Saturday, July 26, 2008

Vegan (or not) Zucchini Muffins

When I was in graduate school I shared an office for a while with a woman who had a son a year older than Mariah. She was smart and funny and I always liked chatting with her when we were in the office together. I remember once moaning to her that I wanted something (can't even recall what, now), but didn't need it, and she looked at me and said, "Need. What an interesting concept." I've repeated her words often over the years--mostly ironically, I hope.

Anyway. This does get to muffins, believe me. Once she told me that she'd taken her son to the pediatrician and, in the course of the appointment, had asked for advice on how to get more vegetables into him. The doctor had suggested that maybe she bake zucchini bread, carrot muffins, things like that. Deanna was outraged. "What a sexist!" she exclaimed. "How dare he tell me to bake!"

I didn't see it quite the same way. I liked to bake (you'll be surprised to hear) and it didn't strike me as sexist at all, but as practical. He was 15 years ahead of Jessica Seinfeld, after all. But in the moment I sympathized with her; she was a good office mate, after all, and if she didn't want to bake zucchini bread I wasn't going to insist.

I don't know if Deanna ever got her son to eat vegetables, but whenever I make these muffins I think of her. My kids know they have zucchini in them, and they love them. They are loosely adapted from a recipe at, and if the flax seed meal and the buckwheat flour freak you out you can certainly try her version and let me know how it is. But this is how I make them:

  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. salt (I use less)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbl. flax seed meal
  • 3 eggs (or egg replacer, which is what I use: 4-1/2 tsp. beaten into 6 tbl. warm water)
  • 1 tbl. vanilla
  • 2 cu shredded zucchini (I think this works best in the food processor rather than the box grater, because you get a drier, firmer shred, but you can decide.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  • Mix the dry ingredients (flour through baking powder) in a bowl and set aside.
  • Mix the sugars, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in the flour mixture. Stir in the zucchini.
  • Spray or grease your muffin tins, and fill them mostly full (the muffins don't rise a lot). When I do this, I get 15 muffins, which means using a second muffin tin. If yours come out the same, don't forget to put a little water into the empty muffin cups so they don't scorch in the oven.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when you poke it into a muffin. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan briefly before turning out onto a wire rack.

1 comment:

FreshHell said...

This is the only time of year I can get my youngest to eat green vegetables: zucchini bread and green beans straight off the vine (she won't eat them any other way).

I'm all about the baking. In fact, I made a loaf of banana bread and two loaves of zucchini bread this weekend. It's either that or the food rots.