That time of year is almost here, that delicious, unrelenting, ZUCCHINI time of year. I have vivid memories of having to turn neighbors away at the back door of the inn on certain high yield years. At least one year we had a person-high stack of milk crates in our walk-in cooler, all stuffed with zucchini. And when that one more neighbor started walking across the parking lot towards the back door with arms full we said, ‘slow down there – and take those zucchini elsewhere’. We hated to turn away free, local food. (Often creating the crazy situation where a friend would have shown up with excess from their garden, given it to us for free, then would come in for a meal and pay to eat the very thing they had given us at the back door. Crazy. Crazy good, but crazy. Yes, there were often drinks given in exchange, but don’t tell the liquor board.)
Truth be told, I wasn’t going to make these particular muffins yesterday. I went looking for a Zucchini Lemon muffin recipe that I can picture very clearly in my mind’s eye. Nope. Nada. Nothing. I can picture it being a page from a magazine or a print out from a website. Not in either of my file folders of recipes. They were really tasty too. Darn it. Maybe it was this one from King Arthur Flour? I don’t think so, though I’m sure they would be delicious too.
In Inn world, one of my staple muffin recipes was the Morning Glory muffin – again, King Arthur Flour has the recipe I used most often. (Once I discovered my Best Bran Muffin I’m afraid the Morning Glory moved down a peg and was not so regularly on the menu anymore. No fault of it’s own, poor little muffin.) The Morning Glory is basically an excuse to eat carrot cake for breakfast and there is nothing wrong with that situation.
Well, if I still had the Inn, I think I’d have a new contender for that healthy muffin spot. These zucchini muffins are just the ticket for high value, low fat and sugar, stuffed with all kinds of goodness, plus zucchini. They are pretty not-sweet, though that means the sweetness of the apple really shows up. I’ve used toasted pecans, because I love toasted nuts – pecans and hazelnuts in particular. At the Inn I usually left out nuts from any baked good because I was always afraid someone, somewhere, would have forgotten to tell me about a nut allergy and that’s a kind of drama I just didn’t want. You can certainly leave out the nuts too.
While we’re on the subject of allergies for a moment, we always asked guests for dietary information so that we could make their stay most enjoyable and also so we wouldn’t kill them inadvertently. Good goal. As our years of ownership added up so too did the number, frequency and variety of dietary requirements we were asked to adhere to. We were (almost) always happy to oblige but, wow, we as a people have gotten really, sometimes weirdly, fussy. From the early days when it was a simple vegetarian or a nut allergy or a need for low fat breakfast, the requests blossomed over the years. Gluten free became almost a given, more and more vegans, and gluten-free, sugar-free vegans. Someone once specified ‘no entrails’ and we spent a lot of time wondering how often this was a situation you were faced with, that you felt you needed to make this request? ‘No whole fruit’ caused endless conversations…..so, half a watermelon would be OK? But a whole blueberry would push you over the edge? What about two halves from different apples, would that work?
Anyway, back to these zucchini muffins, because odd dietary requests could be an entire post of their own. These are great, super chunky, so that one feels like a pretty complete grab-and-go breakfast. And if I ever find that Zucchini Lemon muffin recipe, I’ll be sure to let you know. Enjoy.
Slightly adapted from a Flour recipe: https://flourbakery.com
- 1/2 cup wheat bran
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1 apple peeled and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup oats
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp mace
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F. Toast the nuts while the oven preheats. Butter, or line with paper liners, a 12 cup muffin tin.
In a medium to large bowl, stir together the wheat bran and hot water to moisten the bran. Add the zucchini, raisins, pecans, coconut and apple and stir to combine.
In another bowl stir together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and mace.
Using a stand mixer with the whip attachment, whip the sugar and eggs for 3-4 minutes.
With the mixer on, slowly add the oil and vanilla.
Remove the mixer bowl from the stand. Add the flour mixture and gently stir with a rubber spatula. Then add the bran mixture and fold until combined.
Spoon into muffin cups. Bake for 40-45 minutes.