Oh, rainy days. You and I have so many fond memories together. Those ‘sick’ days we spent cuddling the cat and catching up on Orson Welles films, euchre tournaments at the cottage, all of those simply romantic, inspiring moments. There was a time when a rainy summer afternoon was a magical event. And, now I have kids. Rainy days with young kids can be a nightmare. Managing it all calmly is an art, really. When raising kids at home, you always need a plan. And that plan requires a backup sick plan, no-sleep plan and rain plan. Our rain plan for today includes Finding Nemo and using up the glorious glut of zucchini we’ve produced during this hot and dry July.
We couldn’t rule on a final democratic choice of flavour so we decided to make 2 types of zucchini muffins this afternoon: Healthy Carrot and Zucchini Muffins for snacks and Daddy’s lunch and Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins for dessert. Edie, 3, will always vote chocolate, regardless the ingredients.
Some rainy day reading before we bake:
- Zucchini is available in good quantity during the summer months. It is overflowing the booths of your local farmers’ markets now so load up.
- Zucchini freezes very well. You can shred in your food processor or box shredder and place directly in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag by the cup or 2. Remove as much air as possible from the bag by smoothing it with the back of your hand from bottom to top and quickly sealing the bag. Freeze flat.
- One of the very low calories vegetable that is used during weight reduction and cholesterol control programs. Zucchinis provide only 17 calories per 100 g. Contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.
- Don’t peel zucchini. The skin holds the inside flesh and edible seeds together and is soft and mild in flavour when baked and cooked. Its peel is good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers.
- Scientists claim when taken adequately before pregnancy, it can help prevent neural tube defects in the fetus.
- Zucchini is a very good source of potassium. Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte; helps reduce blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium.
- Also rich in vitamin A, anti-oxidant vitamin-C, B-complex group of vitamins like thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals like iron, and zinc.
- When buying zucchini, choose small to medium sized zucchini featuring shiny, bright green skin, firm and heavy in hand. The best size for zucchini is 6 to 8 inches long and 2 inches or less in diameter.
- At home, place them in plastic bag and store inside the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator set with adequate moisture. They can be stored for up to 2-3 days.
- Zucchini is a perfect addition to moist breads and muffins with it’s high moisture content but don’t rely on it for the flavour punch. Zucchini bread relies on added flavorings to make it memorable, i.e. cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate and so on.
Both of these flavours of zucchini muffins are delicious in their own unique way and I still have a stack of recipes to play with for creating the perfect zucchini loaf. With the family enjoying the flavours and a voluptuous bush of the green stuff continuing to deliver at the side of the house, I’m certain this won’t be my last ‘baking with zucchini’ post this season. Have a family-trusted zucchini bread or muffin recipe you rely on? Care to share? Email your ideas on perfecting the classic zucchini loaf.
Carrot Zucchini Muffins
Makes about 12 standard size muffins or 24 mini muffins
- 1/4 c. canola oil
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 c. applesauce
- 1 c. grated carrots
- 1 c. grated zucchini
- 1 c. all-purpose whole wheat flour
- 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 t. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 t. salt
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, whisk together oil and sugar. Beat in egg, then applesauce. Stir in carrots and zucchini.
In another large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Fold dry ingredients into wet, until just mixed.
Spoon batter to the very top of sprayed, paper-lined muffin cups and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in a muffin.
Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffin
Inspired by 101 Cookbooks.com
Makes about 20 standard cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used unrefined, scented, all-natural coconut oil)
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 2 cups unbleached flour
- 1 cup cocoa, sifted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease large muffin pans and line with muffin cups.
In a medium bowl mix together the sugar, butter and oil. Beat in eggs, one at a time until well Incorporated. Stir in vanilla, buttermilk, zucchini and chocolate chips.
In a separate bowl mix together all of the dry ingredients. Add the liquid ingredients and mix until well combined. Spoon batter into large muffin pans. Bake in the center of the oven for about 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. (Don’t overcook them or you will lose all the moist goodness – you want them to look almost done in the oven – they will continue to cook for a few minutes after you pull them from the oven from the residual heat).Add to favorites