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Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

By May 20, 2012December 3rd, 2020Breakfast, Dairy Free, Desserts, Vegetarian

 Testimony of the Day

As “the skinny girl” my entire life it was a medical condition and the medications necessary for me to take for the rest of my life that packed on more than 50 lbs. in a very short amount of time at the age of 37 that led me places I had never been before. Although the medication was making me feel better, it was a different story when I looked in the mirror. I had never tried to be thin, i just naturally was, and it’s not like I wanted to weight 102 lbs on my 5’4″ frame, I always had a dream weight of 120. Something my doctor laughed at when I asked him how to keep some of my baby weight after I delivered my first baby, after all, being pregnant was the first time I actually got over 100#, something that had been a goal of mine since I was about 16. I know, poor thin girl … however, I was about to learn how body image affects so many aspects of a persons being, something I had never even considered. 20 days after starting my medication and I had already gained 27 lbs.

I was so shocked every time I looked in the mirror, I still expected to find my former self and seeing my friends visible reactions although they tried to be encouraging. I kept having to purchase larger and larger clothes and eventually peaked at plus 54 pounds. I had tried to “eat better”, you know, yogurt, fruit, vegetables, but in all honesty I am a bona fide, all out sweet tooth, always have been. Nothing seemed to help. My doctor and I decided to switch my medication to see if the side effects would alter. Hard to say if it worked, I didn’t change anything else, although eating my way across Australia on vacation did non add any weight. I took that as a good sign. Then I ventured back into the work force and was more mobile and managed to lose a bit of weight, about 10 lbs. But I still felt terrible, emotionally, physically, had the 3:00 “I’m so tired I could sleep the rest of the day” thing going on.

I had a couple of friends who started working with a nutritionist who were altering their lifestyles, but it sounded like an impossible plan, no sugar!! No gluten?? How could I live without dessert and bread, my life line? I happened to overhear a session my friend was having with this nutritionist and honestly, it sounded do-able. You could substitute healthy versions of sweeteners, not give

Chocolate Zucchini Muffinsthem up completely. Might work. There were ways to make/buy breads that I could eat, who knew? I decided to buy the book and check into it. What I learned changed my life. I decided to go “all in”.

I scheduled a consultation with Maria (said nutritionist) attended her Healthy Metabolism Class and attend her grocery store shopping excursion. I could do this, no, I will do this. My family was in shock. I don’t think they gave me a chance, no sweets, no way. But I was determined. I did not eat one thing that wasn’t on Maria’s approved/recommended list. It definitely didn’t happen over night, but little by little, week by week I was losing weight. My clothes were starting to hang, people were taking notice. My goal … 120 pounds! Ironic right? My goal when thin and chubby was always 120!  I honestly don’t know where I found the strength to do it, except by following Maria. Her constant encouragement and knowledge educated me in an area I didn’t even know I needed to learn, after all prior to medication I could eat whatever I wanted. I no longer had the 3:00 afternoon energy dip, and generally had a better outlook on life. I’m not saying it was completely easy, there were challenges … what to order if we went out to eat? I eventually did reach my goal and I owe it all to this book and it’s author, Maria Emmerich. Thank you Maria

  -Jennifer Norman


When you hear the word “Bone Health,” what comes to mind? Dairy, calcium, milk? Did you know that American’s have one of the highest calcium intakes in the entire world, yet we have the highest rate of hip fractures?

Bones are a lot more complicated than that. Our bones are constantly being broken down and built up (osteoclast and osteoblast). Unfortunately, the builder cells, osteoblasts, take longer to build bones than the destroyer cells, osteoclasts. So, if you are breaking down faster than you are replacing, then you are losing bone mass, which takes you down the detrimental path of osteoporosis. The best way to reclaim bone health is to avoid the bone robbers, skip theChocolate Zucchini Muffins marketing lies (such as eating Viactiv Calcium Chews), and eat foods that build bones.

