I saw a post at http://thecrafterscottage.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/oatmeal-yogurt-pancakes-with-blackberry-crush/#wpl-likebox about Oatmeal-Yogurt pancakes with Blackberry Crush. Yum. It made me think of my special zucchini muffin recipe. The muffins are moist, delicious, and can be very healthy.
If you live in my neck of the woods, you experienced a bumper crop of zucchini this past summer. Small ones started appearing on the vines, growing at the bottom of the large yellow flowers, in June. The big ones popped up under huge green leaves in late July and August, and little ones are on the vines even now, in October, begging to be picked before the frost kills them. If you don’t have a garden or don’t have a neighbor with a garden, you saw zucchini by the truckload at the market. It was the rain that made it happen. The August drought and 100 degree heat went somewhere else this year; there were no brown yards and no sizzled zucchini in the gardens. The record setting rainfall made the zucchini grow long and fat and bright green.
Zucchini can be sliced and eaten raw in salads. It can be julienne cut, steamed, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, and eaten as a side dish. Soups and Italian dishes profit from the addition of tender, nutritious bites of this delectable vegetable. However, this year’s abundance means that, even after using as many zucchini as possible in your daily cooking, some of the zucchini will be left over and need to be preserved for future enjoyment.
You can slice or julienne and freeze some of the zucchini. You can make zucchini bread, slice and freeze it. Or, you can make zucchini muffins. These you can freeze, take out of the freezer one or two at a time, and take with you as a portable snack or even a lunch. Zucchini muffins can be as nutritious as you want to make them, or can be sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon to be the sweet addition to a meal. Let them thaw wrapped in foil and eat the moist, nutty, cinnamony-sweet treats from your hand. Zap them in the microwave for 30-45 seconds and enjoy them warm for breakfast. I hope the zucchini is abundant again this summer.
Here is my favorite Zucchini Muffins recipe:
3 cups grated fresh zucchini ( or 2 c. zucchini and 1 c. grated carrots)
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter (or 1 c. veg. oil, or 1 mashed banana + ¼ c. oil)
1 1/3 cup sugar (or 1 c. brown or raw sugar + 1/3 c. fruit)
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour (or whole wheat flour or 2 ½ c. any flour + ½ c. wheat germ, powdered milk, oatmeal flour, etc. combo)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup walnuts (optional) (or any nuts you like)
1 cup raisins (or other dried fruit of your choice)
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C). In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the grated zucchini (or combo) and then the melted butter or oil. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add these dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture. Fold in the walnuts and dried fruit.
2. Coat each muffin cup in your muffin pan with vegetable oil spray. Fill the cups up completely with the dough. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25-30 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool.
Note: This makes about 14 muffins with the muffin cups filled above the surface of the muffin cups. The muffins may take longer to bake if you use more fruit. I sometimes add blueberries, chopped pineapple, diced apple, or another fruit in place of the oil to make the muffins very moist. Enjoy these treats during the fall and winter and remember your summer bounty!