I don’t know if it’s the cold weather, Christmas or WHAT that makes me start to crave peppermint. Peppermint tea, candy canes, mint chocolate chip ice cream, mint chocolate cookies… and in the olden days, Girl Scouts Thin Mints (which sadly are NOT vegan). You know, people think you have to give up SO much to be a vegan… Well, I have given this a lot of thought and I don’t think that is true at all. Sure, I did have to give up some things.. but then again, no, I didn’t… What I actually gave up was convenience. If I want a thin mint now, I have to work for it by baking my own. But to me, that is the best part about being vegan (besides making the planet a cleaner and kinder place) – being in the kitchen more, eating better ( & usually healthier) homemade food, sharing time making something with my family. There are so many memories that can be created in the kitchen. It’s one of my favorite places to spend time with my kids, whether they are coloring at the table or trying to help me mix & bake. There’s something magical about creating food, no matter what it may be. Putting ingredients in a bowl and watching it change and turn into something else… it IS magic!
Which brings me back to these awesome muffins. They are kind of like magic too – just a taste of one makes me smile! I love chocolate… I love mint… I love muffins – and these muffins bring all my favorite things together! (Now only if I could add some coffee in there!) Note: These are NOT cupcakes. They are without a doubt muffins, but they are the sweetest most chocolatey delicious muffins. Perhaps they should be called… dessert muffins?
Sometimes I need to remind myself why I started this blog. I love sharing all kinds of recipes, but sometimes I forget that not everybody has arrowroot flour, flaxseeds and nutritional yeast in their kitchens (though I highly recommend stocking your cabinet)! But seriously… the most important reason I’m doing this blog is to show others that PRACTICALLY ANYTHING CAN BE MADE VEGAN. (It’s actually pretty easy to find vegan versions of those special treats, like vegan Twinkies or “Fauxstess” Cupcakes!) My goal is to find a good middle ground – where the food is on the healthy side but is also allowing the “everyman” (aka non-vegans) to be able to cook my recipes without too much fuss. So, I hope I’m more or less achieving my goal and that you are enjoying the recipes you find here!
Mint Chocolate Chip Muffins
FYI – the crushed candy cane topping is going to melt onto the muffin tops, which leaves a nice crunchy minty delicious muffin top! I suppose if you left it really chunky it may leave some pretty red/white spots as well. I like to dust the tops of mine with powdered sugar for a snowy effect! Oh – and if you want these extra chocolatey, I recommend using chocolate soy or almond milk!!
You will need:
- 1 3/4 cup unbleached flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 12/ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp Ener-G-Egg Replacer* + 4 Tbsp water (the equivalent to 2 eggs)
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp mint extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (opt)
- 1 crushed candy cane for sprinkling on top
- powdered sugar for dusting on top
(*Ener-G-Egg Replacer can be found in most supermarkets! It is in a yellow box, usually in the “healthy” section. This stuff is great for replacing eggs in baking.)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
1) Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the “egg” vigorously. Add the oil and milk and mint extract. Whisk well. Add the liquids to the dry, stirring just enough to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips.
3) Spoon into the muffin pans, filling them 3/4 full. Sprinkle the tops with crushed candy cane. Bake 15-17 minutes until a toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean.
4) Let sit for 5 minutes then remove to cool on a wire rack.
Variation: If you want a chocolate muffin without the mint, simply leave out the mint extract. (Use chocolate milk for extra chocolatey-richness.) Add to the dry mixture 2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp cloves. Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts if desired! I made them this way first and they were great!
Ahh… another great thing I have discovered about these muffins is that since they have that hard peppermint crust on top from the melted candy cane, they stack nicely upon each other in a gift basket without the muffins sticking together (but if you are enclosing them in a sealed bag, be careful, they will soften up!) These will last for days, but I think they are best eaten fresh when that top is nice and hard! Personally I love a little crunch with something soft!