The problems with the prescription drugs, such as Boniva and Fozomax, is that instead of letting our bone shed the old de-mineralized cells, it just keeps growing new bone over the top of old bones. This will show on a dexa scan that your bones are getting thicker, mistakenly have you believing that the pharmacological drug is working. The problem is that your bones are not any stronger, still brittle, just more brittle bones. These drugs also have a lot of detrimental side effects such as intestinal distress.

So instead of relying on prescription drugs, let’s eliminate the things that cause osteoclast (BONE ROBBERS) and add in the things that cause osteoblast (BONE BUILDERS)!


1. SUGAR: This is why “calcium fortified” orange juice is so ridiculous! 100% orange juice contains as much sugar as a Coke. An 8 ounce glass = 6 tsp! Yes, it is ‘natural’ sugar, but drinking only the juice from an orange, you lose the fiber to slow the blood sugar from increasing too much. Sugar causes inflammation. Diabetics have a very high fracture risk and often are diagnosed with osteoporosis.

NOTE: bones grow at the highest rate before age 19. So are you setting your kids up for healthy bones or osteoporosis? What did you send them off to school with? Cereal and Skim Milk?

2. PHYTATES: A diet high in phytic acid, which is found in the bran of whole grains, interferes with calcium absorption. This acid binds to a variety of minerals including calcium, to form insoluble salts, called phytates, which are wasted from the body. Since grains are a relatively new food, from an evolutionary perspective, it appears that we have not yet developed digestive tracts which can break down these phytates. So eating a big bowl of cereal with skim milk isn’t going to help our bones at all.

3. PHOSPHORIC ACID: (Soda/Dt. Soda): Sodas are addictive and burn out dopamine receptors. There are some natural supplements to help rebuild dopamine to help kick the bad habit without strong cravings.

4. CAFFEINE: Caffeine causes calcium to be excreted in the urine and feces. For every 150 mg of caffeine ingested, about the amount in one cup of coffee, 5 mg of calcium is lost. Caffeine also inhibits the amount of calcium that is absorbed through the intestinal tract and depletes the amount retained by the bones. Caffeine inhibits vitamin D receptors, which is essential for bone health.

5. SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE: Regular activity and muscle building increase bone mass and reduce bone loss. Studies show that weight-bearing exercise is just as important to your bone health as taking calcium.

6. ALCOHOL: Causes absorption and causes hormonal imbalances. A “beer belly” is really an “estrogen belly” because alcohol raises the unhealthy estrogen our fat cells make by 300% and decreases testosterone for up to 24 hours.

7. SMOKING: Cigarette smoke generates a large amount of free radicals, which are molecules that attack the body’s natural defenses. Free radicals cause a chain-reaction of damage throughout the body including cells, organs, and hormones involved in keeping bones healthy. Compared with nonsmokers, women who smoke often produce less estrogen and tend to experience menopause earlier, which leads to increased bone loss.

8. OVER-THE-COUNTER and PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS: Acid suppressing drugs like Prilosec, Nexium, or Prevacid inhibit stomach acid, resulting in insufficient mineral uptake.

9. CELIAC/CROHN’S/COLITUS/THYROID DISORDERS: Digestive disorders like Celiac and Crohn’s disease, irritable bowl syndrome, or colitis interfere with the assimilation of calcium and other important minerals that promote healthy bones. Hormonal disorders due to thyroidism and pituitary gland malfunction disturb the process of bone building and calcium regulation.


1. Vitamin D: Daily exposure to cool sunlight for 15 to 20 minutes for the skin to synthesize to vitamin D. The nutrient is also found in eggs, deep water fish (salmon, mackerel), oysters, cottage cheese, and mushrooms exposed to the sun. Vitamin D supplement should not be synthetic.

2. Vitamin K2: Vitamin K is essential for the proper formation and activation of the GLA proteins. The GLA protein osteocalcin, with the addition of vitamin K, allows for the binding of calcium to the bone matrix. Gla protein is a key inhibitor of soft tissue calcification that binds calcium, preventing it from depositing in the vessel walls.

