Let’s face it, zucchini is one of those things that, by itself, doesn’t really produce much of a wow factor. [You certainly won't catch me sitting down to a bowl of shredded raw zucchini anytime soon.] When incorporated with other flavors and seasonings, though – zucchini can be one of the most versatile elements to work with to produce both deliciously sweet and savory dishes. One of my favorite pairings with zucchini is chocolate, as the richness works really well with the light earthiness of the vegetable. To be expected, this flavor profile makes a wonderful backbone for a muffin.
I use both semi-sweet chocolate chips and dark chocolate chunks in these muffins to really add a pop of chocolate to each bite, but make it your own and use whichever chocolate is calling you. I love the sweetness to come from the chocolate and not so much from the muffin itself, so I dialed down the granulated sugar, as well. The result is an seemingly indulgent muffin that works well for both snacks and desserts.
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chocolate chip zucchini muffins
A well-balanced treat, I particularly enjoy these muffins because they combine the subtle earthiness of garden-fresh zucchini and the divine indulgence of chocolate. I like to use both semi-sweet chocolate chips and dark chocolate chunks, but feel free to stick with your favorite baking chocolate or combination of your liking. As a note, I use only 1/2 cup granulated sugar in this recipe, as the chocolate contributes a decent amount of sweetness. Feel free to increase to 3/4 cup sugar, if you prefer. You can even skip the chocolate, or substitute chopped pecans, if you’d like; the zucchini muffin itself is quite fabulous, but I suggest increasing the granulated sugar to a 3/4 cup if you’re still going for a dessert-like effect.
Makes 12 large muffins
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar [can increase to 3/4 cup if you prefer a sweeter muffin]
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated zucchini, squeezed of excess moisture
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks, or a mixture thereof [I used 2/3 cup semi-sweet and 1/3 cup dark]
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners (important, because these muffins tend to stick.)
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a larger bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, eggs, olive oil, vanilla, and salt. Stir in the dry ingredients. Don’t be alarmed when the mixture appears very thick, like a cookie dough. Keep stirring until the mixture is thoroughly blended, but don’t over-mix. Add the zucchini and chocolate chips/chunks, and stir until well combined. You’ll see the mixture loosen up again, resembling a standard muffin batter.
Divide amongst the 12 lined muffin tin cups. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin tests cleanly. Serve warm, or let cool completely and then store in an air-tight container. The muffins will keep well for a few days.
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