How Many Calories in a Chocolate Chip Muffin

At one place I worked, the boss used to compensate for making us work weekends by buying us a couple of boxes of donuts to munch on. After many a weekend of eating donuts, a few of us started to get bored -- not to mention a bit heavier -- so we asked if we could start adding some muffins in to the mix. Muffins are a healthy alternative to donuts, right? That was the logical conclusion for me, anyway, since my mother allowed us to eat muffins on a regular basis but not donuts. But was mom right? Are muffins actually better for us? How many calories are there in a chocolate chip muffin anyway?

A) 220
B) 450
C) 620
D) 870

The answer is C, 620 calories, not to mention 26 g of fat and 81 carbs. This is for a muffin at Perkins' and I imagine they're huge, but nonetheless, it's packed with sugar and very little nutritional value. Think a fruit-based muffin is better? Not really ... the reduced-fat blueberry muffin is still 425 cal -- that's a lot of calories for something that is not very satisfying. In this case, you'd be better off sticking to a donut, which averages 150 - 200 calories, merely because it's smaller. Or even better, opt for some whole wheat toast or fruit with yogurt. Both these items will keep you more satisfied than that load of sugar ever will. If muffins really are your thing, try making them at home using whole wheat flour instead of white, fruit (I like bananas) instead of chocolate and splenda instead of sugar ... there are plenty of healthy recipes out there that you can try!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Muffins

Try these spicy, streusel-topped, gluten-free pumpkin chocolate-chip muffins filled with cream cheese. Whether you need a special gluten-free bread for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years, or just need a little extra something to finish off a Christmas goodie tray you’re giving to friends and neighbors, these pumpkin chocolate-chip muffins look fancy enough that folks will think you’ve spent all day in the kitchen.

If you need them to be dairy free as well as gluten free, you can do that too. Just substitute the milk with your favorite dairy-free milk alternative like Van’s potato milk, Almond breeze, or a light coconut milk (for more richness), replace the cream cheese cubes in the center of the muffin with a teaspoon of jam, and use a dairy-free margarine or some coconut oil in the topping. Nothing could be easier.

Gluten Free Baking: Are Chocolate Chips Gluten Free? Dairy Free?

When first diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it can feel like all of your favorite goodies have been yanked away from you; especially if you need to follow a gluten-free, dairy-free diet. However, gluten-free baking opens up a lot of possibilities. While wheat flour needs to be replaced with a good gluten-free flour mix, like Jen's Gluten-Free Flour Mix used in this recipe, other delicacies like cream cheese and most chocolate chips are gluten free:

  • semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • bitter-sweet chocolate chips
  • dark chocolate chips

  • semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • special dark chocolate chips
  • milk chocolate chips

  • toll-house morsels
  • semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • semi-sweet chocolate mini morsels
  • semi-sweet & premier white swirled morsels
  • milk chocolate morsels
  • milk chocolate chips
  • mint chocolate morsels
  • chocolate chunks
  • milk chocolate & peanut butter swirled morsels

If you need to bake dairy free, as well as gluten free, acquiring chocolate chips is a bit more work, but not impossible. Gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chips can be found at health food stores or online:

Enjoy Life Foods: semi-sweet chocolate chips (gluten free, dairy free, soy free)
Sunspire Organic: semi-sweet chocolate chips (gluten free, dairy free but contains soy)
Tropical Source: chocolate chips (gluten free, dairy free but contains soy)

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Gluten Free Muffin Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Jen’s Gluten-Free Flour Mix
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (or fresh mashed)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 3-oz package cream cheese

Topping Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup Jen’s Gluten-Free Flour Mix
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick spray (please note: “baking” spray contains wheat flour and is, therefore, not gluten free).
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour mix, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice.
  4. Add gluten-free chocolate chips and toss to coat well; set aside.
  5. In another bowl, combine canned pumpkin and oil.
  6. When well mixed, stir in dark brown sugar and milk.
  7. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
  8. Stir in vanilla.
  9. Pour into dry ingredients, and stir just enough to moisten. Be careful not to over beat.
  10. Unwrap cream cheese and cut into 12 cubes.
  11. Place batter into the bottom of each muffin cup, filling the cup a little more than 1/2 full.
  12. Center a cream cheese cube in each cup, then top with additional batter. Make sure the cream cheese is completely covered.
  13. Spoon any remaining batter evenly between the muffins.
  14. For gluten-free muffin topping, combine remaining gluten-free flour mix, dark brown sugar, and pumpkin spice.
  15. Add melted butter and stir until crumbly.
  16. Sprinkle evenly over the tops of the muffins.
  17. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, being careful not to over bake.
  18. Remove from muffin pans immediately, and cool on a rack.
These gluten-free muffins can be stored for 3 days in a tightly-lidded plastic container.

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