3. Magnesium: The United States has some of the highest calcium intakes in the entire world, yet we have the highest rate of hip fractures! So why is this??? One reason is that it doesn’t supply adequate magnesium. Studies of our ancestors’ pre-agricultural diets indicate that magnesium was probably consumed at about a 1:1 ratio with calcium. But now, the Calcium-Magnesium ratio is 12:1 in dairy. Since calcium and magnesium compete for the same absorption mechanisms, the imbalanced intake associated with our modern diet may well lead to magnesium deficiency. One feature of magnesium deficiency is the inhibition of osteoblasts (the cells that build and maintain bones).

4. Calcium: BUT are you taking Tums in order to get your calcium??? The active ingredient in Tums is calcium carbonate, which is also found in many calcium supplements. Calcium carbonate is the least absorbable form of calcium. Many people who suffer from kidney stones have too much calcium in their urine, a condition known as hypercalciuria. This can occur when taking poorly absorbed calcium supplements. Click HERE to find a quality calcium and bone-building supplements.

5. Omega 3 (from FOOD sources only!)

To find the brand of supplements I recommend, click HERE. 

Some of my favorite magnesium and calcium filled recipes are:
1. KALE (I LOVE my Kale Chips): Green veggies often have twice as much calcium as dairy.
2. Almond milk (Cinnabon Coffee Cake): Almond milk has twice as much calcium as dairy milk.
3. Cheddar cheese (“Healthified” BBQ Chicken Pizza)
4. Sesame seeds (“Healthified” Sushi OR Salad Crisps)
5. Canned Salmon (“Healthified” salmon patties)
6. Pecans/Walnuts/Brazil Nuts (“Healthified” Pecan Sandies)
7. Cabbage (“Healthified” Enchiladas)
8. Broccoli/spinach (“Healthified” Italian Casserole)
9. Rhubarb (“Bread” Pudding)
10. Almonds and almond flour (Goldfish Crackers AND most of my recipes:)
11. Brewer’s yeast (my “Healthified” POPCORN)
12. Artichokes (Protein Noodle White Lasagna)
13. Shrimp (Coconut Shrimp: recipe in The Art of Eating Healthy: KIDS)
14. Sunflower Seeds (Protein Energy Bars: recipe in the Art of Eating Healthy: KIDS)
15. Peanuts (“Healthified” Nutter Butters)
16. Eggs (“Healthified” Protein Angel-food Cake)
17. Cottage Cheese (“Healthified” Pizza “Hit” Breadsticks)

These recipes can be found in my cookbooks.


Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
 Now that zucchinis are poking out of everyone’s garden, here is one idea… We didn’t even plant any this year and they are everywhere! The seeds must have survived the winter!

1 cup blanched almond flour OR peanut flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 eggs
1/3 cup Swerve (or Erytritol plus 1/2 tsp stevia glycerite)
1 TBS coconut oil or butter, melted
1 TBS unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup grated raw zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine almond flour, salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon and baking soda into medium-sized bowl. Beat eggs and sweeteners for about 2-3 minutes. Then add in butter and almond milk.

Grate the zucchini. Squeeze out the water of zucchini if it seems wet, then measure out 3/4 cup of grated zucchini. Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.

Stir the wet and dry ingredients together, only stirring enough to combine. Gently fold in the zucchini and nuts. Spray 6 muffin tin with coconut oil spray, then divide mixture evenly into cups. Bake muffins about 20 to 25 minutes, or until top is browned and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Yum! Makes 6 muffins.

OPTION: Make into donuts! For some reason, everything tastes better as a donut! Click HERE to find my donut pan.

Traditional Chocolate Zucchini Muffin = 217 calories, 10g fat, 2.7g protein, 29.7 carbs, 0.9 fiber
“Healthified” Zucchini Muffin = 254 calories, 20g fat, 9g protein, 10g carbs, 5g fiber

 Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Maria Emmerich

Maria is a wellness expert who has helped clients follow a Ketogenic lifestyle to heal and lose weight for over 20 years. She has helped thousands of clients get healthy, get off medications and heal their bodies; losing weight is just a bonus. She is the international best selling author of several books including "Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on the Ketogenic Diet.".


  • Anonymous says:

    Those look amazing….Do you have the recipe for the frosting?

  • Anonymous says:

    I would love to try these, but can’t stand the taste of any kind of nut, do you think this would turn out ok with out the nuts?

    • Do you mean the almond flour or the chopped nuts? You could definitely do it without the chopped nuts, but it wouldn’t work without the almond flour. 🙂

  • Tracie says:

    Going to try these!

  • Anonymous says:

    I’ll be making these tonight using yellow summer squash in place of zucchini. Can you guess what I have in abundance?! They look great!

  • Anonymous says:

    Where do you find swerve?

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for all your yummy looking recipes. I just bought 3 of your books. I want to start making the recipes. I have a son with nut allergies. How can I substitute for Almond flour?

    • Thanks for your support! Most nut allergies can still have coconut flour. So if that is true for your son, I would substitute the Almond flour for about 1/2 cup coconut flour and double the eggs to 4. 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you so much for your help. 🙂

  • "D" says:

    What is Stevia glycerite? Is it just liquid Stevia? I have a bottle of liquid NuNaturals Stevia. Would that work? Or is this something different?

    • Stevia Glycerite is a non-bitter form of stevia. Not sure if the NuNaturals is that form or not. I haven’t tried it, but it should substitute one for one. 🙂

  • Made these tonight, and they were fabulous! Mine were done after about 20 minutes, so I am not sure why there was the time difference. They turned out great! Thank you, Maria, for another wonderful recipe!

  • Anonymous says:

    COuld I substitute SPlenda instead of the Stevia? I have a bag lying around and I would like to use it up!

  • becca oberle says:

    My hubby loves these! They are one of his favorite desserts 😉 It’s a great way to use up our garden zuchinni.

  • Cheryl says:

    I made these yesterday and we love them. I use organic almond butter for topping. So good I could eat them all!
    More fiber less carbs and calories…what more can a girl ask for! Perfect!

  • France says:

    AWESOMENESS!!!!! even got the “yum” from my teen girls. It was so funny, I offered them each a small piece to see if they liked it before I packed this for their recess snack. One of them had a small bite and quickly proceeded to take the rest of the piece from me! That’s a really really good sign! I got inspired by your shortcakes, and cut the muffin in two, put whipped cream and strawberries in the middle! YUM!

  • Tammy says:

    Could I make these without the cocoa powder, would I need to add more almond flour? Thanks!

  • Jill says:

    I have just found you – Today – from the WB facebook page. I have a question for you – on your muffins and brownies do they freeze well. They would make great travel snack for us if I can make a dbl batch and freeze them and just pull them out and put them in the car to thaw?

  • Lydia says:

    great recipe! thank you

    are your carb counts Net Carbs (carbs – fiber) or total carbs?

  • Anonymous says:

    When I make zucchini pasta I usually have the core leftover could I use that for the muffins? I hate wasting them.

  • Pokeyann says:

    I’ve made these a few times in muffin form…everyone loves them! I just made them in mini donut form and they are awesome! I love that I can quadruple the batch and freeze them for easy snacks. Thanks for all your hardwork, I’m finally feeling better and on my way to full healing.

  • Linda says:

    I just bought zucchini to make this recipe! Maria, how do you measure your almond flour? Do you fluff it up and spoon it into a measuring cup or dipping the cup and leveling with a knife?

    I read another blog where people commented that they were having inconsistent results, and it turns out the recipe creator was measuring the almond flour by the dipping and leveling method, which seems to add a little more flour to the recipe.

    • I just scoop and shake. I am not that precise to be honest. It ususally isn’t a problem. There are only a couple recipes (like the sub bread) where it is an issue. 🙂

  • Diane Peake says:

    Can I make these with coconut flour?

  • Megan Napier says:

    I have these in the oven right now. I am going on a road trip this weekend and thought these would be perfect road snacks. Its hard to eat healthy out of town so I am trying to plan/pack special gluten free meals before I leave.

  • Is Swerve interchangeable with Xylitol/Just Like Sugar or are they different when baking?

