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Sunday, September 1, 2013

September challenge: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

 Update:  I used this recipe to make these spooky chocolate coffin muffins!

I used to ADORE the giant double-chocolate muffins I got from the grocery store when I was young and working my first job out of college.  To me, a muffin was breakfast food, and it didn't matter if it was loaded with chocolate (and sugar and fat) and bigger than my fist.  And really, it DIDN'T matter, because I was still a twig no matter what I ate.  Well, those days are long gone, and even if I wanted to put something like that in my body, I couldn't.  Not and get away with it.

So here was a chance to make a chocolate muffin that I could eat for breakfast.  (Yes, I made this into muffins.) This recipe is low in sugar, low in fat, and has a lot of zucchini in it (though I'm not sure that's adding any nutritional value to speak of.)  However, it still had chocolate and white flour, so doctoring was still required.  I'm okay with straight cocoa -- that's good for you.  I had to get rid of the chocolate chips, though.  Not for morning chow.  (Besides, you can't judge the "chocolateyness" of anything if it's loaded with chocolate chips.  I wanted to see what kind of chocolate punch this recipe had on its own merit.)  I added walnuts instead, but immediately wished I had used raisins.  I also switched out almost all the white flour for whole wheat.

I keep only olive oil and peanut oil in the house, neither of which was very appropriate for this recipe.  That's what I had, though, so that's what I used:  about 2:1 peanut to olive oil.  Nonetheless, I thought I could taste the olive oil in the batter, and it didn't taste good.  I was concerned.  Besides that, the batter was just plain unsightly.  A ghastly grayish brown, thick with green and white strings.  I was not impressed.

I made half the recipe, which produced 9 moderately-small muffins that turned out surprisingly good.  The weird olive oil taste in the batter was not detectable in the final product.  The whole wheat also went unnoticed.  They were pleasantly sweet without being cloyingly cake-like, and decently chocolatey.  I do wish I'd used raisins instead of nuts, or nothing.  The nuts were okay, but just didn't add anything.  (I usually like nuts to cut some of the sweetness in baked goods and add texture, but it was unnecessary with these.)

Coincidentally, I bought whole wheat chocolate zucchini muffins from a small, local bakery yesterday, and they weren't nearly as good.  They were spongy, and not especially chocolatey.  I felt smug.

Conclusion:  I'll need to play around with this recipe a bit, but I think it has a lot of promise. There's a chocolate muffin recipe on the KA site that is similar, but I think sweeter and more cake-like.

Recipe:  Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread via King Arthur Flour


  1. The chocolate chips definitely put this recipe in the realm of desserts, albeit a delicious one. I'm glad your muffins were tasty in the end....they certainly look it.

  2. They look awesome. I love how you experimented with this recipe. I've used "light" olive oil in baked goods before without any olive taste to them. I like Extra Virgin Olive Oil straight up (typically with bread). They look moist considering you used all WW flour. Let us know when you're done "tweaking" the recipe :o)

  3. The more chocolate, the better for me, but I do believe in tweaking a recipe so that it meets your needs.
    Don't worry about the olive oil next time, Maria Speck, author of the amazing "Ancient Grains for Modern Meals", uses it all time in her sweet pastry, and you really don't taste it, after it's baked.

  4. Your muffins turn out great with the changes you've made. Olive oil is expensive over here, so I will usually use canola oil for baking.
    Making the bread into muffins is a good idea, makes serving much easier.

  5. Great job on making these muffins more healthy!