Every year when summer rolls around, bloggers unite in a barbaric yawp* against zucchini. It’s almost an inside joke — #zucchiniproblems. I’ll start the hashtag if it doesn’t already exist.
See, food bloggers are at least more committed to seasonal cooking than your average bear because their cooking is public, so they have to RESPOND to the influx of cheap nightshade vegetables. People might notice if bloggers claim to cook seasonal foods and completely ignore the bins of waxen squash piling up in produce sections and CSAs. My friends who tend gardens tire of plump, juicy tomatoes (unfathomable!), and even I, starch-lover that I am, get a little sick of corn by the end of the summer. But zucchini prompts a more collective sigh because no one likes it that much in the first place.
Well, at least that’s how I make of sense of it. Zucchini is best frittered or fried or muffined (we’ll get to that) — it’s not at its best raw and warm from the sun. I’m sure there’s someone out there who absolutely bows down to zucchini. If that’s you, you’re in for the best month of your year.
It’s pretty rich, though, complaining about abundance. I don’t know how to deal with it, except to say that having preferences is a privilege. Figuring out how to deal with all my zucchini is really a good problem if I think about it.
We can all start appreciating zucchini more, though, because zucchini bread. I know, I know. Anyone who’s never had zucchini bread is thinking…Bleck! Take your zucchini and leave my desserts alone. But zucchini transforms when you bake it into desserts. And here’s the big secret — we just call them zucchini muffins and zucchini bread because we’re pretending they’re breakfast items and not cupcakes. (IMAGINE THEM ICED WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING…SEE YOU SOON @_@)
Still not convinced? Zucchini bread is a lot like banana bread in texture. The water in the zucchini makes the
cake – did I say cake I MEANT BREAD – tender and moist. And in case you’re still skeptical, I added mini chocolate chips. If you still protest against zucchini muffins I will stuff a zucchini muffin into your mouth and give you a southern talking to.
Here are two versions…regular zucchini muffins and double chocolate zucchini muffins. Before you dive right into the double chocolate version, I’ll tell you that while the double chocolate ones are excellent and ultra chocolatey (obviously), the plain old single chocolate muffins are my favorite, and they’re a bit more tender.
Oh PS, I shoved a couple pecans into a few of them because I love pecans, but I’m in an anti-nut household. So, that was my way of laying claim to at least 5 muffins all pour moi.
Zucchini season, bring it.
Makes 24 muffins
Adapted from the Deb’s Zucchini Bread recipe at Smitten Kitchen
3 large eggs
½ cup grapeseed oil
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup honey
1 cup sugar
2 cups grated zucchini (about 3 small)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Optional: 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup dark mini chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 F and fill 2 muffin pans (for 24 muffins) with cupcake liners or very generously grease (I use a cast iron muffin pan that is practically non-stick with oil. If you have a regular ol’ muffin tin, I recommend using the little paper liners.)
2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then whisk in grapeseed oil, coconut oil, honey, and sugar. With spatula or wooden spoon, stir in grated zucchini and vanilla extract.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder (if using). Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until almost combined. Add chocolate chips and finish combining, just until mixed. The mixture may still be a bit clumpy — that’s okay.
4. Portion batter into muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Alternately, bake the batter in two parchment-lined 8 x 4-in loaf pans, for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Let cool for 10-15 minutes, and serve. Store extra muffins in a sealed plastic bag. They take well to freezing, but they’re best fresh of course. :)
Enjoy your zucchini harvest.
* Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass