Did somebody say chocolate? No? How about double chocolate? Also, no? Okay then, maybe triple chocolate….? YES PLEASE! I admit I am definitely addicted to chocolate! Luckily, I have found the BEST 85% extra dark fair trade chocolate bar there is, because as you may know dark chocolate is actually super healthy for you. So that is why I created these delicious-rich-melt-in-your-mouth-chocolate-lovers-heaven-triple-chocolate muffins! All plantbased & dairy free of course and also limited (refined) sugar and no oil or fat. So yes, you can go run to your kitchen now to make these ASAP!
I will admit that I am a huge chocolate addict. I get this from both my mother as well as my father, thanks guys…. ;-)! But luckily for me cacao is actually very good for you and has many health benefits!
To be honest, my biggest secret indulgence (and yes, I know it’s not vegan) is white chocolate. There are several reasons though why I try to avoid it. First of course because it is not vegan, when I consume dairy now my stomach and my skin automatically react to it in a bad way, so extra reason not to eat it. Second because I always eat the entire bar in one day. And lastly it has a ton of sugar in it which catapults me into the biggest sugar high automatically followed by a sugar low (which means cravings!). That is why I try to avoid eating it, with the occasional Tony’s Chocolonely Karamel Zeezout – the BEST chocolate in the world. It’s an amazing young Dutch brand, dedicated to making honest and fairtrade chocolate, look them up! Their blue dark chocolate bar is actually vegan!
However, because I have always craved white and milk chocolate, I never liked dark chocolate, let alone extra extra dark chocolate. Its much too bitter for my taste! Or actually, was too bitter for my taste. Because I actually learned to absolutely LOVE extra dark chocolate. When you swich to eating mainly healthy and you try to minimize your sugar intake, your taste butts will change. Now even a hint of sugar will be enough to give me that delicious sweet sugar taste! So, my trick: stop eating processed sugar, start with 60% dark chocolate and then slowly eat your way up to 85% dark chocolate. You will love it, trust me!
One side note. Even though dark chocolate has many health benefits and is low in sugar, it is still very high in calories. Dark chocolate is even higher in calories compared to milk or white chocolate. Therefore, always make sure to only eat a little bit. Because extra dark chocolate has such an intense flavor you will be completely satisfied with only one piece. Or maybe two. But that’s enough!
Health benefits of chocolate
Like I said chocolate has many health benefits. Keep in mind we are talking about the raw cacao (beans). Not the milk chocolate bars in the supermarket with lots of sugar added!
Some of the benefits of dark chocolate:
- Very rich in antioxidants.
- Highly nutritious: iot contains fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
- High in healthy fats, mostly saturated and monounsaturated.
- May reduce heart disease risk.
- May lower blood pressure
- Raises your healthy HDL cholesterol.
It has also been claimed that dark chocolate helps against depression as it relieves feelings of anxiety and irritability. There have been several studies on this subject and although you can find research to claim the benefits against depression there are also studies that say the opposite.
There are several reasons why dark chocolate may work as an antidepressant. First it contains flavanols – which is a brain protective nutrient. Secondly dark chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine – effecting your energy and cognition. Lastly dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine which increases the release of norepinephrine, dopamine, and acetylcholine. The happy hormones!
There is not a definitive answer on whether dark chocolate helps fight depression. However the high amounts of nutrients and antioxidants are very much proven and therefore in my opinion including two small pieces of extra dark chocolate a day to your diet is a very good idea! Highly recommended by me, and yes also for fitgirls! Eating healthy and being fit and active is one thing but balance is always key, so more chocolate please!
You have probably heard of cacao nibs before, but what are they exactly? Well, cacao nibs are the healthy alternative for chocolate lovers! Cacao beans from the Theobroma cacao tree are dried after harvesting, then fermented and cracked to produce small, dark bits; the so called cacao nibs. These small pieces of crushed cacao beans have a bitter chocolatey flavor and are full of nutrients and very low in sugar.
Nutritional value of 100gr cacao nibs:
- 464 kcals
- 35,7 gr carbs of which 32,1 gr of dietary fiber (!) and 0 gr of sugar
- 42,9 gr fat
- 14,3 gr protein
- Vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, B6 and B12.
- High in minerals: calcium (71,4mg 7%), Iron (3,9mg 21%), Magnesium (229 mg 57%), Phosphorus (321mg 32%), Potassium (750 mg 21%21%), zinc (3,2mg 21%), copper (1,8mg 89%), manganese (1,9mg 96%) and selenium (7,5 mcg 11%).
Triple Chocolate Muffins Plantbased Recipe
- Blender or food processor
- Two mixing bowls
- 12-muffin pan with baking cups
- Kitchen scales
- Spatula, wooden spoon
- 30 gr raw organic cacao
- 60 gr almond flour
- 160 gr whole wheat spelt flour or any kind of flour
- 1 tbsp 10 gr ground flax seeds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 80 ml plantbased milk I use unsweetened almond milk
- 2 ripe bananas
- 80 gr coconut sugar or other sweetener like stevia or dates
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 100 gr extra dark dairy free chocolate
- 20 gr cacao nibs
- 20 gr almond flakes
- Pre-heat the oven to 175C/350F (hot air oven 165C/330F degrees)
- In a mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients: cacao, almonds, flour, baking powder, baking powder, salt and mix well.
- Measure the plantbased milk and add the vanilla. Add to a blender with the bananas and coconut sugar and blend until smooth.
- Using a wooden spoon mix in the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until all is well combined.
- Chop the dark chocolate, set aside 25gr for later, add 75gr to the batter and mix well.
- Spoon the mixture into a creased muffin pan lined with baking cups. I always use an ice scoop; one scoop of batter is enough per muffin.
- Bake the muffins for 15-20 minutes – rotate the muffin pan halfway through the baking process. To check if the muffins are done take a wooden pick, insert it in the muffin and take out. If there is still uncooked batter on your pick the muffins need a few more minutes. Be careful though, these muffins are best when still moist.
- Take the muffin pan out of the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before taking the muffins out and letting them cool down completely.
- Melt the left-over dark chocolate in the microwave or au bain marie. When using the microwave be careful to not burn the chocolate. Start with 30 seconds, check and stir, 10 more seconds, check and stir, etcetera until the chocolate is melted completely.
- Using a small spoon (or piping bag) drizzle the melted chocolate on top of the muffins, decorate with the cacao nibs and almond flakes.
- Enjoy! Love xoxo Jen