Zucchini muffins now and later

12th July, 2009 - Posted by admin - Comments Off

Zucchini muffins with melted butter.

Anyone who’s wandered through any of our local farmers markets has probably noticed that there’s a lot of zucchini out there. It is now the time of year when zucchini and other summer squash start being left on doorsteps in the dead of night.

Zucchini are typically picked while small and very young zucchini with the flowers still attached are very tender and considered a delicacy. The smaller the vegetable, the more tender the flesh. Zucchinis can grow up to three feet if left alone long enough, but they become seedy and fibrous the older they get. Zucchini are also low in calories, fat free and a good source of fiber and Vitamin A – which we can all use more of.

Because zucchini has a fairly light and neutral flavor, it can be included in all kinds of dishes without disrupting much. Zucchini muffins are a great way to use up extra squash and also freeze well. A warm zucchini muffin in November is worth the effort now.

Some people like to include very small amounts of grated zucchini in baked goods on the theory that it’s easier to “hide the vegetables”. The recipe below uses three cups of grated zucchini and liberal amounts of spices. The cinnamon and nutmeg come through very nicely and the zucchini acts as a good filler for the rest of the ingredients.

There are those with a very sensitive palate when it comes to nutmeg. One of my chef instructors used to tell us that if he could taste the nutmeg, then we used too much. Nutmeg should provide a slightly warm spiciness that brings out the other flavors. My nutmeg has gone on walkabout from my spice drawer, so I substituted an equal amount of pumpkin pie spice and was quite happy with the result.

People who are watching their fat can substitute an equal amount of vegetable oil for the butter, although the butter version does taste a somewhat better – but that’s true of most things.

Because the batter is wet, it’s not necessary to soak the raisins before baking. Other variations to consider include replacing half the zucchini with grated carrot or including a cup or two of chocolate chips. The batter can also be baked in a loaf pan. When cool, store the muffins in an air-tight container or freeze and defrost in the microwave.

Zucchini Muffins
Make 6 large or 12 small muffins

3 cups grated fresh zucchini
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup walnuts (optional)
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

No mixer is neeed for this recipe.

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add these dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture. Fold in the walnuts and dried raisins or cranberries if using.

4. Coat each muffin cup in your muffin pan with a little butter or vegetable oil spray. Distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups, filling the cups up completely.

Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Test with a long toothpick or a thin bamboo skewer to make sure the center of the muffins are done.

Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin and let cool another 20 minutes.

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Posted on: July 12, 2009

Filed under: Breakfast, Dessert, Sides, Vegetarian

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