Healthy Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins

~ These Healthy Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins are wonderfully decadent, with bursts of creamy chocolate and {optional} swirls of date-infused caramely filling! No doubt – we definitely call ’em “Kids’ Favorite Muffins” for a reason! 😉 Try these for grab-and-go breakfasts with our easy make-ahead and freezing tips, or bake ’em up as darling “mini” muffins for quick snacks! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less (Mini Muffins)    Freezable    Make Ahead    Vegetarian  

Everyone asks for this recipe! Fall flavors of pumpkin and cinnamon, with bursts of creamy chocolate and {optional} swirls of date caramel filling! These Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are ridiculously good! Bonus: they’re freezable – so stock up for quick snacks and meal prep! Or bake 'em as mini muffins for playdates and school parties! | pumpkin recipes | pumpkin muffins | muffins healthy | muffin recipes | date caramel | freezer meals | #pumpkin #muffins | www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com
Great for playdate snacks and school parties! Our Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins bake faster than larger ones (great if you’re in a hurry!) and they’re perfect for little hands. And no doubt, kids LOVE this muffin recipe – it’s actually nicknamed “Kids’ Favorite”! Kids don’t even notice how healthy it is! They’re freezable - stock up for quick snacks and meal prep! | pumpkin recipes | pumpkin muffins | muffins healthy | muffins recipes easy | #pumpkin #muffins | www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com
Delicious fall flavors of pumpkin and cinnamon, studded with bursts of creamy chocolate … plus an optional “caramel-y” swirl! These Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are so fantastic – everybody loves them and asks for the recipe! We even nicknamed them “Kids’ Favorite” muffins! (But trust me … adults adore them, too.) Try them today, and see for yourself! | pumpkin recipes | pumpkin muffins | muffins recipes | fall recipes | #pumpkin #pumpkinrecipes #muffins | www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com
Wonderfully decadent, with bursts of creamy chocolate and {optional} swirls of sweet, date caramel filling! These Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are so ridiculously good! Try them for make ahead, grab-and-go breakfasts (they freeze great), or bake 'em up as darling "mini" muffins for quick snacks! | pumpkin recipes | pumpkin muffins | muffins | muffins healthy | muffins recipes easy | muffin recipes | date caramel | freezer meals | #pumpkin #muffins | www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins with Caramel Swirl Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Warm fall notes of pumpkin and cinnamon, studded with bursts of creamy chocolate. Mmmmmm … A harvest-time flavor party, for sure!

But did we stop there? Nope – no way! We added a whole ‘nother layer of flavor with swirls of a date-infused caramely filling. Autumn in a muffin wrapper! You’re gonna love it!

In fact, these muffins are something of a legend at my house. We just call them “Kids’ Favorites” – and for good reason!

I’ve baked these countless, countless times since my kiddos were toddlers (healthifying them and adding the caramel along the way), and we’ve shared them with neighbors, teachers and friends. Rave reviews all around, plus request upon request for the recipe!

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins with Caramel Swirl Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

A Muffin Story of Friendship (and Maybe Love?!?)

These muffins are actually one of the very first foods that my family shared with Gretchen’s, back when her family had just moved to my town (long before we even imagined creating this blog).

You see, my son Ty and Gretchen’s daughter happened to sit across from each other in third grade, and one day Ty thoughtfully shared his snack (a “Kids’ Favorite Muffin”!) with the little new girl. She loved it – and went home demanding that her mom (that would be Gretchen) get the recipe right away!

So, in a way, these Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins are the reason that Gretchen and I found each other, became best buds … and decided to launch THK. (That’s the friendship part.)

But what about  the “love” part, you may wonder?

Welllllll

That’s the part where Gretchen and I would really like to tell you a story of how we envision the future for these two kiddos … and ourselves!!! (Anyone else hearing future wedding bells?) A story about how we realized that one day we could actually be related and hang out even more … mwahahahahaha. (But, our kids usually read these posts, and we figured they’d be shocked, outraged and utterly embarrassed if we told you how we planned to leverage their futures for our own self-serving gains. Shhhhhhh …)

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins with Caramel Swirl Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

No doubt, we’ve got some serious history with these muffins (and some serious hopes for the future hinging on them, too)!

So clearly, now that pumpkin season is in full swing, I just had to share this recipe with you!

