Skinny Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

20180309_182917Although we are well into the second week of March, I want to rewind for a moment to last month. February is traditionally dedicated to heart health and love and in honor of that theme I created this delicious, sweet treat that is healthier for your heart. I initially served these to my family for Valentine’s Day but have recently made them again as a high protein treat for post workouts. No matter if you add protein powder or just want a healthier treat, these cupcakes are perfect for serving yourself and your loved ones long after the 14th of February.

20180309_182958To make these cupcakes “skinny”, I replaced the traditional use of butter with mashed banana. To sneak in some whole-grains, I swapped whole-wheat flour for the typically used all-purpose. Before baking, each cupcake received a natural pop of red color from a few raspberries placed on top of the batter. This recipe makeover results in a delicious 88 calorie cupcake with no saturated fat, 2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber. A sweet treat to share without any of the guilt!

20180309_182110Note: If you want to make these into protein cupcakes, add a scoop of your favorite chocolate or vanilla protein powder. This will result in each cupcake containing approximately 91 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 4 grams protein, and 2 grams fiber, depending on the brand of powder. This recipe will produce approximately 24 cupcakes.


Skinny Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes


  • 1 cup White Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup Cane Sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 Large Egg
  • ½ cup Mashed Banana (about 1 Medium)
  • ½ cup Warm Water
  • ¼ cup Milk
  • ¼ cup Light Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ¼ cups Raspberries (about 72)
  • 1 scoop Chocolate or Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 24 regular size muffin cups with paper liners. Spray each paper liner with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and protein powder (if using). In a different bowl, whisk together the egg, mashed banana, water, milk, oil, and vanilla. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until combined.
  3. Scoop batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup ¾ full. Drop 3 raspberries in the batter of each cup. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.






Skinny Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

dsc_0265As month two of 2013 comes to a close I am reminded of my new year’s resolution to shed a few pounds. This made me wonder how many others who made the same popular choice to lose weight this year actually stuck with their goal. One hurdle I always face is my craving for sweets, usually something involving chocolate. This post doesn’t involve chocolate but does involve a baked good that is commonly mistaken as being somewhat healthier than other options. The Oatmeal Raisin Cookie is often confused as being naturally the most nutritious cookie out there but this is far from true. In fact, some cookies can have as much as 400 calories and 13 grams of fat per cookie. There are many offerings out there that claim they are low-fat or low-calorie and don’t lose the original taste of the full fat/calorie Oatmeal Raisin Cookies but those are for lack of a better word… lies. They often replace butter and sugar with healthier add ins like applesauce or non-fat sour cream, which create nothing but a tough, flavorless, and visually unappealing cookie.

dsc_0251To make a truly healthier version that will retain its color, flavor, and texture, therefore making it actually disappear from the cookie jar rather than sit untouched, a little bit of fat needs to remain. By cutting the butter and browning what remains in the formula, the flavor intensifies as the nuttiness of the butter becomes more pronounced. Unfortunately by cutting fat you lose the texture that it brought to the oats. In a full fat cookie, the oats become tender flavorful bits that still retain a hint of chew. In a low-fat version, they become tough and leathery, barely cooking at all. To prevent this usual pitfall of a low-fat version, the formula toasts the oats in the butter that is browned. This way, in one step two problems are solved.

3Now for the final problem which revolves around sugar content. To reduce fat further, one would think to cut as much sugar as possible. However, when you cut out even a bit of the sugar, you lose not only sweetness but moisture. Moisture that is crucial to the texture of the cookie. To resolve the final problem, an unusual but simple step is done… take a portion of the raisins, chop them and boil in water until a smooth paste forms. By adding this raisin paste to the cookie dough, the cookies remain moist and chewy despite having a dramatic cut in sugar. In fact, the added raisin pulp created a caramel undertone that enhanced the raisin flavor to even better levels than a full fat cookie.

1When all the tricks of the trade have been applied to a traditional Oatmeal Raisin Cookie formula, the result is a dramatic difference in calories, fat, and saturated fat per cookie. A traditional cookie contains 370 calories, 13 grams of fat, with 9 grams being saturated fat. This Skinny cookie contains only 150 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, with 2 grams being saturated fat. Now you can eat an Oatmeal Raisin cookie without all the guilt.

dsc_0268Note: This formula makes about 20 cookies. The cooked and cooled cookies can be stored in a container at room temperature for about 3 days.

Skinny Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


  • 1 cup Raisins; ½ cup chopped fine, ½ cup left whole
  • ¾ Water
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 1 ¾ cups Old-Fashioned Oats
  • 1 ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon (I use a blend of sweet China, rich Vietnamese, Ceylon, & Korintje)
  • 1 cup Flour
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 ½ cups Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract


  1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the chopped raisins and water in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer until the water has evaporated and the raisins are plump, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oats and cook, stirring constantly, until just golden, about 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Let cool.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in all the raisins, the toasted oats, and the flour mixture until just combined.
  4. Roll 2 tbsp. of dough into 1 ½ inch round balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Gently press each dough ball down until it is about ½ in. thick. Bake cookies until the edges are a light golden brown and the centers are just set, about 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through the baking time. Cool 10 minutes on the baking sheets then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.