Friday, June 12, 2015

Guest Post - Bethany's Zucchini Muffins

Zucchini is one of the most delicious and flexible items we get in the crop share. You can make them into noodles, roast them with herbs, or make muffins like crop share member Bethany Duffy. As always, if you bake up a mean batch of these muffins (or let your kids do it for you) please share your pictures with us! Hashtag them #cookingwithnalls on Instagram and tag us in the photo @nalls_produce. Don’t forget to follow us there and on Pinterest--we will have some exciting giveaways popping up later this month.  We can’t wait to see what you’re cooking!

It seems like we’re constantly being told that the best way to get kids to enjoy a variety of foods is to invite them into the kitchen. I’m sure that this is true, but it’s definitely not the easiest guideline to implement--for me, at least, cooking dinner can take more than twice as long with a 4 year old “helping,” and that’s not always time I can spare on a busy weeknight! My solution: let kids help with meals on weekends or days off, and always let kids help with baking. 

These spiced zucchini muffins are a great place to start. There’s no chopping, no hot liquids, no operating heavy machinery. Just one big bowl, a box grater, a little stirring, and a delicious treat at the end. Besides, with the good fats from olive oil, an extra bit of whole grains from white whole wheat flour, and tons of beautiful shredded summer squash, they’re almost healthy! Smear a little cream cheese (plain or lightly sweetened) on top, and you can even get away with calling it a cupcake. Who said you need to hide vegetables to get kids to eat them? 

Spiced Zucchini Olive Oil Muffins
Makes 12-14 muffins

1 cup olive oil
3 large eggs
1 ¼ cup sugar **I have also had success making these with light agave syrup, for those who would rather not use white sugar. Use about ¾ cup agave, and reduce your baking temperature to 325 to prevent over-browning. You will probably need 3-5 extra minutes of baking time.**
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
Optional: mix in ½ cup toasted walnuts or ¾ cup dried cranberries or cherries at the end

Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with paper liners, or spray a silicon muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Stir in olive oil, sugar, vanilla, and zucchini. Layer dry ingredients on top and stir until just combined. Stir in nuts or dried fruit if desired. Scoop batter into muffin cups until they’re ¾ full. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick insterted into a muffin comes out clean.

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