A guilt-free recipe for a really easy breakfast!
In the beginning of December, I breezed through Trader Joe’s on one of my bi-weekly shopping trips to stock up on bananas, spinach, and some other staples. While gently arranging fresh produce in my basket, I glanced up at the freezer aisle end cap display, causing my jaw to drop down to the floor.
Chocolate Peppermint Loaf Mix — $3.99!
I rushed through the rest of the store, mentally chanting, “ChocolatePeppermintLoaf, ChocolatePeppermintLoaf, ChocolatePeppermintLoaf,” (and quite possibly scaring the checkout clerk) until I reached my car. After squeezing the bags into the backseat, I rummaged through the glove compartment for sticky notes and scribbled down my mantra. I wanted to make a copycat at home!
Yet over the next few days, I quickly grew distracted by other holiday treats like cookies, truffles and fudge. Three weeks passed in the blink of an eye, but I finally resolved to buckle down and focus last weekend. No more procrastinating!
I decided on one minor modification. Since I completely lack self-restraint with anything chocolate, I tweaked the original to bake muffins instead (built-in portion control!). After carefully measuring, mixing, and baking the batter, I chuckled. My first batch billowed out over the sides of the muffin cups and resembled the bulbous noses of elephant seals!
After reassembling the ingredients and reducing the liquids, I cheered. The next round of Chocolate Peppermint Muffins turned out light and airy, moist and chocolaty, and perfectly pepperminty!
The batter itself is incredibly easy. Whisk the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ones in another, and stir them together just until moist. No mixer required! If you beat the batter with an electric mixer, it would overdevelop the gluten strands, turning your muffins tough and chewy. For a tender texture, stick to a fork or wooden spoon instead—they’re also easier to wash!
To amplify the peppermint flavor, I added two sources: peppermint extract and peppermint baking chips. I opted for a bag of pre-chopped Andes peppermint candy, which Walmart usually stocks year-round near the chocolate chips. If you can’t find that, try dicing seasonal Andes peppermint chip thins, regular Andes mints, peppermint bark (I prefer the dark chocolate variety!), or even using plain semisweet mini chocolate chips.
As I previously mentioned with another chocolate muffin recipe, there are 3 secrets to creating tall bakery-style muffins.
♦ Thick batter. The thicker, the better! The batter should be scoopable, not pourable. I added too much milk in my first batch, which produced a really thin batter and led to the bulbous elephant seal nose spread. After halving the milk, the tops turned out perfectly domed.
♦ Filling the muffin cups to the brim. Many standard recipes instruct you to fill the muffin cups about 2/3 full, but those don’t rise quite as high! Tall tops require more batter.
♦ A quick burst of heat. Baking these muffins at 425°F for a mere 6 minutes before reducing the temperature (without opening the oven door!) rapidly activates the baking powder and baking soda. This creates air bubbles inside the batter, which forces the muffin tops to rise faster.
After nibbling off my first bite, I dove back in for a humongous mouthful. The moist muffins exuded rich chocolaty flavor, complemented with little pockets of sweet melted peppermint chips. Their tender texture and stately size alluded to their decadent taste, and I completely caved, sneaking a second later as an afternoon snack.
Somewhat curious, I compared my muffins to Trader Joe’s loaf. The result?
» 110 fewer calories…
» 60% less fat…
» 80% less sugar…
» 2.5 times as much protein…
… all for the same serving size! These skinny Chocolate Peppermint Muffins are the perfect low fat, low calorie, and healthy indulgent breakfast for this holiday season.
I’m already planning on baking them again in January!