Coffee Chocolate Chip Muffins for a #Xylitol Sweetener Review

coffee chocolate chip muffins 4
Hi, I’m Nancy, I’m a sugar-holic and I’m well on my way towards type II diabetes.

It sounds like I’m being my usual sarcastic self but there’s a sad ring of truth to the above noted statement. My paternal grandmother almost went into a diabetic coma a few years ago and my dad has been dealing with type II diabetes for the past decade. Given the amount of sugar I eat on the regular and the fact that no matter how often I say I’m going to start exercising, I never do, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that I’ll be a type II diabetic someday.

Soooo…I tell myself everyday that I’m going to cut back on my sugar intake. I’ve started looking into and using different types of sugars and sweeteners. I always scale back the amounts in my baked goods. I’ve used coconut sugar (love) and Zulka Morena sugar (double love). I’m not a scientist and I still have lots of research to do, so I won’t pretend I know what I’m talking about by giving you the blow by blow on the benefits of these different sweeteners.

I follow my sweet friend Brandi’s awesome blog, The Healthy Flavour. This girl is everything I aspire to be. She’s a loving mom and wife who, both out of necessity and choice, lives an admirable healthy life style. She cooks mostly vegetarian foods and all of her recipes are to die for. She made these incredible chocolate espresso almond cookies that I’ve been meaning to try and she used Xylitol in them. I commented on her post and Xylitol Canada reached out to me, asking if I wanted to sample the sweetener myself.
xylitol sweetener
They kindly sent me a care package, with a bag of sweetener, mints and chewing gum. So what have I learned?

There’s a bit of controversy on the interwebs about this product. Pros include the fact that it’s made from plant fibres – according to Xylitol Canada, the vast majority of Xylitol on the market is imported from China, made from corn, or both (not good). Instead, Xylitol Canada produces its Xylitol entirely from North American grown hardwood trees which is definitely admirable. Xyolitol is known for being a natural insulin stabilizer since it’s slowly absorbed by the body and doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar. It’s also tooth friendly since it doesn’t feed cavity-causing mouth bacteria (it also won’t feed yeast so you can’t use Xylitol to bake bread).

Some cons: don’t eat too much of it since it can cause stomach upset. Xylitol Canada’s website warns that “excessive use might cause a mild laxative effect which resolves as the body’s enzymatic activity adjusts” so good for them for acknowledging that. Xylitol is fatal to dogs so I’ve got to keep this stuff far away from my little Abby, who will eat anything.

I tested it on my finger and it’s definitely not as sweet as regular sugar. It also had a cooling effect on the tongue and no weird aftertaste like other sweeteners. I used it in these coffee muffins and it did a great job.

If you look closely, you'll see that the crystals are bigger than granulated sugar.

If you look closely, you’ll see that the crystals are bigger than granulated sugar.


I’m grateful for the sample Xylitol Canada sent me and the opportunity to learn and judge for myself. I’m not going to tell you, my dear reader, whether you should use this or not. I think the jury’s still out but it’s good to know there are sugar alternatives that are made from natural sources and are gluten-free and GMO-free like Xylitol.

There’s only half a cup of sugar in this recipe, which made 18 muffins. That’s a pretty good sugar to muffin ratio in my opinion!

Coffee Chocolate Chip Muffins (adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook’s Big Beautiful Muffins)

1 1/2 cups minus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 cup Xylitol sweetener
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 packets of Starbucks VIA coffee (or 3 tbsp instant espresso)
1 1/2 cups sour cream (or yogurt) *Note: I only had 1 1/4 cup sour cream and supplemented the rest with buttermilk. The muffins turned out fine*
2 large eggs
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ground flax and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, buttermilk, eggs, oil and instant coffee. Gently fold the liquid mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined. It’s going to be a thick batter so make sure you scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl in order to fully mix the batter. Add your chocolate chips.
coffee chocolate chip muffins 1
Use a large ice cream scoop or spoon to divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake until golden and a cake tester comes out with just a few crumbs, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
coffee chocolate chip muffins 2
Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then move them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
coffee chocolate chip muffins 3
These were perfectly serviceable, tasty, everyday kind of muffins. Not the most glowing of descriptions but you know what I mean – they’re good to eat every morning with your cup of coffee or tea. Not too sweet, with a full, lush coffee flavour. I found that they were best in the first two days after baking. Left any longer at room temperature and they dried out considerably. If you’re not going to eat them all within the first few days, I’d recommend freezing them.
coffee chocolate chip muffins 5
Disclosure: I received the above noted products from Xylitol Canada to review. All opinions are my own.

