Originally posted March 31, 2014. Updated June 2015.

About a year ago, I read an article calling out food bloggers who seemed to be locked into the timing and themes of their posts. The writer ridiculed bloggers for simultaneously drowning readers with egg recipes during the spring, frozen popsicle recipes in the summer, pumpkin recipes during the fall, and cookie recipes throughout the holidays. I laughed because…well, it’s true. Although I still consider myself a novice in the world of blogging, I know that certain recipes have their seasonal appeal. What else is a blogger to do? Your audience seeks, you deliver, aaaand (hopefully) get a flood of readers going to your web site. Makes sense to me, but as always, you have those who sneer at the masses…and in this case, the sneering spoke to me.

As a non-traditional blogger (to say the least!), I’m going outside the box with this post. I’m living life on the edge, folks! Breaking the mold. Going against the grain! I am posting a PUMPKIN recipe in the SPRING. Ha! Take that. Sneer now….!

This is a recipe I love to make all year long. Not only do these muffins taste great with coffee (oh yeah!), they’re an excellent after school snack for the kids and a delicious grab-and-go breakfast option when paired with a cup of yogurt. I began tinkering with this recipe in the fall (of course!) after my coworker brought in some homemade pumpkin muffins and told me, “They’re really good, but they’re made with all the bad stuff!” I looked at the recipe and knew I could modify it to include less of “the bad stuff” (I kept some in because, honestly, that’s where the flavor is!) and swap in a few healthier ingredients.

Nutrition Highlights

  • Pumpkin. Contrary to popular belief, fall’s signature squash is available at your local grocery store all year long. Often found in the baking section alongside cans of high sugar pie fillings, canned pumpkin is a nutritious diamond-in-the-baking-isle-rough. Did you know that one cup of canned pumpkin provides more than 700% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A, which helps protect our eyes and aids with night vision? It also packs in seven grams of fiber that helps keep us feeling full and satisfied. Diets high in fiber are associated with well managed blood sugar (glucose) and blood cholesterol levels, improved weight management and a healthy digestive system. (Source: Mayo Clinic)
  • Applesauce. To cut back on added sugar, I included pure unsweetened applesauce. Perfectly portioned-out for this recipe when you purchase a package of four-ounce cups, applesauce boosts the vitamin C content and adds even more fiber to these muffins.
  • Walnuts and dark chocolate not only add exceptional flavor, they add high-quality nutrition to this recipe! Both contain flavonoids (a large class of plant pigments) that function as antioxidants, which help fight inflammation that can lead to cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses. Walnuts also contain essential ALA/omega-3 fatty acids that help protect the heart and they’re a natural source of protein and fiber. (Source: California Walnuts)

*Notes: This recipe was previously featured as University of Arizona’s Life & Work Connections healthy recipe of the month. Also, check out my YouTube video featuring this recipe below!


Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Muffins 

Recipe by Christy Wilson
Serves: 32 muffins
Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking Time: 15-18 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup egg white (or 4 egg whites)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) dark chocolate chips (60% or more cacao)
  • *Optional: 1/4 cup walnut pieces

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs, egg whites, sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce and oil until smooth.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and stir until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups about three-fourths full with batter. (I use an ice cream scoop for ease and to help keep portions uniform) Tap pan on counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. (*Optional: At this point, sprinkle tops with walnut pieces.)
  6. Bake at 400°F for 15-18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pans for about 10 minutes. Transfer muffins from molds to wire racks to cool completely. Store muffins in covered container or resealable plastic bags.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Nutrition facts per serving (one muffin):
Calories: 150; Total fat: 6 gr; Saturated fat: 2.5 gr; Trans fat: 0 gr; Cholesterol: 15 mg;
Sodium: 140 mg; Total carbohydrate: 21 gr; Dietary fiber: 2 gr; Sugar: 10 gr; Protein: 3 gr;
Vitamin A: 35%; Vitamin C: 8%; Calcium: 2%; Iron: 8%; Folate: 14 mcg

Enjoy!!
~CWN

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