chocolate chip zucchini muffins

by ALLISSA on September 15, 2011

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Something’s come over me this week. I’m baking, often. (OK, often for me, which means at least twice.) I think it’s connected to the weather – why do I always talk about the weather? – and the fact that fall is snaking its way into my life. Sign No. 1 – I bought mums at the garden store on Labor Day weekend. I couldn’t help myself. Just don’t ask me where I planted them. I haven’t, not in the ground and not in a real pot. Sign No. 2 – My feet are perpetually cold and my hands are usually numb at the office. I guess it’s time to give up my summer sandals and start wearing socks. Have I mentioned that I hate socks? I do; my feet were made for flip-flops. And I’m determined to find a pair of knitted fingerless gloves for the office. You know, a nice pair to wear while I’m typing and freezing. Sign No. 3 – I’m craving comfort food and all sorts of baked goods. A dangerous combination, but can you blame me? I’m already thinking about soups and stews and chilis and casseroles.

I’m a little embarrassed to say that I never used to pay much attention to the fall harvest season. But it’s hard not to be inspired and fall in love with all of the bounty that arrives in late August and September. Zucchini, of course, is a season staple. Peaches are popular, tomatoes overflow. I can have my pick of peppers or red onions or yellow squash. There are so many varieties of apples at the farmer’s market that I usually buy a big mixed bag of my favorites and devise senseless reasons to bake apple pies.

So if you can’t find cooking inspiration in autumn, you’re not trying very hard. Mid-week, well into my baking foray, I decided to do something (anything!) with the zucchini sitting on my countertop. Its best days were passing and I knew I needed to use it. I considered zucchini bread, but that little adventure would have marked the second quick-bread in a row this week, so I wracked my brain after a very long (and cold) day at work and compared recipes and decided to make zucchini muffins. Easy enough, but then I remembered the chocolate chips sitting in the pantry and, as you may or may not know, I will find a way to add chocolate to my daily diet, as if it is my life’s mission. Which led me to the tin of sweetened cocoa in my cupboard. Wouldn’t you know it – I wanted to include that, too.

Coarsely Chopped Zucchini

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins Flour Mixture

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins Batter

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins Batter Mixture

Be forewarned: the batter will become incredibly thick after the addition of the flour mixture. Don’t be afraid. My hand-mixer chugged along, but I eventually turned the batter by hand and found it easier to maneuver after I added grated zucchini. You can add more or less, depending on what’s available. A cup and a half this time seemed right.

Batter for Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Dark Chocolate Chips for Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Chip Morsels for Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Batter in Muffin Pan

Truthfully, I’m not convinced these little delights would be nearly as good if I hadn’t added that tablespoon of cocoa. A tablespoon isn’t very much, but it certainly did give the muffins an extra and evenly distributed chocolate-y flair, above and beyond the chocolate chips. I intended to take photos of the full dozen muffins, but they didn’t last very long out of the oven. Now, pardon me, but I have to hunt down my wool socks and my down-feather parka and hunker down inside the house, practicing for – if I write it, it will arrive – winter.

A Dozen Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

(adapted from www.epicurious.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup of applesauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of coarsely grated zucchini
  • 1 cup of dark chocolate morsels

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil, applesauce, egg and vanilla extract on low speed for two to three minutes.
  5. Add half of the flour mixture and continue mixing at low speed.
  6. Add the remaining flour mixture and keep mixing. (Note: The batter will likely get very thick. I wound up mixing it with my favorite green silicone spatula.)
  7. Add the zucchini. Hopefully, the moisture from the zucchini will make the batter much easier to stir.
  8. Add the chocolate chips. Stir again.
  9. Drop the batter equally into the liners.
  10. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.
  11. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then pop the muffins out of the pan to completely cool.

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