Muffin Top Challenge

April 19, 2011

I know what you’re thinking.


It has nothing to do with that.

Let me explain. My sister called me up a few weeks ago and told me she tried VitaTops Muffins. She liked them, but said they were pricey and asked me to create a homemade version that was just as tasty but easier on the wallet.  I was up to the challenge and agreed to do it.

A few days later, I happened to mention this idea to my friend Campbell. She was intrigued and offered to lend a hand. So this weekend, she stopped by to help me create these muffin tops. While Campbell figured out how to use my camera, I scrounged up the tastiest, healthiest ingredients I could think of to create muffin tops that would be comparable in taste and calorie count to VitaTops. You see, VitaTops are super low-cal with only 100 calories per muffin. And they boast all natural ingredients. So I grabbed an armful of nutrient packed, low cal and fiber rich ingredients and set to work whipping up the batter while Campbell snapped a few shots.


Ready, set, action!


I set to work creating two versions – Vanilla Pecan Cranberry and Chocolate Oatmeal Cherry. I had a good idea of the flavor combinations I wanted, but wasn’t sure exactly how to create the batter. With a bit of trial and error, I found a consistency that worked. Here’s what you’ll need to make these at home.

Ingredients: (makes about 6 muffin tops per batch)

Vanilla Pecan Cranberry:

1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

2 Tablespoons agave

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1/3 cup pecans

Chocolate Oatmeal Cherry

1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

3 Tablespoons agave

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg white

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup dried sweetened cherries


Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, coconut oil, agave, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Next, add the vanilla, water and egg white and mix well. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. If the batter is too thick add a splash of water to thin.


Spoon the batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave at least two inches in between spoonfuls.

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Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.


I was extremely pleased with the way these turned out.

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The shape was perfectly round, much like a cookie. And the inside was pillow-soft just like a muffin.


Loved the crunchy nuts and sweet fruit inside. They were tasty, but I had to make sure the calorie count was on the mark. After tallying up the ingredients, I was only slightly over the 100 calorie mark with 125 calories per top in the Vanilla Pecan Cranberry version and 115 calories per top in the Chocolate Oatmeal Cherry. Not bad at all.


For those of you, like me, who have a hard time getting out the door in the morning, these are a great grab-and-go breakfast. Perfect with a travel cup o’ joe!

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Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. Lemon Yogurt Muffins
  2. Coconut, Chocolate, Cherry Granola
  3. Peanut Butter Oat and Fruit Bars
  4. Strawberry and ginger muffins
  5. Pumpkin Muffins


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jen April 22, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I’ve never tried a vita top before, but your version looks so tasty! Thanks for the recipe :)

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

You’re most welcome! I hope you like it!

Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum April 21, 2011 at 6:52 am

Hahahahah love that first picture!! And it looks like you totally nailed it with this recipe – they look perfect!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 21, 2011 at 8:26 am

Thanks Lindsay! :)

Beth @ DiningAndDishing April 20, 2011 at 11:19 am

Such a good idea – I love VitaTops but have a bit of an issue with pre-packaged bakery! Your photographs are looking beautiful btw :) .

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Thank you, Beth! You’re so sweet!

Lauren at Keep It Sweet April 20, 2011 at 6:50 am

I love vitatops, great idea creating your own!!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Thanks, Lauren!

Dishes of Mrs. Fish April 19, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Great idea! I love Vita Tops but not the price!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 19, 2011 at 10:50 pm

That’s what I keep hearing!

Clarissa April 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I love muffin tops! Check out the seinfeld episode about muffin tops – its priceless.

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I know, I love that episode! I considered referencing that or 30 Rock’s muffin top song. Too funny! :)

the virgin gardener April 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm

i can’t wait to try these out! i’m sure they are even better than the vita-tops!

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table April 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Love, love this! I eat the VitaTops as a quick grab, but they are so over-priced. these are going to be added to the rotation ASAP. :)

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Great! Hope you like them! April 19, 2011 at 11:33 am

Great idea, I too challenged myself to make a similar muffin to the Vita Top muffins. I like how you just put it on parchment paper to make it look like a muffin top or soft breakfast cookie. :)

Campbell April 19, 2011 at 11:22 am

Your hand model needs a manicure!

Aparna E. April 19, 2011 at 11:02 am

What a cool idea!! Everyone knows the best part of muffins is the soft cake-like part on top!! These look super yummy :)

Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition April 19, 2011 at 10:51 am

Thank you for this! I try to only eat homemade items and I do often crave chocolate! They look delicious : )

gummysmom April 19, 2011 at 10:38 am

I love VitaTops and recently turned my sweet-tooth husband onto them as a low-cal option when he has a craving. They are expensive and really appreciate you sharing this recipe with us. I am going to play with the chocolate recipe a bit because I’m not a fan of cherries…I’m wondering if freeze dried strawberries may be an option.

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Definitely play around with the recipe to suit your taste! I think pretty much any dried fruit would work- raisins, strawberries, etc. Enjoy!

brandi April 19, 2011 at 9:15 am

fun idea! I’ve never tried the vitamuffins, but these do look just like them.

Homer April 19, 2011 at 8:26 am

These look SO good! The top is the BEST part of the muffin!

Jenny (The Housewife Project) April 19, 2011 at 8:25 am

This is a great idea….like a breakfast cookie, less mess than a full muffin (with kids, that’s an issue!). They’re on my ever expanding list of things to bake.

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 19, 2011 at 8:32 am

So true! Definitely much less mess than a full muffin.

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