Chocolate Cherry Protein Muffins - Low Carb, High Flavour

Posted on 05/10/2012 by doc__holliday
I don't know about you guys but I used haaate cottage cheese. On it's own, its absolutely vile stuff, but, my parents would trick me into eating it by hiding it in lasagna and such. When I began body building, I realized I would have to learn to love cottage cheese---and quick if I wanted to see any results from all of my hard work.

Baked goods made with cottage cheese are legendary in the bodybuilding world because it contains casein, a protein that is considered to have the easiest absorption, and as such is best way to repair muscles after tearing the crap out of them. I have all sorts of cottage cheese recipes and even won a friendly Iron Chef competition (secret ingredient: cheese) with my own invention of rosemary and lemon rind cottage cheese canapes....

If there is a way to make muffins lower carb and higher in protein, you're damn right I'll figure out a way to do it. And you're damn right it will probably include cottage cheese somewhere in the recipe. I first discovered a variation on this recipe when I was doing the bodybuilding thing and when I made them, I was horrified by how ugly they were: much like most fitness-food, they bore little resemblance to the fluffy muffins we all love. They were flat. They tasted ...well, like fitness-food. They were a TRAVESTY, I tell you. A mockery of all that is good and wonderous about the glorious morsel that is a muffin. They were an embarrassment to the entire world of baked goods.

So, the first thing I did was develop my own flavours and improve upon the fluff. Because the base recipe is so versatile, EVERYTHING goes: over time, I've made peanut butter banana muffins (excellent source of good fats for a build), blueberry-lemon-zest, cranberry-orange... but my absolute favourite flavour, hands-down is chocolate cherry. Every time I eat one of these, I marvel at how something that tastes so good could actually BE good for me. Since I don't sweeten my batter, I recommend using dried fruit if you add fruit as fresh fruit doesn't make the muffins sweet enough (for my liking, anyway). Dried cherries can be a bit 'spensive, but they are oh-so-worth it.


1 1/2 cups rolled oats, blended into flour.
3 scoops chocolate protein powder (change to vanilla if you're making a 'white batter')
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fat-free cottage cheese.
9 egg whites or 3 eggs + 6 egg whites if you're building and need the extra fats.

to make it 'chocolate cherry' flavoured:
3 tbsp good quality dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup dried cherries.

Blend the cottage cheese and egg whites until smooth.


Mix up the dry ingredients:


Combine the two into one glorious mess of batter!


Place into muffin tray. Last Supper Jesus Spoon Caddy is all like "yo, don't forget to grease that tray!"


Baked at 350F for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.


Per Muffin (makes 12):
Calories: 102*
Fat: 1.1
Carbs: 9.5
Fibre: 1
Protein: 14g

*not including cocoa and cherries.

These muffins are FANTASTIC to pack as a snack when you're on the go; so much better than a protein bar loaded with sugar (and generally leaving you starving after), or paired with a nice cup of coffee when you're craving a pastry. I take two of them for an excellent lunch while doing shows on a busy day. They seriously kick major butt. But just remember to keep them refrigerated.... since they are loaded with protein they will go bad after a few days out on the counter... trust me, I learned THAT one the hard way. Ha.

Oh, and the best part? Just cause they're "bodybuilder food" doesn't mean you'll suddenly bulk up from eating them. In fact, these suckers can help svelte you down during a lean-out.

So eat up! ;)
wildmagelet 11th-May-2012 03:33 am (UTC)
Cottage cheese in muffins is an awesome idea. I can't drink milk, but can handle soft cheese in moderation sometimes, so I might try making some non-body building savoury muffins using cottage cheese instead. Thanks for the inspiration! :)
doc__holliday 11th-May-2012 12:22 pm (UTC)
I'm also lactose intolerant and I'm completely fine when baking with cottage cheese and Greek yoghurt!
charissa 11th-May-2012 03:51 am (UTC)
Cool, thanks for the recipe! I've been trying to find high protein baked items that aren't high calorie (or they be low calorie and be low protein, but the recipe would claim high protein).

doc__holliday 11th-May-2012 12:22 pm (UTC)
Ya, it's super hard to find high protein, low calorie foods that, well.. resemble the foods we all love in moderation... I'm working on developing a low-calorie/carb chiffon cake right now... it's been up n' down, but I'll crack that one! :p
seapandar 11th-May-2012 06:14 am (UTC)
May be a silly question, but the oats blended into flour- does that mean literally blend the oats into *a* flour, like with a blender/mixer/whatever?
doc__holliday 11th-May-2012 12:14 pm (UTC)
You can also leave the oats whole, and fold them into the wet ingredients for this one! (which I did for this round)

