its not the flavor i’m after…

Zucchini has been gracing the booths of the farmer’s market for several weeks now. I’ve picked some up each Saturday, usually to use in simple pasta dinners or grilled alongside chicken or fish. This week I decided it was time for some zucchini bread, and knew just the recipe I wanted to modify to accommodate the green squash – Molly Wizenburg’s banana bread from A Homemade Life, which I made several weeks ago.

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Now, admittedly, I didn’t substitute zucchini in this recipe for its flavor. Its so mild on your palette that the stronger flavors of dark chocolate, ginger, cinnamon and cloves overpower its delicate scent. What I wanted from the zucchini was the moisture that the banana typically provides without adding an additional competitor to the mix. You see, while Molly’s recipe was quite good, for me the combination of banana, chocolate and ginger was a bit overwhelming. Maybe its because I am a banana bread purist, and want the banana to be the center of attention even when complimented with another ingredient like apples or dates.

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I did, however, love the idea and taste of chocolate and dried ginger combined together in a loaf, and decided to seek out another way to utilize it. Enter the zucchini, and a few other substitutions that I like to make to any bread recipe I re-create. White whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose, turbinado sugar in place of refined, fat free greek yogurt in place of regular whole milk yogurt. Throw in a couple of additional spices (cinnamon and clove) and a 12-cup tin instead of a loaf pan and the result is a muffin that is perfectly moist, not too sweet, hearty enough for breakfast yet satisfying as a dessert with a tall glass of milk or hot cup of tea.

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Because these muffins are very moist, I suggest eating them within 3 days if you’re going to keep them on your countertop in an airtight container. Refrigeration would probably save them from mold for a few days longer, but I didn’t try that so I can’t tell you what happens to their texture. I did freeze 1/2 the batch though, and am hoping that Molly’s claim that her bread freezes extraordinarily well will extend to my muffins.

If you’re interested in the original banana bread recipe, you can find it reviewed here.

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If you fill the cups to the tip-top, you will be left with 12 delicious yet oddly-shaped muffins. Fill them 3/4’s of the way full, and you’ll probably have enough batter left for two additional muffins if its worth it to you to dirty another pan. I didn’t mind their appearance, since they were just for Brian and I to share.

Zucchini Muffins with Dark Chocolate and Ginger

adapted from the banana bread recipe in A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenburg, pg 26

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped dried ginger (not crystalized, although I’m sure it would work fine too)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups coarsely shredded zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
  • 5oz container of fat free vanilla-flavored greek yogurt (I used Oikos)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350*.  Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or butter.
  2. In a small bowl, microwave the butter until just melted.  Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ground cloves.  Add the chocolate chips and ground ginger and stir well to combine.
  4. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork.  Add the yogurt, melted butter and vanilla and mix well.  Add the zucchini and stir to coat.
  5. Pour the zucchini mixture into the dry ingredients and stir gently with a rubber spatula until just combined.  Make sure to incorporate all flour but do not overmix.
  6. Spoon the batter into wells of muffin tin, using spoon to pack it down.  If you don’t want your muffins to overflow like mine did, just fill the wells to 3/4 of the way to the top.  This will leave some batter leftover, but only enough for maybe 2 muffins.  If you don’t mind oddly shaped tops, just fill the wells evenly until you’ve used all of the batter.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes (mine took 28 minutes), until a tester inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from pan to cool completely on rack.

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20 responses to “its not the flavor i’m after…

  1. beautiful! i love the idea of the zucchini with the chocolate + ginger. I love those two together, too, and was wondering how I would like it in the banana bread.

    great idea!

  2. Great ingredient combination!

  3. Ginger adds such a great flavor to baked goods… I’m sure the combo of zucchini + chocolate + ginger is a delicious trio.

  4. I’m beginning to feel guilty for giving zukes such a bad rap all these years.

  5. I just made zucchini bread with the copious amounts of squash I’ve been harvesting as well. Only, my bread turned out a bit dry. I’m thinking the yogurt addition would have solved this, so I will keep that in mind for next time.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe! 🙂

    Hope you are well hun.

  6. Way to experiment. I am so going to pick up some zucchini (post-Bar) and try this.

    13 days…just 13 days.

  7. Looks absolutely delicious, as always!!!

  8. Sounds great!
    I made your beet risotto last night! I loved it. Check out my blog for a pic and recipe alterations. Thanks for a great recipe!

  9. you are quite the baker these days lil lady! you will have to teach me a thing or two because mama can’t bake.

  10. Oh, you brilliant girl. SO sending S to the market on his way home.

  11. Thanks for taking a look at my blog! Those muffins look so good. Your photos look so good. How do you get them side by side?

  12. I have been meaning to get Molly’s book for a while now! I really need to, thanks for the reminder!

    These muffins look and sound so good! Im saving this to try, I have so much zucchini!!

  13. those sound great! hmm, maybe i’ll skip out on work to hit up the farmers market today… 🙂

  14. Alison – So glad you liked the risotto! I love the addition of spinach to it. If you are lucky enough to find beets with fresh greens attached, they would be a great addition as well.

    Tara – Brilliant!?! You make me blush… 🙂

    Allie – There are several photo editing programs you can use to do that. I use photoshop, but many others use Flickr.

  15. zucchini bread is fab! its like a hidden secret because like you said you don’t even taste it, its just there for the added moisture, and it doesnt hurt to have those veggies included! 🙂

  16. So impressed with your experimenting! The muffins look and sound delicious! Can’t wait to make them myself!

  17. dark chocolate and ginger? yes, please!!

  18. I am almost done with her book and am enjoying not only the stories, but the recipes as well!

    My father had a similar fate to Molly’s and its brought up a wealth of forgotten memories, both good and sad, but an enjoyable read nontheless! 😀

  19. You always cook the most beautiful and yummy dishes! Random question, but where did you get your dishware? I was at this great restaurant in Napa and they used white square dishes also. Between that and your blog, I want some!

  20. Thanks for all of the great comments, everybody!

    Jennifer – We actually picked up those dishes at TJ Maxx! I love them, they are all handmade and each a little bit different. I know that Pampered Chef has a line of square dishes, and I think that Crate and Barrel might as well.

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