  • Megan Napier says:

    Love this recipe! They freeze well. So its an easy pick up snack when I am craving something sweet. Your recipes never disappoint. I am going to make your lemon bars next.

  • Liz Re says:

    Can you make this recipe without chocolate with no changes in consistency? I love chocolate but hubby doesn’t.

    • cemmerich says:

      Hmm, there would be some bulk lost so the texture might be a little different. 🙂

  • Tracy says:

    I made this today. They are still cooling off, but mine don’t look like these at all.

  • Tracy says:

    However they taste very good. Mine are just a lot darker in color and the texture on top of the muffin is not as smooth as yours.

  • Lori says:

    I made these and thought they were okay – food I would like but probably wouldn’t go over with my family. Then my 6 yr-old twins ate them and said I was the best cook in the world (with a little bit of awe in their voices). Making them again today…..

  • Pokeyann says:

    I LOVE these!! I have a serious sweet tooth and these hit the spot so well. I quadruple or more if it’s zucchini season in our garden ;-), and then freeze the extra’s I love them as mini muffins or as mini donuts. But really just as long as they get in my mouth I love them, lol. I have your ebooks, but really appreciate that you put your recipes online as it’s easier for me to access them this way than on my “old” kindle. These are super kid friendly too, my four little ones love them too— I may have had to hide them so I get one too.

  • Lori says:

    Can you substitute the stevia glycerite. I have to order some but would like to make them now. I have Truvia. Will that work.

  • Sherry says:

    Just got my 5lb bag of almond flour from nuts.com and started with these. They are delish!!
    On deck, the sub sandwich bread. ……..thanks for the video.

  • Karen says:

    Hi Maria, These muffins are fabulous! I brought them along for a long weekend with my extended family and even the non-low carbers liked them! I made them again yesterday and thought about either adding protein powder or replacing some of the almond flour (equal amounts) with it. I didn’t because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out and I was looking forward to those delicious muffins. Another thought was to replace some of the cocoa powder with chocolate protein powder. Do you have any recommendatios for what might work best? Thanks so much for all of your amazing recipes and information!

  • Mici says:

    Made these tonight, put them in colorful cupcake liners and baked right under 20 mins. I was able to get more than 6 also, FYI. (Which was a nice surprise) I made a small amount of the cream cheese frosting for the tops once cooled. My family loved them. Perfect cupcakes and no one knew thy had zucchini in them! Tasted awesome

  • Anonymous says:

    I am a soda addict. I’ve tried to stop drinking soda hundreds of times and can not give it up. I see up under bone robbers, you mention that soda ” burns out dopamine receptors. There are some natural supplements to help rebuild dopamine to help kick the bad habit without strong cravings.” HELP. What are these natural supplements?

  • Valerie Pergolizzi says:

    AWESOME! Easy recipe, baked for 20 minutes exactly….and ate one warm! Will try as donuts as well!

  • Hélène says:

    if ur blood is acidic you crave the carbonation to help offset the acidity. but since the sparkling water isnt working, is it the caffeine u crave? or is it the nutrasweet? that can be as addictive as the caffeine. either of those you just need to stop ingesting it.
    BUT for any of it, tremendously UP ur veggies. LIKE A TON. the potassium in vegs will reduce cravings and really zap them completely in a few days. im talking 7-9c daily. raw is best, but cooked is fine, just dont boil them to death. steam, stir fry, roast. fruit is very low in potassium so its not “eat ur fruit and veggies”, it’s eat ur VEGGIES with maybe a piece of fruit a day if you’re trying to lose wgt/regain health. and stick to fibrous veggies, not starchy ones.
    im living proof eating alot alot alot of veggies works wonders! i esp try to eat cruciferous vegs. 🙂

  • Judy says:

    These are absolutely delicious!!!! I love your “Healthified” Chocolate Flax Muffin, but the Chocolate Zucchini have them beat. Although, I will still make both recipes. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  • Hallie says:

