116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
By Heather Younker/The Gazette Correspondent
If you have a garden, it is probably bursting with zucchini right about now. It is one of those vegetables with great yields and a tendency to get gargantuan overnight. If you aren't careful (or even if you are), you have zucchinis that could be substituted for t-ball bats.
While we don't have a garden this summer, we have been gifted with a counter full of these tubular treats. This means I have been busily shredding our bounty for the freezer to use in breads, cakes, soups, meatballs, etc., during the zucchini off-season.
I had to reserve some of my shredded zucchini from my freezer stash to make my favorite summer childhood dessert - chocolate zucchini cake - only I decided to make them into miniature muffins. The muffins have all the flavors of the cake I love - moistness from the zucchini, richness from the chocolate chips and cocoa and a hint of spice with cinnamon and cardamom. Oh, and, of course, they wouldn't be complete without the crunch of walnuts.
These muffins are perfectly portable snacks. Pop one in your mouth in route to the garden to pick the next batch of zucchini.
Mini Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Yields 24 muffins
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose white flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
24 walnut halves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin pans (enough for 24 muffins) with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar, egg, yogurt, vanilla and zucchini. In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (except for the walnuts). Fold the dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Fill each muffin cup with 2 tablespoons batter and gently press a walnut on top. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let muffins cool slightly before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
Adapted from Everyday Food, May 2010