Chocolate espresso muffins


These yummy muffins are made with wholewheat pastry flour, ground almonds, pure cacao and a hint of espresso. There’s no white sugar and no butter. Instead, the dates, maple syrup and almond milk add moisture and give a subtle, natural sweetness. I’ve added some balsamic vinegar to the recipe which blends perfectly with the rich taste of cacao and when mixed with the baking soda, it makes the batter rise as the muffins bake.

If you make these muffins, make them with pure and unprocessed cacao powder. The best chocolate for your health is dark chocolate that hasn’t undergone Dutch processing or hasn’t been treated with an alkali. Pure cacao contains a variety of flavanols or antioxidants that can promote health and lower the risk of heart disease.


Chocolate espresso muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Oven: 350°F/180°C

Ground almonds



  • 6 medjool dates, pitted + 3 tbsps water
  • 4 tbsps pure maple syrup
  • ¾ cup almond milk (at room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons (tsp) balsamic vinegar


  • 1¾ cups ground almonds
  • ½ cup wholewheat pastry flour
  • 3 tablespoons (tbsp) pure cacao powder (no sugar added)
  • 1 tbsp espresso powder*
  • 1 tsp baking soda

* For children, you can substitute the espresso powder with ½ tsp vanilla powder.

  1. In a small microwaveable bowl, put the pitted dates and add 3 tbsps of water. Press the dates into the water and microwave on high for 10 seconds to soften the dates. Take out and keep the water with the dates. Add the maple syrup and process with handheld blender until it looks like a caramel.
  2. Add the almond milk and balsamic vinegar and mix well with a fork. Set aside.
  3. In a separate medium-size bowl, mix all the dry ingredients with a fork.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a fork until well combined.
  5. Spoon batter evenly (about ¾ full) into muffin cups lined with muffin parchment and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and  cool to room temperature.
  6. Top with a swirl of chocolate icing (option).

Chocolate icing

  • 3 ounces (85 grams) semi-sweet dark chocolate*, broken in chunks
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

* I use 70% dark chocolate sweetened with sugar cane.

In small bowl, add chocolate and almond milk and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Take out and mix with a fork until smooth and chocolate has dissolved. Set aside and let cool and thicken for 15 minutes (not too long to avoid it becoming too pasty).

Beat cooled icing with a fork to fluff it up. Put into a pastry bag or use a spoon and swirl on the tops of cooled muffins. The icing will continue to harden on the muffin tops.

Wholesome and decadent even without the icing.

Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

3 thoughts on “Chocolate espresso muffins

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