Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Zucchini muffins

Many of my friends as well as many bloggers describe their approach to attempting new recipes with careful consideration to the original recipe. Specifically, my dear friends tend to follow the recipe to the letter the first time before offering tweaks or adjustments that suit their fancy. This my dear friends is in fact the safe way to go and sometimes known as the "correct" course of action.

I, of course, being difficult most of the time dismiss caution and adapt the recipe as I see fit. From. The. Start. There, take that.  

Typically I am motivated by one of three things. First, often a recipe asks me to use several bowls, sift some ingredient together, walk it in a circle three times, and let it rest for a to-be-determined amount of time. Here's what is wrong with that scenario. 
A. I do not currently own a dish washer - enough said. 
B. Sifting and extra bowls is more work and thus for chumps.
C. Who comes up with this stuff? Did the dough just get a work out and now it needs a rest? Should I allow for a cool down and stretch too? 

The second major reason I may not follow a recipe to the "tee" or is it "tea" or maybe "T" - dear friends please help me. Like I was saying, the second reason is often general forgetfulness and lack of preparation in terms of specific ingredients.   

The third, and final reason, being that I have an inflated sense of my cooking ability and think I can tell what is critical in a recipe and what can easily be swapped. Well as good fortune has it I am most often met with success. This obviously only further emboldens me which brings me to the zucchini muffins I am going to share with you. 

In an effort to make a lighter muffin and to incorporate more zucchini into the bread I decided to swap out the oil that Martha called for with applesauce and to just throw in as much grated zucchini as my little paws could grate. 

The result: 

Ok so that doesn't look terrible. You may be thinking, hmm maybe Amy's carelessness and general lack of respect toward Martha Stewart's tried and true recipe resulted in a delicious and lower calorie alternative. However, if you glanced up and noticed I titled this post "Zucchini Muffins" and not "Zucchini Bread" you may have already guessed correctly that something went terribly wrong with the bread. 

So here's the ending of this little tail. I turned over the loaf and to my shock and horror the crusty outer shell was hiding a not fully cooked gooey middle. Oh boy. I then shoved the bread back into the pan and attempted to smush it together again and popped it back in the oven. Luckily, Joel is crazy about quick breads and ate this little puppy in 26 hours. I am not kidding. 

Here is the thing I failed to consider, baking is essentially chemistry and probably the ingredients that someone thoughtfully combines is meant to produce a desired reaction, specifically being cooked.

Lesson learned right? Well, not really. I simply adjusted the already adjusted recipe I used for the bread. That sound you just heard is your own hand hitting your forehead after discovering I am doomed to learn everything the hard way. 

My solution was to attempt the same recipe but bake the bread in the form of muffins. Ultimately, the first attempt's batter contained too much moisture and resulted in an overly crusty exterior to its under cooked interior. I am thrilled to report my trial and error paid off! Check it out. 

Step one: 

Grate zucchini into a large bowl. Add sugars, eggs, vanilla, and applesauce then stir. 

Step two: 

Sift dry ingredients over the bowl of wet ingredients. Stir to combine. Do not over stir. 

Step 3: 

Plop in muffin pans previously sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake in oven. 

Step 4:

Enjoy their spicy-zucchini goodness! 

A quick note about this recipe. For those of you who are dying for fall and are enjoying the slight chill in the air lately this recipe is for you. It is chocked full of spices that remind you of fall and the coziness that implies. It is most definitely my favorite zucchini bread of the moment!

Lower-fat Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from Martha Stewart 

Servings: 12-14


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. 

Grate zucchini using a box grater into a large bowl. Add sugars, eggs, vanilla, and applesauce to bowl. Mix until combined. 

Place large sifter over the bowl and measure flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves, and salt. Sift dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined. 

Using an ice cream scooper evenly distribute mixture into muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. 

Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy. I enjoy smearing low fat cream cheese on my lightly heated muffin. 



  1. So at this point you may be thinking "Stalker" when you see my name. Rest assured, I'm not. (Your blog was still up on my ipod and when I hit refresh I saw the word zucchini and just had to read more!) I have THE BEST zucchini baking recipe for ya. No surprise, I found it by way of PW. I don't follow the recipe exactly and I make it in cupcake form bu let me tell ya, it's amazing. Here's the link:

  2. Hi Liz - you are not a stalker. I appreciate that you are a fellow food-love and PW lover! :) Thanks for passing a Tasty Kitchen recipe on, it looks awesome if not terrible for my waist-line!

  3. Yummy!! I like that you used applesauce instead of oil! I so need to do that!
    Thanks for linking up to Southern Lovely's Show & Share!! Hope to see you again!