I have reached muffin nirvana: chocolate and cream cheese pair up in a magical muffin that is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, AND free of gluten, grains and refined sugar. What happens when you take my favourite Quest bar flavour EVER and work it into a similarly high-protein, low-carbohydrate muffin? BOOM! There are no words. Just eat and enjoy.
Not unlike my Skinny Chocolate Zucchini Protein Muffins, these muffins owe inspiration to a very talented food blogger: Paige Alexander of Food Fitness by Paige. Paige has access to some pretty unique specialty ingredients and she combines them in wonderful and exciting new ways to create incredibly delicious high-protein baked goods AND savoury recipes that are also generally low in carbohydrates and provide balanced fats. I highly suggest that you check out her Strawberry Chunky Cheesecake Muffins, which inspired this recipe.
The first time I made Paige’s recipe (as above) was also the first time that I had ever baked with an actual Quest bar. I have baked Quest bars (if you haven’t tried this yet, drop everything you’re doing, including reading this blog, RIGHT
MEOWNOW and go pre-heat your oven to 350F and then place an unwrapped Quest bar in a baking dish and bake for five minutes. I guarantee that it will make ANY flavour even more amazing). I have baked with Quest protein powder. But I had never baked with a Quest bar. Paige’s recipe happens to incorporate an entire Strawberry Cheesecake Quest bar, cut into pieces, into her 6-muffin recipe. And it was AMAZING. I pressed Mr. Golden Graham to try one fresh out of the oven before I left the house for the morning so that I could see his reaction, but he “wasn’t ready” (something about needing coffee or whatever). He literally called me with a mouthful of muffin to tell me how good they were (except I already knew that) and made me promise not to lose the recipe.
Side note: And can I just say how much I love small-batch high-protein baking? Due to their higher protein content, these baked goods generally don’t keep as long as their traditional counterparts and I’m often hard-pressed to eat an entire batch – partly my own fault because I’m guilty of hoarding my specialty-ingredient, high-protein baking for myself – and I find myself searching for room in my already over-full freezer. I periodically have to force myself to take “baking breaks” and commit myself to finishing what’s in the freezer before I’m “allowed” to bake anything new. It’s similar to the habit of donating an article of clothing to make room in your closet before you purchase a new article – does anyone else do this with shopping OR baking??
Okay, back to business. So I knew I was down with putting a Quest bar IN my muffins, and I knew I wanted to make a small batch. Naturally, I have an abundance of Double Chocolate Chunk Quest Bars* on hand. Since Mr. Golden Graham and I are both chocoholics, I instantly started thinking about ways to modify Paige’s recipe (great in its own right, but very definitely a sweet, strawberry indulgence) to GIVE ME THE CHOCOLATE.
The result? Read below!
Double Chocolate Cheesecake Protein Muffins (Gluten-free, Grain-free, High-protein, Refined sugar-free)
These muffins are rich and chocolate-y but not-too-sweet. Enjoy the chewy chocolate chunks and hint of cream cheese flavour throughout.
2 ounces (56g) original plain cream cheese (you can also use reduced fat or fat-free if you like and the recipe will still work well but you will have different nutritional information versus what is presented below; stats shown are for regular original Philadelphia Plain Cream Cheese)
1/4 cup (25g) granulated erythritol – I used Now Foods Erythritol Natural Sweetener*
1 large egg
1/2 tsp (2.5mL or 2g) vanilla extract
2 tbsp (15g) coconut flour – I used Edward & Sons Organic Coconut Flour*
1/2 scoop (15.5g) chocolate protein powder (FYI whey isolate bakes differently than protein blends – you may need to increase the liquid accordingly if using a pure whey isolate protein powder) – I used Quest Nutrition Chocolate Milkshake Flavor Protein Powder*
2 tbsp (10g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp (4g) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2g) cinnamon (I promise you won’t taste cinnamon flavour but it somehow really makes the chocolate flavour POP!)
1/4 tsp (1g) sea salt
1/4 cup (62.5mL or 60g) unsweetened almond milk
1 Quest Double Chocolate Chunk bar* OR Mint Chocolate Chunk bar*, cut into small pieces
1. Preheat a conventional oven to 350F (185C) or a convection oven to 325F (165C).
2. Line muffin tins with 6 silicone muffin liners OR grease with non-stick cooking spray (pro tip: I like to use muffin liners – silicone works best with low-fat baking as paper liners are prone to stick – to make clean up easier AND to make it even easier to take these muffins on the go!).
3. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and erythritol.
4. Whisk in the egg and vanilla extract.
5. In a separate bowl or container, combine all dry ingredients (the next 6 ingredients) (pro tip: I like to put my dry ingredients in a sealable container and shake to combine thoroughly – no risk of whisking dry ingredients out of the bowl onto the countertop or floor!).
6. Add the dry ingredients to the cream cheese mixture, alternating with additions of almond milk (1 tbsp at a time) until you have a thick, chocolate-y batter.
7. Fold in the Quest bar pieces.
8. Scoop into muffin liners (if using) or directly into muffin tin (fill each cup 1/2 – 2/3 full) and bake for 15-20 minutes until a cake tester inserted in center of muffins comes out clean.
7. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
8. Enjoy immediately OR store in a sealed container in the frige – these muffins taste GREAT any time of the night or day!
Calories: 99 Fat: 5.4g Carbohydrates: 8.7g Sugar: 0.7g Fiber: 4.5g Protein: 7.6g
You could serve these warm but I highly recommend allowing them to cool and then storing them in a sealed container overnight and enjoying their rich and creamy texture and chewy chocolate chunks the NEXT day. You can then keep them for an additional 2-3 days in a sealed container (if they last that long!).
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*Please note that I am currently NOT sponsored by or affiliated with any particular brand, company or product. Any ideas, comments or opinions are my own, as mentioned in my Product Review page. However, if you choose to purchase new-to-you products I recommend using the link(s) I provide, I can earn a small credit. More information on that is available here.
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