April 28th, 2010

{food & learning, recipe} Zucchini Muffins

By the time you read this, it’ll be sunny. At least It better be here in NYC because, after a few days of rain and, in our case, a nasty cold that swept through the house, we need some seriously strong sunshine. All was not lost, though. We managed to have a lovely few days in, complete with movies, a house-wide scavenger hunt and, of course, a cooking project.

Though I’m more of a cook, I find baking with kids much more manageable. Easy to measure ingredients like flour and sugar, fun tools like whisks, lots of prep away from a hot stove, no knives: these are the things that keep baking projects fun and relaxed. But, the downside is that joint cooking projects always yield sweet treats and we miss out on the opportunity to work with and get excited about veggies. Enter zucchini muffins.

These tasty morsels—a perfect finger food!—are easy to throw together and, though sweet, make great use of green veg. Your little one will get to experience zucchini in a whole new way, which will hopefully get her excited about the versatile vegetable. If you decided to make these with your kiddo, check out these 3 tips for cooking with kids to help get you in the mindset.

If you want to ditch the kids (or you don’t have any, you free bird), that’s cool, too. Things will go even faster, the final product will be just as tasty, and you’ll still get to serve a zucchini treat that’s sweet, yet wholesome.

Zucchini Muffins
makes 3 dozen 1-oz mini muffins
(can be fed to kids 8+ mos)

butter or oil spray for greasing plan
2 large eggs
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c light brown sugar
2/3 c vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c grated zucchini
2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease muffin pans. Whisk 2 eggs; add sugar and oil. Beat until all three ingredients are well incorporated and mixture is very smooth.

2. Mix in vanilla and zucchini. Slowly add flour, whisking until there are no flour lumps.

3. Add remaining ingredients. Mix until batter is smooth (other than zucchini!). Pour into prepped pans and bake for 15 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the muffin—it’s done if the toothpick comes out clean.

10 Responses

  1. christina says:

    YUM! We make a Zucchini Banana Bread in our house and an Avocado Banana bread one too! Not too sweet, perfect for breakfast! Love this!

  2. DailyChef says:

    I love Zucchini bread, but have never tried Zucchini muffins! Yum!

  3. swrk says:

    Thanks for the post – I love zucchini bread! It brings me back to my childhood. I’m sure my daughter will love these muffins.

    What would you think about substituting something for the white sugar? Sucanat? Agave? Do you usually find yourself tinkering with substitutes for sweeteners and fats? Can you really sub in applesauce for oil/butter?

    I usually don’t go too crazy about it… but have been baking so much more recently (as you say, it’s the easiest kind of cooking to do with little ones) and so, on my own behalf as much as anyone’s, I feel curious about subbing out some of the less healthy ingredients.

  4. janelle says:

    Wow they look so moist! Kudos! I love making mini muffins for my sons’ lunch boxes. Perfect treat!

  5. Kathy says:

    Delicious meal! My family would so enjoy this, thanks for sharing it!

  6. One Hungry Mama says:

    swrk: i too have played with using “healthier” ingredients in my baking. but, truth be told, as a relatively novice baker, i’m not quite ready to pass along general rules for substituting. in my (again, limited) experience, it really depends. In the past, I’ve used as much sucanat as white sugar (a 1-to-1 substitute) and have also reduced by as much as 1/3. Sucanat has a deeper, molasses inflected flavor, more like brown sugar, and is a little bit sweeter than white sugar.

    I’ve also used applesauce (check out these: http://onehungrymama.com/2009/11/sweet-potato-muffins-with-cream-cheese-filling/) and whole wheat flour–they do work when used right! Again, when and how much to use really depends on the recipe.

    I will leave you with one bit of info though. The benefits of agave are really quite questionable. I used it a lot when my older son was younger, but have since stopped. I never buy it anymore. There is a lot of disagreement over the agave but, the bottom line for me was that agave syrup is quite processed (similarly to high fructose corn syrup) to become sweet. It is NOT a naturally sweet product like maple syrup that can be used as a sweetener with minimal processing.

    Okay. One more thing. :-) I once spoke with a nutritionist who suggested that the healthiest sweetener is whatever one you can use least of to achieve the flavor you want. Most commercially available sweeteners are processed and the point is to intake as little as possible overall.

    Hope this is helpful!

  7. Erin says:

    I just found your blog, and I love it! I’ll link to you in a post I’m writing right now on cooking with kids. I can’t wait to try this recipe. We need to add some variety to our snack routine, and this will be perfect. Thanks!

  8. Amanda says:

    I’m about to make these for the third time. They are fan-freakin’-tastic!

  9. One Hungry Mama says:

    yayay!!! so glad you like! and… you’re reminding me… i should make a bunch. the hungry boy is heading to camp this week. (his first time away all day with a packed lunch.) these are perfect for his lunch bag!

  10. Previous to I come to be parent, I really didn’t realize that children really like cooking so much. My kid certainly enjoys it, I imagine when grow up will be even far better cook than me.

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