Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins on the Range

It's zucchini time again! We don't have much growing in our garden this year since Kansas Dad has been swamped with work and trying to tackle the outbuilding, but I thought I'd share this recipe we've been enjoying since last fall.

My quest for yummy chocolate zucchini muffins started with the yummiest chocolate-chocolate chip zucchini cake recipe ever from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains (King Arthur Flour Cookbooks). (I really really love this cookbook!) It's so good I made it for Second Daughter's birthday party last year. It is not, however, as healthy as I'd like something to be for every day eating. I was on the look-out for a tasty but reasonably healthy zucchini muffin or quick bread recipe I could put into our rotation (along with banana bread and pumpkin bread).

It seemed like everything I found, though, was either too healthy or too yummy. Here are a few of the other recipes I read or tried before getting started:
So I decided to experiment a little myself using ingredients we always have on hand.

Because I have a kitchen scale (which I also love), my recipe is mostly in ounces, but I've used the conversion tables in my Whole Grain Baking cookbook to give you an idea of the measurements in cups. (Kitchen scales are more accurate than measuring cups and create fewer dirty dishes, so you really can't go wrong. Plus, you can use it to measure the yield from your strawberry patch.)

I have made these a number of times with zucchini frozen and thawed in the fridge and it works great. When I do that, I always drain some of the water that seeps out from the zucchini, but not too much or the muffins will be too dry.

Remember, you can make this recipe with any kind of summer squash.

Range Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins or Bread

Dry ingredients:
  • 1 oz cocoa (1/3 cup)
  • 3 3/4 ounces ground flaxseed (3/4 cup)**
  • 7 3/4 ounces whole wheat flour (just shy of 2 cups, I'd recommend 1 3/4 cup)
  • 5 ounces all-purpose flour (just over 1 cup, I'd recommend using 1 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 oz wheat or oat bran (about 1/2 cup, I tried using more and we didn't like it at all. You can also just leave it out.)
Wet ingredients:
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 1/2 oz brown sugar (about 3/4 cup, packed)
  • 7 oz white sugar (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
And the extras:
  • 20 oz shredded zucchini or summer squash (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 6 oz chocolate chips (1 cup)
The directions:
  1. Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Use a mixer to blend all the wet ingredients.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  4. Stir in the zucchini and the chocolate chips. (Ideally; I usually just dump them into the mixer and let it beat up the chocolate chips a little rather than stir it myself.)
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes (24 muffins of 1/4 cup each) or for 40-45 minutes for 2 loaves. Between the chocolate chips and the cocoa, it can be really hard to tell when they're done. I don't bother testing so much anymore and just take them out when they've been done in the past (23 minutes for the muffins). (I've only made loaves once, and Kansas Dad took them out for me. They worked just fine, but I forgot to ask him to write down how long they baked. Guess I'll have to try them again!)
Enjoy!

** If you don't have have ground flaxseed, you can substitute an additional 1/4 cup vegetable oil in the wet ingredients. I highly recommend you give ground flaxseed a try, though. I think it adds a delicious nutty taste to baked goods and it's healthier than vegetable oil. I think.

5 comments:

  1. I'll give these a try! I got a bunch of zucchini from my mom's garden, and I made the chocolate zucchini cake from Whole Grain Baking on Saturday, since you had recommended it before. It was a hit with the family, even without frosting. (We finished it off today.)
    I was just looking at the zucchini, wondering if I should make something else or just stick it in the freezer.

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  2. I'm glad your family liked the zucchini cake from the cookbook. Most folks don't even notice the zucchini. I've only made it with the frosting once and didn't think it was that much better so we usually skip it. Though we often serve it with ice cream, so it's not like we're being particularly healthy.

    Hopefully someone around here will have extra zucchini to share with us! (Somehow I don't think that will be a problem.)

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  3. Very yummy muffins! The girls all really liked them. It stormed this afternoon and the girls were restless, so we went ahead and made them. I only used 1/2 cup of chips (all I had) but they were mini chips, and that was plenty.
    I'll definitely keep this recipe to make again. Thanks!

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  4. Yes, flax seed is TONS healthier than vegetable oil. As an aside, have you ever cooked/baked with coconut oil? We love it!!!

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  5. Tiffany, I'm so glad your girls liked the muffins. I had tried decreasing the chips, but Kansas Dad and the kids here on the Range really preferred the full cup.

    Monica, I haven't cooked with coconut oil, but am intrigued. Where do you buy it? Do you substitute it 1:1 for vegetable oil?

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