like to experiment more with alternative flours and sweeteners.

    Also… yay for Trader Joe’s! We love having one nearby, after several years without one. Keep writing and sharing recipes (and life). “Being real” is a buzzword, but a genuine heart is always a good thing. 🙂

    1. Marisa – Thank you for your kind comment! I hope I can help! Here are my answers (to the best of my knowledge)

      Almond meal is just ground up almonds. Almond flour is especially fine almond meal. Almond flour can produce a somewhat lighter, more delicate texture, but is often more expensive. Most health food stores carry it (I know that Sprouts, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s all do), but many more stores are expanding their gluten free flour sections. There are several brands you can buy. Nuts.com and Bob’s Red Mill both sell a fine-textured one that’s labeled almond flour. My favorite (and most cost-effective) has been the Trader Joe’s brand. I’ve found it by the nuts and dried fruit.

      I have made my own on occasion by grinding up sliced almonds in my food processor until it’s fine. When making your own, you just want to grind almonds in a food processor till it looks like fine crumbs. If you were to keep going, it would turn into almond butter, but as soon as it looks like fine crumbs, you can stop and it will just be almond meal.

      I hope that helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I’m happy to help in any way I can. So nice to “meet” you!

  3. I made these yesterday morning and they are delicious! I love that they aren’t too sweet. They have a nice texture and it’s great to use another flour alternative without using the gluten free baking mixes (I am not fond of their taste or texture.) Thank you so much for posting this!! I know this will be a recipe I will repeat often 🙂

  4. Girl- you are my hero!! Just starting down the winding GF road, and I need baked something that doesn’t leave me feeling like I just ate sugar-loaded goo!! Can’t wait to have “real” flours to play with.

    PS I hear that Honeyville Grains (they are available online too) is a great place to buy coconut and almond flours.

  5. Just made these! Yum. Do you have the nutritional info on them? I punched the ingredients into the myfitnesspal app and it came out to 86 cal per mini muffin, but 6g of fat per mini muffin! Could that be right?

    1. Katie – I don’t have the nutrition facts, but I honestly wouldn’t be too surprised about the fat content. Coconut oil and almond meal (made from raw almonds) are both full of healthy fats. I don’t fear healthy fats! They’re great for your brain and body.

  6. Emily,

    I found your website through a mutual cousin, Bethani quebbeman! I don’t know if you remember me or not, I married Dax wells…so we were dating roommates at the time. So fun to find you! My heart goes out to you and sweet Sophie, she is adorable! My sister has 2 boys with autism, so we are very familiar with it. I pray for the best for your family.

    I am experimenting with gluten and dairy free, so your recipes have been fun to try! I ate 12 of my mini muffins before forcing myself to stop…yikes! Delicious! Thanks for the recipes!

    1. Tanya – Absolutely! You may be able to tell a very slight taste difference as honey has a slightly stronger taste than the maple syrup, but it shouldn’t affect the end result at all!

  7. Have a batch in the oven. Substituted unsweetened coconut flakes for the chocolate chips (Friday night – need to grocery shop tomorrow but wanted muffins for breakfast). Looking and smelling really good.

  8. I saw your recipe on Pinterest and they looked delicious so I had to try. I was happy to see that the muffins are dairy free since my son is allergic to dairy and eggs. I used egg replacer for the eggs and soy milk for the milk. I didn’t have any coconut oil so I used canola oil and omitted the almond extract. My 7 year old daughter and I loved them, the texture was perfect but it had a little bitter after taste. My son didn’t like them at all. He said they tasted weird.
    I will definitely try the recipe again and maybe reduce the amount of cocoa powder to prevent the slight bitter taste. I will let you know how it works out. Thank you for the recipe!

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