Magic Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

One of my kids is an extremely picky eater.  This makes trying new recipes difficult and coming up with new, different, and unique dinners almost impossible.  Vegetables are also a challenge.  My picky eater is very sensitive to food textures (doesn't like most berries because of the seeds, doesn't like cucumber/avocado/zucchini because they're "mushy", and so on).  While there are a few vegetables that I can always count on getting all my kids to eat (broccoli and green beans, PTL), when I want them to eat a few more varieties of vegetables, I almost always have to sneak the veggies into other foods like smoothies, baked goods, and applesauce.

I can usually pretty easily sneak leafy greens into smoothies and applesauces.  As for baked goods, I often use them as a vessel for carrots and zucchini**.  I've learned over the years that if I add cocoa power or unsweetened cacao powder (which is what I'm working with right now - purchased at Costco in bulk) to my baked veggie vessels, my kids can't see the veggies at all and are more easily tricked into thinking they're eating a dessert and not a veggie filled semi-healthy snack.

About a month ago my husband planted some zucchini in our raised garden beds.  They have absolutely taken off and everyday we're harvesting monster zucchini.  This is a picture of yesterday's haul.

As soon as I brought these in and realized I had the ingredients for my favorite muffins, I set to work. I love this Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffin recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.  I started using this recipe right around the time it was posted last summer and have made these muffins just about once a month ever since.  My picky eater calls them "brownie muffins" and absolutely inhales them.  Such a win.

Now that I've been making these muffins for awhile, I've built up the courage to tweak the recipe here and there.  As the recipe suggests, I always add maple syrup and applesauce (I've never tried honey or any other sweetener or banana in lieu of the applesauce).  However, I do add slightly less maple syrup than the recipe calls for and slightly more applesauce.  I've also found that it doesn't really matter what type of oil is used (the recipe calls for coconut but I've used avocado and olive in a pinch).

Like I said above, I also use cacao power instead of cocoa powder.  The cacao powder is a little more bitter so I add a few more chocolate chips to sweeten it up (they help make the muffins nice and gooey too).  I also always make sure to add a couple of chocolate chips to the top of the muffins - they're key for really deceiving my kids into thinking these things are brownies.

As for the zucchini, I usually add a little more than the one cup called for in the recipe.  The zucchini I used to make these yesterday was huge and, when grated, was about 1 1/3 cups in all.  The muffins still turned out great (they seemed a little extra moist - bonus) and the zucchini is completely undetectable in the finished product.

We eat these plain or topped with peanut butter.  I've also toyed with the idea of making a peanut butter frosting and calling them cupcakes but I haven't yet been so bold.

**Now, I know that technically the zucchini is botanically a fruit but I always treat it like a veggie (I think most people do - do you?).


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