Perhaps you’ve noticed I’ve been making quick breads and muffins more frequently again, while trying to justify their presence by substituting oil and sugar in standard recipes with applesauce, fruit purees, yogurt, bananas, and the such. They have been mostly delightful with the one exception of a chocolate zucchini muffin I made a couple weeks ago and could not in good conscience share the results with you. I took out the sugar completely and added too much cocoa. They were good enough, but not the treat I am wanting when I bake. The total absence of sweetness made them more of a biscuit flavor with a muffin texture. Anyway, it was not brilliant.
I set out to make a new chocolate zucchini muffin today and this time, I focused on improving the quality of the fat without removing it and replacing the sugar with honey and dates. It’s not such a drastic change, but it is still markedly healthier than most recipes I found. The refined sugar is gone, it’s packed with fresh zucchini, and the sweetness is perfectly pronounced. Honey and dates are certainly packed with natural sugars, but our bodies assimilate them far better than the refined table sugar most sweets call for.
Dates are wonderful for the stomach, bones and blood. They are rich in minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, copper and manganese, and help to promote bowel regularity. Their complex natural sugar constitution makes them an energetic food that helps us move and boosts our metabolism. (Organic Authority)
So, listen up. Enough about all the justification about how not completely un-healthy these are. Because they are so yummy! Seriously dessert, moist, chocolatey, and tender. Oh My Heavens. I’m afraid I’m going to eat three before the day is out.
Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
2 large eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup dates (about 6), pitted, soaked, drained, and pureed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup cocoa
2 cups (250 grams) whole wheat flour
2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
1/2 cup (70 grams) very good chocolate, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 muffin tins with liners or butter them well. In an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, honey, butter, date puree, and vanilla for 5 minutes. While that is going, into a separate bowl, sift the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cocoa, and flour. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until just combined. Stir in the zucchini and chopped chocolate. Mix until incorporated. Scoop into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 18-23 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes then turn out onto a baking rack to cool completely.
**This is also the perfect amount of batter to make 1 loaf in an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan if you prefer. Yum yum yum.