How We Made These Muffins Healthy

The original, five-star rated, pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins that inspired my version are literally named “Kid’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Muffins” on the Very Best Baking web site.

I’ve adapted that original recipe over the years, and Gretchen and I used typical THK “healthification” techniques to finalize a recipe we could feel really terrific about sharing with our families and friends. We:

  • Slashed the fat.
  • Cut back on the chocolate chips (you won’t miss them!).
  • And significantly reduced the sugar (again – you seriously won’t miss it!).

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins with Caramel Swirl Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Want Some Extra Caramely Sweetness?

Yeah, ya do!

Ooooooh … that caramely swirl!

It’s made with a surprise ingredient – dates!

Dates are one of the current darlings of the Pinterest world. They’re not only nutritious and candy-sweet, but they can also mimic the flavor of caramel (in a much healthier way!).

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins with Caramel Swirl Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

For these muffins, I use my mini food processor to whip up a ribbony filling with dates, just a bit of brown sugar, water and a little vanilla. (I use the littlest processor in my Ninja sets, and have upgraded to this set of three different sizes, which I just love.)

The result is lusciously sweet caramel that’s full of the health benefits of dried dates, with just a little of the very fall-like flavor of the dates themselves (which pairs perfectly with the pumpkin in these muffins).

It’s sooooo good!

But, as always, we also want to you to know you’ve got options! So here ya go:

Quick Tips for Faster Muffins

Need to whip up a batch of these muffins even faster? You’ve got a couple of options:

 1) Skip the Caramel Swirl – Sure, we really love that extra sweet and decadent swirl of fall flavor … but if you’re in a hurry, you can skip that step (just be sure to try it next time!).

If you do decide to skip the caramel this time around, we recommend that you add just a little more sugar to the muffins to take the place of the sweetness in the caramel (as you’ll see in the recipe below – you should use 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar instead of 1 1/3 cups).

Mini Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins

2) Make Mini Muffins – Mini muffins bake up a little faster than regular-sized muffins. So, they’re a perfect option when you’re in a desperate rush to get these to the bake sale, or to have them out of the oven to surprise your kiddos when they get home from school (oh yeah – totally been there!).

Bonus! Mini muffins are just right for tiny hands! Want a super-fun snack for fall playdates or school parties? Mini muffins are perfect! It’s a bit difficult to incorporate the caramel swirl in mini form, so we recommend just using the basic recipe without the caramel for mini muffins.

The smaller minis look so darling, and little ones just love ’em!

Mini Healthy Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins

Make-Ahead Tips for Our Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins

Of course, we have suggestions for making our beloved muffins ahead of time (which makes us love ’em even MORE)!

  1. You can prep most of the ingredients in advance, so the muffins are quick to whip up whenever you’re ready to bake them.
  2. And these even freeze beautifully after baking – fantastic as part of a meal prep plan, and to keep on hand for grab-and-go breakfasts and quick snacks!

Check out the notes at the bottom of the recipe card for more deets on our make-ahead tips. (And call yourself “Time Manager Extraordinaire”!)

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins with Caramel Swirl Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

So there you have it – the “kids’ favorite” Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Muffins recipe that I shared with Gretchen, long before we realized just how many recipes we’d soon be sharing with each other … and with you!

It’s perfect for pumpkin season (and even for bringing families together).

Bake up a batch, and see for yourself!

Healthy Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins

Healthy Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins

Yield: 24 regular muffins
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

These Healthy Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins are wonderfully decadent, with bursts of creamy chocolate and {optional} swirls of date-infused caramely filling! Try these for grab-and-go breakfasts with our easy make-ahead and freezing tips, or bake ’em up as darling “mini” muffins for quick snacks!

  Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Freezable  •  Make Ahead    Vegetarian  

Ingredients

DRY INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

WET INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar (use 1 1/2 cups if you aren't making the optional caramel swirl filling)
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENT:

  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

OPTIONAL CARAMEL SWIRL:

  • (We do not recommend caramel swirl for mini muffins. As noted above, if omitting the caramel swirl to make "regular, plain" muffins, or if making mini muffins, increase the brown sugar in the wet ingredients above to total 1 1/2 cups.)
  • 20 whole dried dates
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare muffin pans. (Line muffin pans with 24 foil liners, for regular-sized muffins. For mini muffins, spray pans with canola cooking spray or line with 48-60 mini liners [depending on the size of your pans] – we usually don't bother with liners when making mini muffins.)

