every year around this time i feel so overly done with winter. whenever the new year begins it feels like such a long journey to the spring equinox, until there are longer days, more sunshine, increasingly warmer days, essentially. but this year is different. maybe because we have a babe now and all i want him to do is explore outside, breath fresh air, and be enveloped by sunshine..? it's no wonder that i reach for comfort in the form of food then, and chocolate in particular.
while i usually grab some dark chocolate, mid-winter usually beckons for something a bit more indulgent. i wish my metabolism were one that could tolerate eating baked goods on the regular, but alas, i could eat air and still gain a pound. so i reserve those types of cravings for these cold, bleak days, when a few shreds of chocolate baked inside a cake-y muffin just seems crucial, ya know?
these are by far my favorite muffin i've made. i have to say that every time i use fresh as opposed to canned puree, i find the resulting texture one that can't be beat. it's rich and velvety (something a canned variety has yet to ever yield), yet still light and airy. i would say these are more on the cake-y side as opposed to a more hearty muffin. either way, they've become quite the staple around here. and if you're wanting to make a slightly healthier/less sugar version of them, eliminate the chopped chocolate, as to cut out some of the sugar. but let's face it, no baked goods are ever going to be healthy, so why not go full tilt and keep those chocolate bits ;)
dark chocolate kabocha muffins | gf & df
the kabocha puree can be substituted with any winter squash puree (butternut, acorn, pumpkin). i would nudge you to try making these with fresh puree, but if you're in a pinch canned puree will do.
| makes 12 large muffins |
- 1 1/4 cups fine brown rice flour
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup almond flour, plus more for topping
- 5 tablespoons raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup kabocha squash puree*
- 2 large free range eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup chopped dark chocolate
- cacao nibs for topping
*kabocha squash puree: preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment. cut the squash in quarters, remove the seeds. rub the flesh side with a bit of coconut oil and place face down. cook until fork tender, about 35-40 minutes. let the squash cool until it is ready to handle. scoop flesh out and allow to cool completely before using or storing it.
- preheat oven to 350°F and line a 12-cavity muffin tin with liners.
- in a large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. in another large mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until mixed. add the dry ingredients to the wet a little at a time until combined. then fold in the chocolate.
- evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tin, filling each cavity 3/4 of the way. top with a sprinkle of almond flour and a small sprinkle of cacao nibs.
- bake in the center of your oven until a cake tester comes out clean, about 28-34 minutes. cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove muffins and let them cool completely before eating. leftover muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.