In January, I eliminated sugar for the month – even natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey and coconut sugar. The combination of too much dark chocolate and umpteen impromptu baking sessions on weekday afternoons left me feeling like sugar had become more of a habit than a treat.
So, my month of sugar-living began on January 1. It was hard at first, because while I craved sweets to some extent it was more about the comfort and the pattern of hunkering down with a few squares of dark chocolate and Netflix. I found new habits to occupy my mind – I took up knitting again, read books and coloured in my grown-up colouring book.
By the time February 1 rolled around, I didn’t need a treat but I wanted to have some fun. And so I celebrated by cradling my mixing bowls and dusting off my baking pans to create a healthful, lightly sweetened treat using a winter favourite: butternut squash. That’s how these double chocolate chip muffins were born.
Winter squashes are plentiful at this time of year and are packed with the immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory nutrients we need right now, particularly if you have digestive issues. Of course, butternut squash is fabulous in soups, dips, salads, and if you’ve never tried it in smoothies or savory crumbles – well, you must. But it’s also incredibly delicious in baked goods while adding a boost of nutrients and fibre.
If you think butternut squash sounds kind of weird in a chocolate chip muffin, we’re all well accustomed to eating pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin scones and pumpkin spice lattes. So why should using butternut squash be strange?
It’s not. It’s freaking delicious.
Now, this muffin batter isn’t overly sweet on its own. There’s only 1/3 cup of coconut sugar in the entire recipe, which allows the chocolate-y flavour to shine through. The dairy-free chocolate chips add an extra pop of sweetness; feel free to toss in more than 1/2 cup as there can never be too many chocolate chips in a treat.
And that’s a fact.
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- ½ cup soghum flour
- ½ cup arrowroot flour
- ½ cup cacao powder or cocoa powder
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp coconut milk
- 1 cup butternut squash puree
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup dairy-free chocolate chips (heap the cup!)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, mix the flours, cacao, sugar, ground flax, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla powder.
- In a small bowl, blend the coconut milk, squash puree and coconut oil.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until everything is incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, or grease them well. Fill the cups with the muffin batter.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.