2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir well with a whisk until evenly combined.

3. In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients and whisk thoroughly. (If not making optional caramel swirl, remember to increase the brown sugar to 1 1/2 cups.)

4. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just to combine and being careful not to overmix. Add the chocolate chips to the batter and stir again briefly, just to combine. Using this batter, proceed to one of the baking options below:

BAKING OPTION #1 FOR "REGULAR-SIZED" MUFFINS WITH NO SWIRL:

5. Spoon all batter evenly into prepared muffin liners.

6. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

7. Cool in the pans for about 5 minutes or until the muffins are beginning to set and are cool enough to handle. Remove the muffins to wire racks to cool completely.

BAKING OPTION #2 FOR "REGULAR-SIZED" CARAMEL SWIRL MUFFINS:

5. To make optional caramel swirl: In a mini food processor (like the smallest one in this set), process the dates, water, brown sugar, and vanilla until completely smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice as needed.

6. Spoon about half of the muffin batter into prepared muffin liners.

7. Divide caramel evenly among muffins, dolloping about 1/2 tablespoon of caramel on top of the muffin batter in each cup.

8. Top caramel with remaining muffin batter.

9. Using a toothpick, swirl the batter in each muffin cup to distribute the caramel throughout each muffin. Swirl more for thinner, more evenly distributed caramel ribbons. Swirl less to achieve larger pockets of caramel.

10. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

11. Cool in the pans for about 5 minutes or until the muffins are beginning to set and are cool enough to handle. Remove the muffins to wire racks to cool completely.

BAKING OPTION #3 FOR MINI MUFFINS (We Don't Recommend Using Caramel Swirl for Minis):

5. Spoon all batter evenly into prepared mini muffin pans. (You will have about 48-60 mini muffins, depending on the size of your pans.)

6. Bake for about 12-16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

7. Cool in the pans for about 5 minutes or until the muffins are beginning to set and are cool enough to handle. Remove the muffins to wire racks to cool completely.

Notes

Make-Ahead Options: The dry ingredients and wet ingredients can be prepared earlier in the day or the night before, and kept in separate covered bowls (dry ingredients on the counter, wet ingredients in the fridge) until you are ready to combine everything together and bake. For best results, however, we recommend that you don’t prepare the caramel swirl until the last minute, as it tends to thicken considerably upon standing.

Freezing: These muffins freeze beautifully, so you may want to make a double batch! To freeze, wrap individually and store in freezer bags. They will thaw in about 45 minutes or, after removing foil liner, can be gently defrosted at 50% power in the microwave in about 50-60 seconds.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 servings Serving Size: 1 regular-sized muffin
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 180mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 2gSugar: 15gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information does not include optional caramel swirl, but does include suggested additional brown sugar. Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may additionally vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

Did You Make This Recipe?

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Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins with Caramel Swirl Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}
Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins with Caramel Swirl Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

81 thoughts on “Healthy Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins”

    • Hi, Brittany! The general rule of thumb is that muffins can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. To me, that seems like a pretty cautious estimate — I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten some much older than that which seemed fine! But for safety and best flavor, I’ll recommend you only keep them in there for three months. They’re so yummy, it shouldn’t be a problem to eat them all in that time, anyway! ~Amy

      Reply
  1. Pumpkin and chocolate chips in muffins.. one of my favorite Fall treats. My kiddo loves this combo too. Can’t wait to give your recipe a try. These look delicious.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much, Natalie! Like I say – we definitely call these pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins a “Kids’ Favorite” recipe for a reason – I hope your kiddo loves them as much as we do! And with all the great nutrition packed inside, they can be MOM’S favorite, too! Everybody wins! 😉 ~Shelley

      Reply
  2. Ooh I am loving this caramel swirl (and loving the fact that it is made from dates that little bit more!!) These are a huge hit with the kids!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Eileen! I’m so glad you like this recipe! And it IS great how healthy and great for making ahead these are — I can’t tell you how many days I’ve gotten home from school popped one of these into the microwave to get me through the rest of that evening’s activities! Mmmm … melt-y chocolate chips are a definite bonus! 😀 ~Amy

      Reply

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Published on
Updated on July 31, 2021
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