Skinny Double Chocolate Chip Muffins- Thank You Sally!

Ok: Apparently I have been living under a rock for the past year or so, but I recently discovered two websites that I am pretty much now obsessed with.  Those would be Pinterest and Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Just to clear things up, it’s not that I hadn’t heard of Pinterest, I just didn’t explore it or understand what it’s purpose was exactly.  Maybe I really am getting old, but between blogs, facebook, twitter, and instagram, I didn’t really want to sit and learn how to use another form of social media.

I guess my secret is out, I am obviously 80 years old.

Anyways, I am now not only on Pinterest but constantly on Pinterest.  The website has already inspired two of my meals for later this week, so stay tuned.

Now let’s talk about Sally.  Have you guys visited her blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction?  Holy cow.  Sprinkles, cookies, cupcakes, muffins galore.  Honestly, I don’t even like to bake.  I have always preferred cooking over baking because I feel I am better able to create something unique that I cannot simply purchase by cooking instead of baking. Also, I have always felt it is rather easy to tweak meals and make them healthier but that is much harder to do with baking.  Well, Sally and her blog have pretty much inspired me to bake (or in better terms, follow her recipes step by step).

Ironically, I stumbled upon Sally’s blog during the peak of my “trying to eat super healthy for vacation” phase.  However, while perusing her blog, I noticed one of her most recent posts for ‘skinny double chocolate chip muffins’.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Now, normally I am just as skeptical of ‘skinny’ desserts as the next woman, but for some reason I trusted Sally.  Her plethora of drool-worthy photography and shared love of sprinkles made me think she knew what she was doing.  So, I ventured into the baking world with these delicious, gooey, healthy muffins.

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Sally’s Skinny Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction                         Yield: 12 delicious muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large egg whites (or 1 large egg)
  • 3/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt, plain or vanilla)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, plus a few more for sprinkling on top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Spray 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray. Do not use liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine applesauce, sugar, honey, egg whites, greek yogurt, and vanilla extract. Whisk them all together until smooth, with no yogurt lumps remaining.
  3. Sift* the flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together. Slowly stir in the wet ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Get any dry pockets of flour out. Fold in the mini chocolate chips. The batter will be a little chunky. This is ok.
  4. Divide the batter evenly amount 12 liners – fill them all the way to the top if you can. Bake for 5 minutes at 425F. Keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the temperature down to 375 and continue to bake for 13 more minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of one muffin. If it comes out clean, they are done. If not, bake for only 2 more minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 3 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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The Verdict?

I absolutely loved these muffins.  I thought they were chocolatey, gooey, moist, and flavorful.  In my opinion, they don’t taste like anything has been sacrificed in making them lighter.  In fact, I have been craving a muffin for about two months now, and I can honestly say that these satisfied that craving.

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But….

I must mention that my boyfriend, for whatever credit this may hold, was not a fan of these muffins.  He doesn’t know why.  He can’t explain it.  He simply felt that there was a taste of sorts he didn’t like.  Luckily, these freeze well.  More for me.

I strongly recommend making these muffins.  They are delicious, health(ier), and super easy to make.  Some fun twists could be using peanut butter chocolate chips instead, or mixing some strawberries in the batter.

Do you guys prefer baking “healthier” recipes or do you subscribe to the notion that baking is meant to be pure fattening deliciousness?  

What are your favorite things to bake?

Do you prefer cooking, baking, or are you awesome at both?

Giada’s Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

Not that you should ever need a reason to bake delicious cookies, but I’ll give you some anyway in case the wanna-be-good side of you needs a little convincing.

  1. It’s Friday, and weekend calories don’t count
  2. Its February and you have a whole month to burn these off
  3. It’s the weekend of Superbowl Sunday, and these would be the perfect sweet and unexpected addition to a party, plus you can pawn some off on your friends to eat.  Assuming there are any left by Sunday, of course.

I made these cookies a while ago, before I started blogging, so I apologize for the lack of photo quality.  Not that my usual iPhone/Instagram photos are so professional, but at least they focus on the food more than this.

Chocolate chip hazelnut and toffee cookies

Chocolate chip hazelnut and toffee cookies

These cookies have everything you love about chocolate chip cookies, but the addition of hazelnuts and toffee adds an unexpected yet totally pleasant pop of taste that makes them extra special.  They are simple enough to please picky eaters but different enough to not be your same old boring chocolate chip cookie.

The recipe is from Giada Di Laurentiis, and I got it at the Food Network Website.  Recipe is as follows:

You Will Need

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (such as Quaker)
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed, light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. toffee candy bits, finely chopped (I used Heaths)
  • 1 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (spring for the good stuff, such as Ghiradelli, it makes a difference)
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, and chopped (see below for how to husk them)

How to Husk Hazelnuts

Don’t worry- this is something I had no idea how to do at first.  To save you a google search, this is all you need to do:  Toast the hazelnuts in a toaster oven or regular oven (on 300 deg.) until they are toasted but not burnt.  You will begin to smell a toasted-nut aroma when they are ready.  They should not look black.  It is better to under-toast them than to over-toast them.  This should not take longer than 5 minutes.  Then, sandwich the nuts in between a clean dish towel, and rub lightly back and forth.  The husks should naturally begin to shred.  When all of the husks are removed, chop the hazelnuts.  This is the most tedious part of the recipe, but so worth it!

Step-by-Step

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper
  3. In a medium bowel, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  4. Place the oats in a food processor, chop finely, then add them to the medium bowl with the rest of the dry ingredients
  5. Beat together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar in an electric mixer or large bowl (I do not have an electric mixer and did this step by hand no problem)
  6. Beat in the eggs and vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture, and then add the flour.  Stir until all ingredients are evenly mixed, but not any more than necessary
  7. Fold in the toffee, hazelnuts, and chocolate chips, and mix until evenly disbursed.
  8. Form the dough into balls, about 1 TBS in size, and place them on the lined cookie sheets about 1 inch apart
  9. Bake until the cookies are just turning golden, for about 15 minutes.  Remove and cool.

My Tips & Tidbits on this Recipe:

The hazelnuts are a bit of a burden, but totally necessary for the optimum flavor of these cookies.  The husking and chopping is not as bad as it sounds, I promise!  The process is a bit messy, but easy to clean.  I strongly urge you to not substitute another type of nut or skip the nuts all together.

Use the full amount of goodies (i.e. chocolate chips and toffee).  The second time I made these, I left out some of the chocolate chips because it looked like overkill.  Lesson learned: there is no such thing as overkill with chocolate chips.  The recipe was perfect the way it was, and each and every morsel of goodness is needed!

I highly encourage you to make these cookies.  Like I said, they will please picky eaters and sophisticated taste buds alike.  Enjoy and let me know how you like them :)