Monday, September 20, 2010

Chocolate zucchini muffins

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I'm not the most indulgent lunchbox packer. Normally my boys get a small sandwich or a container of leftovers; some cut-up cucumber, carrots or bell peppers; and one or two pieces of fruit. I have two soft spots, though. I pack them chocolate milk every day, because I want to make sure they're getting enough calcium (my pediatrician father didn't talk much about nutrition, but he reminded me daily about calcium). And I sometimes pull out a muffin from the freezer and add that as a special treat.

My younger son prefers my banana chocolate chip muffins, and I have to say those are pretty good. But both boys like zucchini muffins, and I get a perverse thrill out of making sweets with vegetables. I normally make zucchini muffins with wheat germ, but this time I decided to change it up and add the chocolate. No surprise - they prefer the chocolate version. Me too, to tell you the truth. My husband, a life-long zucchini hater, won't touch them, despite the hefty dose of chocolate. Oh well.

Two notes on ingredients: I recently discovered Florida Crystals organic natural sugar, and I'm hooked. I love the fact that it's grown and processed in the U.S., and it's got a delicious, complex flavor that, to my palate, really adds depth to my baked goods. (No affiliation, and no freebies, in case you were wondering.) Also, I prefer olive oil in this recipe. I think it works well with the chocolate. However, feel free to use canola, grapeseed or another more neutral vegetable oil if you think the olive overtones would bother you.

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Chocolate zucchini muffins
These muffins are easy to make and good for you - I put them in my kids' lunchboxes without guilt.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups raw sugar, such as Florida Crystals
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups zucchini, grated
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, olive oil, cocoa powder and vanilla until well blended. Add the zucchini and mix to incorporate.In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add all at once to the egg mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until the flour is mostly incorporated. Be careful not to mix too aggressively - this will make your muffins tough. Fold in the chocolate chips.Line a 24-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Using a spring-loaded ice cream disher, fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full. Bake about 25 minutes, until the muffins spring back when you touch them and a toothpick comes out clean (except for the melted chocolate chips, which you're bound to hit when testing). As soon as you can touch them, remove the muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack.Note: I put one dozen in the freezer immediately so I have something left for the boys' lunchboxes. If I left the whole batch on the counter, they'd be gone in a day.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 24 muffins


Monet said...

Smile. I also get pleasure out of baking sweets with vegetables. We think alike! And I want you to know that I most certainly am voting for you! Have a great Monday, Erika!

Margaret Studer said...

I hope you publish this on LA Food Examiner. I want to link to it for my Chilren's Halloween Tea Party.

Erika said...

@Margaret - your wish is my command. I'll put it on my LA Cooking Examiner column within the next day or two.

Jackie said...

Anything chocolate is a always a winner, but even better to get some nutritional value out of it! Looks like a decadent use of veggies. (Wow, that's something I never thought I'd type.)

Erika said...

Here you go, Margaret:

Sarah said...

Erika, thank you for sharing the recipe and the actual muffins. HUGE HIT. So, where do I buy this sugar? Is it at most grocery stores? Don't recall seeing it before.

Erika said... - this is a listing of retailers of Florida Crystals in the Northeast. Hope you can find it!

Carlee said...

Yummy muffins! I also used carrot/apple sauce instead of the olive oil. Even more smiles for me about veggies hidden in the muffin :) Thanks for the recipe! And my daughter loves them -- the are dissappearing from the counter faster than I could imagine.

Ania said...

This muffin looks fantastic. Thank you Lisa for this wonderful recipe!!!

Jeff Kaufman said...

E - thank you for sending me this recipe idea in response to my zucchini FB post. In spite of having two non-eaters of anything green (especially a vegetable!), both ate and LIKED them. You rock!!!

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