When I want chocolate, I want decadence.
In the past, my pursuits have been coated in reservation, re: putting health on the back-burner. Besides being a healthcare professional who emphasizes diet above all else in my treatment regimens, I grew up, like many women, with an intense awareness of what types of food make people fat, and even though I’ve never been especially prone to weight gain, the guilt and shame in eating sweets is something that I’ve contended with all the same. And it’s something that I see a lot of in my patients of all ages — the desire to strive for an image instead of simply feeling good. It never ceases to amaze me how deeply that paradigm persists.
Social rituals of fat concern aside, I have concluded that above all else, food should be as enjoyable as it is nutritious. Even if you’re embarking on a cleanse diet to kickstart You 2.0, sweets shouldn’t be something to be out-and-out avoided. This is the thinking that leads to failure, the type that leaves you in a pit of self-loathing after inevitably falling off the wagon. That is, after the sugar cloud dissipates and you’re left cowering on the ground in a puddle of tears.
Here’s the thing: sweets don’t have to be made with added sugar to be completely delicious. The key is keeping those cravings sated while cutting down. I know, I know — you’re probably thinking of all the times people have told you that raw vegan mound at the party was a cake and not the creature of the black lagoon — but that’s not what I’m saying. It’s all about learning the balance. Adapting recipes made with granulated sugar can be challenging because sugar provides structure in baked goods, not just sweetness. Plus, most of us haven’t cultivated the thick skin necessary to use stevia alone, and honestly, I hope I never do. Part of what makes food great is how it brings people together, and complete stevia tolerance sounds like one very lonely, bitter island to me.
By keeping the sweets you have at home on the healthier side, you’ll be able to maximize the nutritional possibilities and keep your cravings at bay. Using wheat flour alternatives really helps with this too, given the excellent fat and fiber contents of them. I can’t say as much for standard baked goods, which tend to leave people wanting more sooner and have all sorts of unnecessary additives along the way. Most of all, though? The greatest thing about having fresh muffins around is that once they’re made, all anyone has to do is grab one when on the go. And you will, as will your family and friends, often far more quickly than you would expect.
Grab away, and enjoy. ❤
Makes about 1 dozen muffins.
Prep time: about 15-20 minutes, Bake time: 25-35 minutes.
½ cup roasted applesauce (see recipe here)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 dropper of liquid stevia
2 tbsp brown sugar (or stevia to desired level of sweetness)
1/3 cup unsweetened rice or coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup almond meal
¼ cup flax meal
1/3 cup tapioca flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)
1/3 cup unsweetened chocolate chips or chunks
TIP: For added crunch, chop up a few walnuts or pecans and add them in.
Preheat oven to 350.
1. Combine and sift dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
2. In a blender, mix wet ingredients until fully smooth, with no residual chunks of banana and all the chocolate powder absorbed. It should do this within a minute of being blended.
3. Gently fold the wet mixture into the dry components, adding raspberries and chocolate chips after everything’s absorbed together to ensure they don’t break apart completely. The consistency of the resulting batter should be thick and sticky.
4. Divide into 12 (about 2 heaping tablespoons each) in a standard-sized muffin tin, lined with either parchment paper or greased accordingly.
5. Bake until toothpick comes out without residue – approximately 25-30 minutes. When baking with nut-flours, it’s generally better to err on the outside of the time-bracket, as often things appear to be done, but may collapse because of the moisture on the inside.