Tuesday, September 15, 2009

the dreaded zucchini

I remember absolutely hating zucchini as a child. It was slimy and, well, it was GREEN. Once I went to live in the dorms, where the salad bar is king, I found that raw zucchini was actually pretty good. Somewhere along the lines, my tastes changed and I could even eat it cooked. I prefer it grilled with plain old olive oil, salt, and pepper. Or in a baked good...bread, cupcakes, muffins, and yes, even brownies.

I'm pretty sure that if I'd been given zucchini in the form of these muffins or brownies, I'd have developed a love for it at a much earlier age!

Low-Fat Zucchini Muffins
makes 12 standard or 24 mini

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup brown sugar (can use more or less)
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, well drained
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Set oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners or spray tins with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl mix together first 7 ingredients. In a small bowl whisk together egg, oil, milk and vanilla.
In a medium bowl mix the shredded carrots with the crushed pineapple. Add in the oil/egg mixture into the carrot/pineapple mixture; mix well to combine, then add to the dry ingredients; mix JUST until combined. Add in the raisins and chopped nuts. Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin tins. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the muffins test done.

***You could of course take the up the non-healthy quotient with these and frost them with cream cheese frosting. Or you could put all of the batter into a bread pan and bake it for about an hour. Toast your slices and spread with cream cheese or ricotta. mmmmmmm....***

Zucchini Brownies
serves 24

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.

2 In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

3 Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners' sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

***The batter appears dry until you stir in the zucchini. DO NOT add extra liquid or eggs! If after adding the zucchini the batter is still dry, add a few tablespoons of water to create a thick batter.***

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