Zucchini muffins–no sugar, no grating

It’s August, and zucchini is quite prevalent this time of year. I can find a variety at almost every stand at my local farmer’s markets for pretty cheap. I love squashes prepared a variety of ways, but lately I have been on a quest for a good healthy breakfast muffin. I used to make these, then started replacing ingredients when I went vegan, but now I’m interested in less oil and sugar and more whole ingredients (like whole grain flour and fruit). I also always pureed the zucchini, rather than grating. I heard pureeing will change the texture, so I decided if I was going to find new recipes, I’d start with as few changes as possible (replacing oil and sugar).

I picked out some zucchinis that didn’t look too fat (and full of bitter seeds), and brought them home to my hand grater. It wasn’t really working for me. I could have gotten out my food processor and used the grating attachment, but it doesn’t work that well and I did not feel like washing all those dishes. So I got out my knife and minced. I had done so before, years ago, to make zucchini bread, and I felt like it did well. Fingers crossed, I put the minced squash into the fridge for the next morning’s baking experimentation.

Chocolate Covered Katie’s pancakes:

I went with the pinch stevia and the spelt flour options, and I added a few tablespoons extra milk; maybe even 1/4 cup. I skipped the chocolate chips on all these today–in the interest of a conservative food budget and phasing out sugar, they stay at the store these days. The pancakes were great dipped in sugar-free pancake syrup (I know it’s best to avoid the sweetener, but if I add a little on the side instead of mixing it in, it tastes so much sweeter, so I can use a lot less). The whole batch made 6 pancakes, although I could have easily made 7. I ate all of them, so no word on how they freeze.

Savory, gluten-free Zucchini Muffins:

I used flax not chia, and pureed avocado replaced half the coconut oil. I did need the almond milk. I made a half batch and due to the next batch of muffins, I turned the oven down to 350 degrees after they baked awhile (maybe 15 minutes). These were good dipped in syrup, too. They might have been a little underdone, but I had no problem eating one. Perhaps adding less almond milk would have been prudent. I froze the rest and Hunny Bunny and I ate one the next day. I think they are more at home alongside soup rather than breakfast, but they also work as a syrup-topped breakfast. The reheated one got homemade raisin syrup (raisins soaked in unsweetened almond milk, then pureed).

Vegan Zucchini Bread:

I initially made a half batch of these too. I used a combination of applesauce, coconut oil, and pureed avocado instead of the same amount of applesauce and coconut oil. No walnuts. I used the raw cacao nibs I had instead of roasted and a little extra milk in half of the batch. The half recipe filled 6 regular size muffin cups. I just skipped the sugar altogether and hoped it wouldn’t affect the texture or anything, as there were no instructions to cream the fat and sugar together. The muffins with added milk took longer to cook, although I forgot to time it.

I still had more zucchini and cacao nibs I wanted to use up, so I made it again to use the rest, this time pureeing the zucchini and cacao nibs (probably and extra tablespoon or two cacao) with the wet ingredients, and added raisins. I used homemade nut butter (just peanuts and almonds) rather than avocado. I made a full recipe and filled 10 regular size muffin cups. This batch was actually good enough to eat without syrup–the raisins added just enough sweetness to get by. I did not add any extra milk; just kept the batter really thick. I found they cooked very evenly this way and the texture was perfect. I couldn’t taste much chocolate, but maybe that’s due to lack of sweetener.

What’s your favorite way to bake with zucchini?

Pumpkin pie frosting-topped oatmeal cups

My kids get bored with bowls of oatmeal for breakfast. I get bored with cooking it. So sometimes I’ll use Chocolate Covered Katie‘s recipe for baked oatmeal, and make a huge batch for the freezer. To make it a little more fun for the kids, I decided to top it with “frosting” (inspired by Katie’s whipped cream trick) and sprinkles!

image

I am not a food photographer 😉

 

I mixed:

210g pure pumpkin

15g powdered sugar

5 drops english toffee flavor liquid stevia

several drops pure vanilla extract

~1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

6g cornstarch

in a bowl. I wasn’t ready to use it yet, so I put a lid on in and kept in in the fridge a few days. When I was ready to serve, I heated the oatmeal cups in a microwave until just barely warm and completely thawed, and piped the pumpkin through a frosting bag with a star tip. Then I topped with some mini chocolate chips–Ghiradelli is delicious, vegan, and available at my local Walmart.

I enjoyed them, especially when I sprinkled some dark cocoa powder onto it. Catboy disliked the difference in temperature (warm muffin and cold frosting), but delivered slightly positive reviews otherwise and said “yes” to me making it again. Hunny Bunny asked for seconds and wanted to eat lots of chocolate chips. I got the stamp of approval from the 2 little ones as well. I’ll be making this again!