These vegan chocolate mini muffins are moist, tender and full of chocolate flavor–a secret ingredient makes these perfectly sweet without any sugar!
My favorite type of muffin? It’s a close tie between chocolate or lemon poppyseed. There’s something so satisfying about eating cake in muffin form–and the best chocolate muffins and moist, close-crumbed and bursting with chocolate flavor. These hit the mark on all fronts! And if you’re avoiding refined sugar or even liquid sweeteners, these muffins are for you–they contain no refined sugar!
Instead, they use a secret ingredient: date paste.
What is date paste?
Date paste is made from blending dates with water until you have a smooth, sweet paste that can be used in all sorts of baked goods. Because of the natural sugar content in dates, they are a great way to add natural sweetness to your baked goods. They also add a good amount of moisture to these muffins. You might be surprised at how well date paste works in place of sugar!
Ingredients you’ll need for these sugar-free chocolate muffins
Many of these ingredients (like leaveners, oil and nut butter) you may already have in your kitchen. Medjool dates can be found at most markets in the dried fruit section. If you like, you can swap in all-purpose flour for the whole wheat flour and even the oat flour if you like (the texture will be just slightly less soft).
- Medjool dates, chopped and pitted
- Whole wheat flour
- Oat flour
- Unsweetened cocoa powder, like Hershey’s natural cocoa (not Dutch-process)
- 2 large, ripe bananas
- Neutral oil of choice (grapeseed, canola, vegetable, etc.)
- Nut butter of choice (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.)
- Milk of choice
- Baking soda, baking powder and salt
- Sugar-free chocolate chips, if desired
How to make the muffins
Once you make the date paste, these muffins are very easy to make. Simply whisk all the dry ingredients together, then combine the wet ingredients. Stir everything together, add to a mini muffin pan, and bake!
What do sugar-free muffins taste like?
I can’t speak for all sugar-free muffins, but these particular chocolate muffins are moist and not too sweet with a soft, almost squishy crumb. If you add the optional chocolate chips, the mellow sweetness will be greatly enhanced with bursts of chocolate flavor. You can leave the date paste slightly chunky for a more rustic texture, but if you blend it until smooth, you won’t be able to tell there are dates in these!
Vegan Chocolate Mini Muffins (no sugar!)
For the date paste
- 1.5 cups Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 1 cup water
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
For the muffins
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup oat flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (like Hershey's natural)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup almond milk
- 2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil of choice (canola, vegetable, grapeseed, etc.)
- 1.5 tablespoons peanut butter or nut butter of choice
- 1/4 cup sugar-free chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a mini muffin tin or standard loaf pan with nonstick spray.
Make the date paste
- Place the dates and water in a small saucepan, uncovered, over high heat. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, add the baking soda. Mixture will foam up; reduce the heat to medium or medium high if mixture starts to foam over. After a minute or two, the dates should begin to break down. Use a wooden spoon to stir/mash up the dates a little. Let simmer for another five minutes or so until the dates break down into a paste-like mixture. Add an additional splash of water if the mixture starts to look dry before the dates have completely broken down. Once dates are a stir-able mass, set aside to cool. If you'd like the paste to be extra smooth, blend the cooled dates in a high-powered blender.
Make the muffins
- In a large bowl, combine the flours, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the date paste, vanilla, milk, bananas, oil and peanut butter and stir until well combined. Do not overmix. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Place about a heaping tablespoon of batter into each mini muffin well or pour batter in prepared loaf pan. Bake for 12-13 minutes for mini muffins or about 40-45 minutes for a loaf. Muffins are done when the tops feel firm to the touch.