Edited at 2012-05-11 12:18 pm (UTC)
seapandar 16th-May-2012 10:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :)
speaktothevoid 11th-May-2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was kind of wondering why you'd blend oats into flour yourself, rather than just getting oat flour at the health store...
doc__holliday 12th-May-2012 12:03 am (UTC)
Lol..cuz I never have oat flour on-hand, but always have oats..?
kamaliitaru 12th-May-2012 04:28 am (UTC)
This, and where I live, oats are cheaper by far than oat flour.
gratiela 11th-May-2012 06:18 am (UTC)
oh, the horror of cottage cheese!! Yeah, it's the main ingredient for the after-illness diet around here, so I never liked it either:/
BUT THIS RECIPE, YUMMY!! Thanks for sharing, I think I wanna try it out!<3

edit: Trying to write down the ingredients,I noticed you didn't mention the quantity of flour. please help?
And a question: if I make this a cake, do you have any clue how large the cake pan should be? (I don't have a muffin tray:()

Edited at 2012-05-11 06:25 am (UTC)
doc__holliday 11th-May-2012 12:14 pm (UTC)
1 1/2 cups of raw oats. You can even leave them whole (I did for this batch!)
gratiela *cleans eye-glasses*13th-May-2012 08:47 am (UTC)
OH, but of course!!! Thank you!
kamaliitaru 12th-May-2012 04:31 am (UTC)
I haven't made these before, but usually if it makes 12 normal size muffins, it fits in about an 8" baking pan. I always lower the oven temp by 25 degrees and bake for much longer...sometimes double the time, depending on the recipe. Check every 5-10 minutes so you don't burn them.
gratiela 13th-May-2012 08:48 am (UTC)
Thank you! <3
ophey 11th-May-2012 06:55 am (UTC)
Recently started using protein powder so it's good to see some recipes out there to mix things up, literally :)
doc__holliday 11th-May-2012 12:18 pm (UTC)
Protein powder is a great way to get your protein in if you have a low-ish protein diet! :)
recipehub Protein puddings11th-May-2012 08:15 am (UTC)
I love this recipe. The guys in the office (myself included) are all eating dry chicken and lettuce like its going out of fashion. This is a great way to boost protein and get a chocolate fix. Right back to the sit-ups!
doc__holliday Re: Protein puddings11th-May-2012 12:15 pm (UTC)
Ya, screw that. I knew when I was bodybuilding I could never give up my baked, I've learned to work around it without sacrificing my abs :p
doc__holliday 12th-May-2012 03:04 am (UTC)
world_of_tights 11th-May-2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
These look great - where the heck is the 'add to memories' button on the page :/
doc__holliday 12th-May-2012 03:04 am (UTC)
I don't know! I failed first year internetses!
world_of_tights 12th-May-2012 04:25 pm (UTC)
Nevermind, I worked it out!

I have just been to get cottage cheese and dried cherries so I can make these, but hit a bit of a stumbling block on the cherries - I couldn't find any without added sugar. So I have bought chopped prunes. We shall see how it turns out...
doc__holliday 13th-May-2012 02:13 am (UTC)
You can also use the sour cherries that come in a glass jar.. I LOVE using them, but, haven't gotten them in a long time... plus, they're cheaper than dried cherries for some bizarre reason...
leeshers 11th-May-2012 05:30 pm (UTC)
Would there be any sub for the protein powder?
doc__holliday 12th-May-2012 03:00 am (UTC)
...just don't include it?
gratiela totally off-topic, but..13th-May-2012 08:44 am (UTC)
May I use it too? With credits, of course!
doc__holliday Re: totally off-topic, but..14th-May-2012 08:22 am (UTC)
It's actually a promo shot of one of my acts for work, so I would appreciate if you didn't use it. But, if you want to see the original photo, here it is. You can also buy a t-shirt ;)

monkey_chakra 11th-May-2012 08:25 pm (UTC)
Hey you're in Toronto, so I have some questions for you:

1. What kind of protein powder do you use?
2. Where do you get it?
3. How much is it?
4. Does Bulk Barn sell any decent protein powder?

