One of the beautiful things about living in the area that we do is that the land is so arable. We get amazing berries at the beginning of the summer and by the end we get gobs and gobs of zucchini. Family and friends start offloading their crop this time of year and in the past it would get overwhelming. But over time I’ve collected some great recipes and my kids cannot even tell what veggie is hiding in their food. So, win/win all around!
Since the kids went back to school this week, we’ve been trying to make sure that we are being as efficient as possible in the mornings. Especially with the varying start times of all the schools our children go to. I love having something the kids can grab-and-go as mornings just come way too early some days. Muffins are a great, portable option, but when I buy them from the store, I know I can make a healthier version for less at home. So when I’m able (and trust me it’s not often enough) I like making a few batches of chocolate zucchini muffins.
This muffin recipe I use is so good and I’ve used it for many years, however, I’ve adapted it to meet the taste and demands of my family. Made with whole wheat flour, my family cannot even tell the difference, probably because I add so much chocolate to it. Sweetened with honey and unsweetened applesauce draws a nice flavor and moistness that is unparalleled to any chocolate muffins at the store. Add the fact that there's a hidden vegetable in the thing and it makes a mom like me rejoice.
The original recipe I found here is chock-full of good info on baking with zucchini. And I’ve used this recipe so much that my printed paper of it resembles that of an ancient artifact, (helped by the fact that I finally started adding plastic protectors to all our family favorite recipes.)
The secret to hiding all that nutritional zucchini goodness...
The main thing I modified from this recipe is in how I prep the zucchini (we have a few kids here that are not ok with the texture of larger chunks) To make life easier I got myself a good, big food processor. It helps tremendously in shredding and chopping vegetables, which to me is so cumbersome. It also shreds/chops so sneakily small that no one can tell it's even in there. It is not required at all and for many years I just did without and it was fine. The other thing I do is add in more chocolate flavor by using unsweetened chocolate almond milk, which I guess makes them Triple Chocolate Zucchini Muffins. Yay!!!
In the beginning too, because my family had a hatred for all things “whole wheat” I did half whole wheat and half white wheat flour. Eventually I did switch over to completely whole wheat pastry flour and they were none the wiser. Once I get all my muffins made, I almost always have batter left over and not enough tins to fill it, that's when I’ll bring out my silicone Suction-Go-Bowls. The great thing is I can bake with these up to 420 degrees Fahrenheit, well within range for sweet breads. My oh my, these little breads don’t last long in my house but if for some reason they do in yours, they are completely freezer friendly in your favorite freezer safe bags or containers.
So, go harass your family today to give you all their available zucchini, they’ll be so relieved!
Here is the recipe with my modifications. You can find the original amazing recipe here
*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners (typically I double this recipe, depending on how many zucchini I have available and always have extra batter that I bake in our Suction-Go-Bowl) and generously spray with nonstick spray.
*Squeeze 1 cup shredded zucchini of excess water with either a paper towel or kitchen cloth.
*Whisk together 1 ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat pastry flour with ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking soda, ¼ tsp salt in a medium bowl and then set aside.
*In the bowl of an electric mixer, add 2 tablespoons (melted and cooled) coconut oil, ⅓ cup honey (or maple syrup), 1 tsp vanilla, 1 egg; mix on medium-low until smooth and well combined. Add in 1 cup shredded zucchini ( usually about 1 medium zucchini), 1 mashed banana or ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce, and ½ cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk. Mix again.
*Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix well until just combined. Gently fold in ½ cup chocolate chips.
*I like using a large cookie scoop to scoop the batter into the prepared liners and suctioning bowl. ***The original recipe calls for baking the muffins for 22-25 minutes, but because I am usually baking with silicone I find that mine are done at the 15-17 minute mark. I like to double check mine with a toothpick inserted in the middle and once it comes out clean (minus the gooey chocolate from the chocolate chips) I then transfer them to a wire rack and finish cooling.