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23 thoughts on “Coffee Chocolate Chip Muffins for a #Xylitol Sweetener Review

  1. Aww girl I could just hug you through the screen, you are just the sweetest!!! Thank you so much for your kind words, they touched me and made my day. Sniff, sniff 😉 I know how hard it is, trust me, I was the same way before my hubby and I went vegan. We HAD to though, because his health was deteriorating because of debilitating gout….all stemmed from poor food choices. Now, we are healthier and happier. But that’s why I started my blog, to prove food and sweets can still be delicious…it became such a passion of mine. I have a major sweet tooth too, trust me. None, not one, of my friends are vegan and they all request my desserts, so you can still have your cake and eat it too! Haha. By the way, these muffins look and sound wonderful….you had me at chocolate chips and coffee! Thanks again sweetheart. xoxo

    • I only speak the truth – you’re such an inspiration to me, Brandi! I love visiting your site and seeing the delicious and healthy food you make. I always print out your recipes because I want to overhaul my diet. One of these days, I swear, I’m going to start making your stuff! I just keep falling into the same old routine with the same old food. It’s tough to make a change without an catalyst, like your husband’s gout, although I fully know that should not be an excuse. I’m glad to hear that you and your family are healthy and happy – you deserve it!

  2. I think it’s great that you’re trying out these different sugar substitutes in an effort to protect your health. I was going to chime in to tell you keep it away from dogs, but you already noted it, whew.

    These look like the perfect hangover breakfast. As such, I think I’m going to make a batch of them for the morning after the annual Pub Crawl in my town in a few weeks 🙂

    • Ahhhh, there’s nothing like hangover breakfasts! I’m such a cheap drunk and I HATE feeling sick so I usually have the will power to stop myself before I get too blitzed. An annual pub crawl sounds like so much fun! Have a good time, Lori 😉

  3. Oooh yummmm. I love a good chocolate chip muffin and adding coffee sounds fantastic! You are so on top of your stuff. Just to clarify–when you said the recipe only has 1/2 c. of sugar in the whole batch, did you mean xylitol? I think Brandi said she used a combination of sugar AND xylitol, but can you use just xylitol on its own?

    LOVE these. And you. Don’t get diabetes!!

    • Hey Erika-you are right…I used both xylitol and coconut sugar… 🙂 I didn’t want to use it all by itself. You are only supposed to have small doses of it per day so I didn’t want to chance it…most recipes I’ve seen with it use part xylitol or part another sweetener, depending on how much sweetener is needed for the whole recipe. For this one, she only needed 1/2 cup sweetener, so that is not over the top. Any more than that might have somebody running to the restroom, haha!

      • I’m so glad Brandi responded to your question, Erika – she really knows her stuff! Yup, I didn’t sweat the Xylitol in these because I only used 1/2 cup. Any more and I probably would’ve done the same as Brandi by using part Xylitol and part regular sugar. I should probably add in my post that you can use Xylitol as a straight 1:1 substitute but reiterate again that you shouldn’t use too much in one sitting. Getting the runs isn’t what you want from your desserts!

  4. I have yet to experiment with other sweeteners (except for liquid sweeteners like agave and maple syrup, which I love) because I associate them with an asparatame-y taste that I don’t like, but nowadays sweeteners seem to have improved so much and I should give them another try! I love how many good things are in these muffins, especially coffee, which is always a good thing in my books!

    • You know, I’m the exact same way as you, Natalie. I rarely ever use artificial sweeteners because I hate that aftertaste. I’d much rather use the real stuff or other natural sugars, like maple sugar, honey, coconut sugar, etc. I figured I’d give Xylitol a try since they were offering it to me. It didn’t have any aftertaste but all the warnings about it make me hesitant in using too much of it.

