Spinach Chocolate Muffins {KID-FRIENDLY}


Growing up we were never really allowed to be picky eaters. We either ate what was on the dinner table or just went to bed hungry. After a few nights of going to bed trying to count sheep because you're so hungry you don't think you'll ever fall asleep, you better believe you'll eat whatever is put in front of you. I don't think that approach works with every kid but that's the best my parents did and honestly, I turned out great and have no pickiness (except olives, I absolutely refuse) and thankfully no allergies (except, water chestnuts which is a new thing and SUPER weird).

chocolate spinach muffin

But with some kiddos, you can't do that. You have to get creative and start hiding their veggies in their favorite foods--hell, I'd say its not always kiddos you have to do that. I know plenty adults that need their veggies hidden or they won't eat them. I don't have any kiddos myself, so I'm no "authority" in this manner. I did, however, use to nanny during college to have some extra spending money. The family hired me because I was a quirky young kid who loved nutrition and had such a fire and spunk (and so much energy!) I would cook their weekly meals and sometimes would come over for "date night" and put the kids to bed and do the whole bath time routine... oh and laundry, so much laundry.

The kids were adorable little rugrats! They were pretty well behaved, loved to read, were SUPER smart, and were actually very good eaters. The mom had read my blog (my old blog) and saw that I loved to experiment with foods, so she'd let me play around her amazing kitchen. As a college student, it was literally the dream kitchen! They had such a great philosophy about food, they always bought high quality ingredients either from a farmers market or local coop. They always tried out new recipes and were never afraid of something different.

Cue: Spinach Chocolate Muffins.

I used to use SO much spinach with them. Spinach oatmeal (oh yes, delicious!) and I'd always cook it down in their pasta casseroles. Spinach is amazing, the volume shrinks SO much when cooked down and you can get so many veggies in a small volume. But I wanted to really test out myself, I remember thinking hmmm.. I can make this spinach a dessert, I know I can. Usually a "sweet" spinach treat is either a smoothie bowl or smoothie. And I didn't want to do that, that wasn't their jam and that wasn't creative enough for me.

So I tried out these muffins, and I think I maybe made them 15 times before I finally graduated and left the family. Years later, the mom asked me for the recipe because the kids were craving it... yes, craving spinach. Dietitian score!

Spinach Chocolate Muffin

The recipe is pretty customizable, but don't make too many modifications or you'll change the flavor too much. It doesn't have a different texture from normal muffins, it doesn't have any "grass" flavor-- but if you put too much spinach, it definitely will (believe me, been there done that). The one thing I will say is do not swap spinach for kale. This is one of the only times I probably will say this-- don't do it. Kale has a bitter taste no matter which type you use and spinach is much more mild. Plus, leave poor spinach alone it has it's own fair share of nutrients and has totally been overshadowed by Kale the past few years.

If you have to know, spinach has tons of: non-heme iron, calcium, magnesium (my personal fav), vitamin K, and vitamin C. Additionally, lots of research is out about the phytochemicals in spinach that are linked to eye health!

Okay, I'll get off the Dietitian soap-box, but seriously don't sub kale here.

Nutrition Facts

Recipe:

2 + 1/2 cup flour (any flour really is fine here, whole-wheat is preferred)

2 + 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 + 1/2 medium extra ripe bananas (lots of brown spots, but not totally black)

1 egg (can sub flax egg, the original recipe I used a flax egg-- kiddo had egg allergy)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 tbs. salted butter (or coconut oil) melted, but then cooled off

2 tbs. honey (or agave; or maple syrup)

1 cup. milk (I used unsweetened, original Almond milk)

2 + 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves (frozen is fine too!)

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Yields 24 muffins


Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. You'll want to use silicon liners here. Regular lines work too but you have to spray the inside of them with non-stick spray and I find the whole thing to be very messy. They also don't freeze well, which you may want to do with these muffins.

Combine the flour, baking powder and soda in a large mixing bowl.

In a blender, add banana, egg (or flax egg), vanilla, melted fat, sweetener, milk, and spinach leaves. Blend this super well, almost 4 minutes. You want it to be SUPER smooth, there should be absolutely no chunks of spinach. It should be very smooth and bright green.

Combine your spinach mixture with the dry ingredients. Pour 1/2 of liquid, mix around, then add remaining and combine well. Then fold in only 1/2 of the chocolate chips (1/4 cup) and all the walnuts (if using). Scoop 1/4 cup of mixture into silicon liners. Top with 2-3 chocolate chips before placing into the oven (this is what you saved those extra chips for!). Bake for 13-15 minutes. At 13 minutes, check with a toothpick, if comes out dry-- take them out. Do not over bake.

Leave them to cool for about 5 minutes, then pop them out of silicon liner. I store a few in the freezer and toast them up in a toaster oven when I want! They're amazing on their own, they don't need anything like butter or cream cheese or anything like that. Enjoy!

Inside of muffin

#Dessert #Veggies #Breakfast #MealPrep

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