Speaking of fresh produce… having my own garden at home has afforded me TONS of naturally grown, raw veggies to use in my cooking. Squash and zucchini are always abundant during the late summer months; we’ve practically got them coming out of our ears! My autumn motto has quickly become “A zucchini a day keeps the doctor away.”
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve managed to find some pretty creative ways to use these colorful gourd varieties, from zucchini noodles to sauteed zucchini and even zucchini nachos. One of my favorite techniques not only uses a lot of this healthy ingredient, it is also cleverly disguised by sugar and spices: baking with grated zucchini!
The first time I tried this recipe was with the after-school cooking program I helped to run for first through eighth graders in suburban Chicago. It yields enough of these bit-sized and flavorful muffins to feed an army, works great even at high altitude (now that I’m back in mountainous Colorado) and is super easy and fun to make with kids! I’ll definitely be keeping this one around for years to come.
Mini Zucchini Muffins
(Makes 3 dozen 1-oz mini muffins)
- 2 large eggs
- 1⁄2 cup white sugar
- 1⁄2 cup light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1⁄2 cups grated zucchini
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease muffin pans or prepare them with baking cups.
Whisk 2 eggs; add sugar and oil. Beat until all three ingredients are well incorporated and mixture is very smooth. Mix in vanilla and zucchini. Slowly add flour, whisking until there are no flour lumps. Add remaining ingredients. Mix until batter is smooth (other than zucchini!).
Pour into prepped pans and bake for 15 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the muffin—it’s done if the toothpick comes out clean.