Is coffee cake not the quintessential treat to enjoy with a hot cuppa Joe in the morning? Now add protein powder and sweeten with dates, and you have healthy, perfect breakfast muffins that you can enjoy any day of the week.
After making endless breads and sweet treats throughout quarantine, I thought it was time I shift my focus somewhere a little healthier. Plus I’ve been eating my cookie creations for breakfast pretty consistently, so having a healthier alternative around to munch on when I wake up wasn’t the worst idea. These muffins are effortlessly delicious, all while helping you stay on your protein gain. I mean game.
The Protein Powder
I am a huge fan of protein powder. I didn’t used to be, because I figured I was getting enough protein in my meals, so I shouldn’t need any extra. I didn’t realize that some of the times I was mindlessly eating or craving food when I wasn’t really hungry, meant that I actually wasn’t absorbing enough protein. I use Nuzest brand protein powder now and I couldn’t speak more highly of it. The flavors are delicious and diverse, and are wonderful snuck into oatmeal’s, smoothies, shakes, pretty much everything I have tried it in. If you would like to give it a try as well, here is the link to their online shop. If you use my code chickpeandherb at check out, you can get 15% of your purchase.*
They have flavors like chocolate, vanilla matcha, strawberry, chai turmeric + maca, and coffee (which I just stir right into my coffee in the morning). If you’d like to check out a few other recipes I used my protein powder in, check out my list of smoothies and these delicious maple vanilla pecan cookies that hit the spot.
How to make coffee cake protein Breakfast Muffins:
How to Prepare the Crumb Topping
This is a fairly simple recipe. Also remember that if any part seems complicated, you can check out my ‘Substitutions’ section below for ways to even further simplify these tasty breakfast treats.
Cube vegan butter, and put in a small microwave safe bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave for about 15 seconds until it liquefies, and then mix in flour and sugar. You can also add in a little bit more protein powder if you would like some here. It’s a good idea to make the crumble topping first so it can firm up, and not be a hot gooey mess when you add it to the to of your muffins. Stir this mixture gently, making sure to leave the big clusters of flour and butter – those are everyone’s favorite.
How to Make the Coffee Cake Batter
As you let the crumb topping harden, you can prepare the batter. I used dates for a lower number on glycemic index, but see my list of substitutions below if you don’t have dates handy. Shred 1 cup of pitted dates in the food processor until they are chopped finely.
Add in 1/2 cup of your favorite protein powder, I used coffee coconut by Nuzest. Add flour, baking powder, salt, packed brown sugar, cinnamon, nondairy milk, water and blend until smooth. Remember that brown sugar is measured when it’s been packed, or pushed tightly into a measuring cup, whereas things like flour are never compressed to be measured. I used oat milk for these, but any plant based milk will work just fine!
This is a thicker mixture, so you only need to blend it for a minute or two because over-mixing can cause these to come out very dense.
Pop your batter into reusable silicone molds (paper wrappers for a muffins are so last decade hehe), press a tablespoon or so of the coffee crumb topping onto the tops of each batter filled cup, and bake at 350° for 14 minutes, but check after 10 as everyone’s oven is different.
Substitutions and Notes:
If you want to skip the vegan butter, sub in melted coconut oil for the crumb topping. It will give a slight coconut flavor, but if you’re a fan of coconut, it’s a great whole foods alternative.
Use almond flour to make these protein muffins gluten free.
I often swap out sugar and use monk fruit or stevia sweetener in its place. It works for a 1:1 replacement ratio, and is way lower on the glycemic index if you want to swap it out of the crumble topping. On that note, I used dates to sweeten my muffins, but agave, maple syrup, monk fruit, or even sugar will work in the muffin batter.
If you don’t have a reusable silicone muffin tin, just pour the batter into a glass or metal baking dish and make an old fashioned coffee cake and cut into bars to serve.
I love these coffee cake muffins with just a thin slab of cold vegan butter, but my husband got very into toasting them and drizzling with warm peanut butter.
They’re also amazing with homemade jam, vegan cream cheese, or fresh fruit.
These stayed good in an airtight container for about a week. They’ll stay perfect in the freezer as well for up to a month; just take one out and toast whenever you get the craving.