Thursday, 17 February 2011

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

The other day as I was walking down the produce aisle I happened upon some zucchini. I've always had a fondness for the zucchini. In the summer I usually go crazy for it trying to throw it in as many recipes as I can find. Personally, I LOVE it sliced, marinated then grilled on the BBQ.

Sadly my children have long suffered from Zucchini Aversion. It's a common ailment among children. In our family it developed when they were quite young and apparently the only cure is becoming an adult (even then some people aren't cured and have a lifelong affliction). Sad but true. It's symptoms include: scrunched up nose, 'ew' sounds emitting from one's mouth to outright refusal to eat said zucchini.

I think the zucchini gets a bad rap. There's honestly not a whole lot of flavour in the zuc yet it gets picked on and picked out of endless meals! My kids can spot it in a dish in 10 seconds flat! Yet, it's cousin the cucumber gets all the kudos and is eaten almost daily in our home. Not only are cucs eaten on their own but in salads, wraps and even pickled! The glory of the cuc knows no boundaries while the zucchini gets no respect!

While I haven't given up the fight to get my kids to love the mighty zucchini I do know their Aversion will continue into the near (quite possibly far) future. So that leaves me with two options. Either I can forget about the zucchini or be devious and hide it in foods my kids like. I choose the Dark Side!

This is where this recipe comes in handy. I've hidden the nutritious deliciousness of the zucchini in a chocolate muffin ... that also has whole wheat flour and unsweetened applesauce to cut the fat. *Cue evil laugh: Bwah ha ha!!!*

Note: If I was more on the ball I would have chopped up the zucchini even finer to hide it more from prying eyes. My food processor made it into thin strings of zucchini (think zucchini spaghetti) which Karate Kid and Missy Moo were quick to notice. If you look closely at the top of the muffin in the picture you can see a string of zucchini. What am I new?!? I should know better.

Well, eleven year old Cub (and Brad) loved these muffins and I think the other two would have loved them if they weren't so preoccupied with knowing that zucchini lurked in the chocolatey goodness.

These muffins are amazingly moist and light for a muffin that has a cup of whole wheat flour. They also have a delightfully rounded top making them look more like a cupcake. They freeze well which are a big bonus for kids' lunches. Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (one of those individual applesauce containers will do)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup shredded zucchini
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease muffin tin or use paper liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Sift cocoa into flour mixture. Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, oil, applesauce and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry mixture. Mix until just combined. Overmixing will produce tougher textured muffins (I cannot state this enough). Gently fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.

Using a large melon baller (or two spoons) fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

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