Easy Wartime Chocolate Chip Muffins are the perfect intersection between breakfast and dessert! Adapted from a 1943 recipe, these muffins have all the characteristic less-sugar-sweetness of wartime recipes paired with loads of mini chocolate chips to satisfy your chocolate cravings. You can even pair them with a side of scrambled eggs for some added protein, which is how I like to eat my morning muffins.
My kids get up super early to catch the bus. Like 5:30 am. Our family tradition for birthdays is to make German Pancakes with bacon and strawberries. But if a birthday falls on a school day during the week, that complicates things. Since chocolate chip anything is popular with my kiddos, I promised for this particular mid-week birthday that I’d make some quick and easy chocolate chip muffins for the road.
I turned to my trusty 1943 Health-for-Victory cookbook to see if there was a good muffin recipe to try, and there was! The recipe was for “Plain Muffins”. Not very exciting, but with a few tweaks I was very easily able to turn this wartime recipe into a just what my kids were looking for – delicious, chocolate-filled breakfast treats.
If you want to start using less fat and sugar in your baking, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. You don’t even need to go in for fancy modern recipes using hard to find, expensive ingredients. These recipes already exist and our grandmothers used these recipes out of necessity during WWII.
Because of rationing, many cookbooks and recipes were published using less white sugar or with sugar substitutions like honey, maple syrup, or molasses. Fat rationing also made for recipes using less fats or fat substitutes like margarine or shortening instead of butter.
The great things is that even with these restrictions, baked goods from this time period still taste great. And that’s why I love this muffin recipe. It has less fat, a lot less sugar than standard modern recipes, and my kids love them. Plus, you can always add chocolate for the chocolate lovers. So, that makes it a winner in my book!
We don’t necessarily need to use shortening or margarine if we don’t want to. There are healthier versions of both you can find online and at health food stores like Spectrum brand shortening, which is what I like to use when I can. Most modern muffin recipes use oil, so I substituted canola oil for the melted shortening it calls for in the original recipe.
Our taste buds are tuned to more sweetness, so I added an extra tablespoon of sugar. And because chocolate is involved, I added some vanilla. The type of chocolate you use is really your preference. For maximum chocolate distribution, I like using mini chocolate chips.
Sifting is a big hallmark of wartime-era baking. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s important not to skip this important step if a recipe calls for it. America’s Test Kitchen recorded a short video explaining the importance about sifting which you can find HERE.
This original muffin recipe says to sift the flour, measure, then sift again which drastically changes the volume and texture. This will definitely affect the end result. If you don’t have a dedicated sifter, my most used tool for making vintage recipes is actually a fine-mesh sieve like this one. I like having different sizes on hand for different quantities I may be working with, but I use the medium size the most to do all my sifting. It might feel like a burden at first, but once you get used to it, sifting becomes a quick task that doesn’t hinder your baking.
These Quick and Easy Chocolate Chip Muffins were a success! They were the perfect birthday send off for my daughter, and I was even able to tuck a couple into my little guy’s lunch box since he opted for a smoothie this morning instead. I hope you’ll give these a try. I think you’ll really like them!