Thanks in advance!
doc__holliday 12th-May-2012 03:02 am (UTC)
1. I change it up frequently for regular consumption, but for baking I stick with IsoFlex. It's great stuff! You can get it at the Natural shop on Queen st. West.. near McCaul.. Your Good Health? or something? It's about $40 for a tub. Oh, and the 'Chocolate Peanut Butter' flavour is INSANE, fyi.. And.. I've never been to a Bulk Barn.. I lived in Kensington for like, 6 years and currently live on Queen West... so I've always done my bulk shopping in K-Mark!
monkey_chakra 16th-May-2012 02:12 pm (UTC)
I love Chocolate Peanut butter! Does it taste good to mix it up as a shake on its own? I'm trying to watch carbs, so how low-carb diet-friendly is it?

Thanks so much for the help!
popdatpussy 11th-May-2012 09:56 pm (UTC)
Nice :)
doc__holliday 12th-May-2012 03:03 am (UTC)
So's yer face! er.. Kurt Cobain's face!
popdatpussy 12th-May-2012 09:51 am (UTC)
Yes it is nice actually. xD
doc__holliday Re: Cottage Cheese12th-May-2012 03:03 am (UTC)
Oooh. I've always been afraid of baking croissants.. have been trying to talk the Manses into buying me a standing mixer so I can try making them... he likes cottage cheese, so, maybe I can convince him...
kmazzy 14th-May-2012 07:27 am (UTC)
perennial question: what do you do with egg yolks? :)

(can't wait to try this but only have vanilla powder right now, waiting for chocolate to be on sale.)
doc__holliday 14th-May-2012 08:24 am (UTC)
I generally don't eat whole eggs, so I buy the cartons of organic egg whites and measure out a full cup. I eat a LOT of eggs so it makes sense for me to just go straight for the whites. I have a carton of whole eggs in the fridge from a cake I baked like, two weeks ago...
kmazzy 14th-May-2012 08:40 am (UTC)
for some reason egg whites on their own creep me out. but then i don't think they're half as popular in uk as us/canada.

it is so nice to find a recipe without some weird sweetener in too.
doc__holliday 15th-May-2012 02:07 am (UTC)
I can't handle weird sweetners. The closest I get is xylitol but I ONLY eat it when I'm leaning out. Mostly I stick with date sugar, dried fruit, honey, or reduce my raw sugars by 1/3.
kmazzy 15th-May-2012 10:25 am (UTC)
i used applesauce in the last protein bars i made. but they were cocoa flavour and chocolate and apple was a weird combination i have to say...
doc__holliday 16th-May-2012 03:49 am (UTC)
weird! That would be strange...I use applesauce for a fat/liquid replacement, but, when it comes to chocolate I don't muck around: yoghurt, banana or zucchini are my only acceptable substitutes :p
kmazzy 21st-May-2012 07:29 am (UTC)
oh dear. i doctored your recipe and made chocobanana muffins (cherries here seem to be 50% sugar, 50% cherry - cranberries are even worse) and they were SO GOOD that i immediately ate half the batch! ooops. luckily i only made half your recipe but made cupcake sized muffins so it made 16 of them.

they were super tasty but kind of wet as i made them in silicone cases. they didn't look pretty but they tasted awesome. i am converted to the powers of cottage cheese! thank you so much for the recipe.
leostrog hydrocolloids for low-carb16th-May-2012 06:05 am (UTC)
I highly reccomend to try for decreasing of carb in recipies a Conjak gum (galactomannan),Guar gum. It's a really wonderful and very healthy additions (binder) for baking. Conjak gum powder has been used for centuries in traditional Japanese cuisine.
monkey_chakra 29th-May-2012 11:00 am (UTC)

I made these muffins yesterday and they're FANTASTIC! The only thing I changed was that I beat the egg whites and the cottage cheese with an electric mixer which whipped some air into the mix making them really fluffy with nice round tops. They're quite tasty. Thank you so much for the recipe! =D

Edited at 2012-05-29 11:02 am (UTC)
FitStrongSexy OMG.20th-Oct-2012 03:21 am (UTC)
I'm absolutely IN LOVE with these. Good job with thinking of the cherry-chocolate combo! It's amazing! :D
rachelpage 24th-Apr-2015 04:44 am (UTC)
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