  5. I’m so glad you posted this! I’ve heard of xylitol from some of my healthier friends–especially because it’s all natural and better for glucose levels, but admittedly, I’m a whus when it comes to artificial sweeteners. I hate the fake taste and the punch-you-in-the-face sweetness of the brands that have been around forever. But all natural and non-GMO? I would certainly give it a try at least! Plus these muffins sound delicious. Also, reading this makes me realize that I, too, am doomed for type II someday based on diet and (lack of consistent) exercise. sigh.

    • Sigh is right! I’ve been saying for the past seven months that I’m going to start going to the gym (and by gym, there’s one in my apartment building for which we pay monthly maintenance fees. It’s downstairs and I don’t freaking go! How lazy am I?!). I feel the same way as you re: artificial sweeteners. That’s why I never use stuff like Splenda – I hate that taste & aftertaste! I’ve actually never heard of xylitol until I read Brandi’s blog post. For me, I’ll probably continue using regular ol’ sugar. It’s good that there are alternatives for those who need it and want it.

  6. Good for you for trying out other sweeteners. Personally, I can’t do it. They leave that diet soda fake aftertaste in my mouth and I just can’t get past in. I’d rather go low real sugar or do maple syrup or honey. I have to say though, even with a sugar substitute your muffins turned out beautiful.

    • Thanks, Susan! I have to say though, that I’ve never heard of Xylitol until I read Brandi’s post and if they didn’t send me the sample, I wouldn’t have bought it myself. I’m with you on the natural stuff – I’d rather use real sugar but less of it. But like I said above, it’s good that there are so many alternatives now for people who need and/or want it!

  7. Nancy!
    I love this post! dude, I feel the same way about my sugar intake. . when I bake (I feel like I bake in waves so when I do, I bake a lot), I try to then balance the aftermath with healthy foods and a lot of salad! But looking for alternatives is a great idea. . I also follow Brandi’s blog. . I love her and her blog too and always feel a little guilty when I read her recipes and then mine and see all the sugar.
    Anyway, I love this post, Nancy! love that you didn’t push anything and were very honest. . and regarding your grandmother and father, thanks for sharing that. I’m glad you are looking at ways to reduce your sugar intake. . take care of yourself my friend! 🙂 and I have to ask about the ground flax seed – how is that in baking? and what does that add? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my own diet and some things I might need to start changing soon. .

    • I love flax, Alice – it’s high in vitamins and minerals, it’s got omega 3 fatty acids, fibre, and its low in carbohydrates. You can add it to anything really – baked goods (although usually I throw it into things where I won’t really notice a change in texture, it can make some things a bit grainy), smoothies, cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, whatevs. You can get pre-ground flax anywhere or you can buy it whole and grind it yourself. There are SO many things I need to change in my diet. It totally doesn’t help that I’m always baking and eating it all myself!

  8. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll end up with diabetes. It’s not dominant in my family history, but I have the biggest sweet tooth. Fake sugars scare me, especially after seeing them fizz in drinks before. Not sure how I feel about Xylitol, but thanks for the quick education! And the muffins 😀

  9. I’m very curious to try Xylitol. Thanks to this educational post, I know that Xylitol Canada is the good stuff to try and not what they import from China, which is made from corn. See, I learned something new today 🙂

    I’m very proud of you for trying different sweeteners in order to protect your health and body. I have a similar concern about becoming diabetic in the future, since diabetes runs in part of my family and it is just so incredibly difficult to stop eating sweets. I try to eat them in moderation, but if this coffee chocolate chip muffin presented itself in front of me, I would annihilate it and then go for seconds, thirds, and so on. Thank goodness, they’re made with xylitol sweetener though!

  10. Hi. I’m Jennie, and I have a sugar addiction, too. Let’s start a club. I could benefit from cutting back a bit. These muffins sound perfect. I love that they’re an edible pick-me-up.

  11. ooooo yum!! drop one round tomorrow morning for breaky? 😛

    just found your blog and just loving it!!
    every recipe is making me drool 😛

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