    I have tried tons of the sweets recipes from your site and they have served their purpose in place of the “real” things. I’m not very picky but my hubby & father are pretty particular. All of the almond flour recipes have always come out dry in the end (not a reflection on you, just the nature of low carb/gluten free recipes). BUT this recipe was the answer to all of my troubles! I doubled the recipe and cooked it in a cake pan (was feeling too lazy for cupcakes) then I made the cream cheese frosting to cover the top. The entire family LOVED it and my picky hubby even ate 2 pieces 🙂 I would put this chocolate cake against a regular chocolate cake recipe. The consistency is exactly what I have been missing. I have just been so excited about this cake that I had to share it with you. Thank you again for ALL you do. I appreciate your efforts every single day!

  • Jackie says:

    Maria, could you please tell me how much protein and fat are in the zucchini muffins. It’s not stated in the nutritional information.
    Thank you!

  • Jackie says:


    Could you please tell me how much protein and fat are in the zucchini muffins. It’s not stated in the nutritional information.
    Thank you!

  • Cheryl says:

    If I would use stevia how much would you recommend?

  • Laura says:

    These look amazing. One question though. At 12g carbs, how does one fit these in a 20g carb allowance? Would I just not have any vegetables that day? Im trying to learn all this stuff but that just doesn’t sound like I could fit these treats in anywhere on 20 total carbs per day.

    • cemmerich says:

      If trying to lose weight and/or heal, you might want to save these for when you are closer to your goals. 🙂

      • Laura says:

        So 20 total carbs is for when trying to lose? Then you can increase carb total? I’m trying to understand this carb thing

        • cemmerich says:

          Typically yes. But I normally stay around 30g or less for the health benefits (low inflammation, etc). So can go as high as 50g in maintenance and stay in ketosis. 🙂

  • Stacy says:

    This is my favorite recipe to date! I never thought eating this way was possible for a life time commitment. Maria you have made it possible with your healthified bakery. I seriously enjoy these as muffins with a cup of coffee with a splash of heavy whipping cream. I feel like I’m having a decadent chocolate dessert!

    Thank you Maria for all your time and creativity! I have lost 15 lbs since starting this lifestyle! It’s just a start!

  • Carol says:

    Could you please double-check your carb calculation for this recipe. In one of your book previews on Amazon (where I originally found this one), it states it is 3.5 net carbs. I just entered the ingredients in MyFitnessPal and came up with 3 net carbs–both of which are much better than the 8.5 net carbs as shown above now. Also, this is very similar to your bundt cake, and that states 3.5 effective carbs. I’ve made this recipe many times and LOVE it and would hate for others to pass it up because of the carb count as stated.

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      You are correct. I ran this through my new calculator and updated the macros above. 🙂

  • Pamela W says:

    OMG! finally got my donut pan in and used this recipe – they are fabulous. Thank you for all you do Maria & Craig!

  • Brenda Mc says:

    Maria, I made these today because my 2 1/2 yr old granddaughter will be with us for about 10 days. She doesn’t like anything green or veggie wise so I wanted to try to get something healthy for her. Had to sample when the mini muffins came out of the oven….. WOW! Know she will love these! Thanks!

  • Wendy says:

    Can you substitute almond milk for some other? All I have on hand is coconut.

  • Deb says:

    The recipe sounds great and I want to try it, BUT what I found interesting was the bone-density info. I am 16 years past early-onset menopause and have been eating lchf for 1.5 years. I’ve been in the osteopenia range since the late 1990s, up until a DEXA scan 3 years ago. However, my DEXA scan a few months ago showed me to be comfortably into the normal range for bone density! My doctor, not an lchf promoter but not trying to talk me out of it either, was very surprised that someone NOT into strength training or on bone-building meds had achieved this in that short a time, well into menopause. I was also diagnosed with T2D two years ago. The ADA diet they immediately put me on caused my weight and numbers to all go up, so I found lchf on my own and things are much better now. “The Art & Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living” and Dr. Bernstein’s diabetes book are both excellent resources for those trying to manage diabetes via diet and avoid medications and complications. I have enjoyed and learned from other blog posts you’ve made, thanks!

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