Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate and Zucchini’
I’m enjoying this recent spate of muffin baking I’m on. As much as I adore my Kitchen Aid there’s something to be said for the ease with which a batch of muffins can be brought together. I also seem to be braver when it come to adapting recipes, something about the end result being distributed amongst 24 paper cases rather than the trepidation of all those ingredients going into the one bundt tin. The reduced baking time can be a bonus (although doesn’t quite leave enough time to clean the bathroom -thank god for portable kitchen timers) as is the reduced cooling time and the fact that they’re perfect for easy distribution. All of which mean that there’s time to whip up a batch before work in the morning rather than having to wait until the weekend in order to allow enough time for prepping, baking and cooling.
For a basic, and adaptable, muffin recipe I found this from Joy of Baking. I was going to play around, but then remembered the packs of blueberries in the freezer and used them straight off. The feedback was great and I really can’t stress how quick and easy it is. The important thing about making muffins is not to over mix the dry ingredients into the wet. A full explanation of why can be found on the link above, but 10-15 ‘stirs’ should be enough to incorporate the flour, you may still have the odd dry clump and streaks of flour, don’t worry!
I recently adapted Dorie’s Carrot Spice Muffins recipe to good effect, I think, starting with substituting courgettes for the carrots (I do love my courgettes). I worried, as I was counting out those ten to fifteen stirs, that there perhaps weren’t quite enough raisins or walnuts in the batter mix. But, the muffins were delightful with some bites delivering a nutty crunch, another the sweet taste of dried fruit with the hint of spice and moistness from the courgettes throughout.
Courgette Spice Muffins
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Carrot Spice Muffin Recipe
Makes 24 muffins
300g plain flour
300g wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp salt
120g light muscavado sugar (or light brown)
150g caster sugar
1 1/3 cup oil
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated courgettes
75g chopped walnuts
zest of a large orange
Preheat oven 190C
Grease or line muffin tins
Mix flours, spices, bicarb and baking powder in a large bowl
Add sugars, mixing so there are no lumps
In a large mixing bowl or jug whisk together eggs, oil, buttermilk, vanilla and orange zest
Add in the grated courgette and combine well
Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined, do not over mix, the mixture will be lumpy and there may still be traces of flour visible
Fold in the dried fruit and nuts and fill each muffin case nearly full
Bake for 20 minutes, transfer the tins to a cooling rack for 15 mins before removing the cases from the tins and allowing to cool completely
We’ve been really lucky recently with the weather, a recent glorious weekend coincided with the local monthly farmers market. I stocked up on rhubarb so I could make more compote for my breakfast. Another recent obsession, I don’t have a recipe as such, just chop, add to large pan with juice and zest of orange, vanilla pod, couple of chunks of ginger and some sugar. How much sugar? I like my rhubarb sharp, especially as I usually combine it with yoghurt and the sweet early British strawberries that are to be found right now. Clotilde from Chocolate and Zucchini recommend using 10% of the net weight of rhubarb used which sounds like a good tip. Cook the whole lot for 15 mins. Remove ginger and refrigerate when cool – delicious.
But back to the baking. As with any seasonal ingredient the blogs are filled with recipes meaning inspiration isn’t hard to find. As usual I was overwhelmed by choice but in the end I adapted the Rhubarb Strawberry Pecan Loaf from Smitten and it was divine. The only problem was the muffins that I set aside to take into work on Monday morning were so moist they bordered on mushy. They still tasted divine but these are definitely ones best eaten on the day they’re baked. There are a couple of comments on the original recipe about the moistness of the loaf and I can’t imagine how you would slice it, but the muffins meant this wasn’t a problem.
Rhubarb Strawberry Pecan Muffins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 24 Muffins
230g Light muscavado sugar (or light brown sugar)
1 tsp vanilla
187g plain flour
187g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
450g chopped rhubarb
345g sliced strawberries
75g chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 180C
Grease or line muffin tins
Beat together sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla and buttermilk
Combine flours, bicarb and salt
Add dry to wet and stir until just combined
Fold in fruit and nuts and distribute between the muffin cases
Bake for 15 – 18 mins
Transfer tins to cooling rack and leave to cool in the tins for 15 mins before transferring the cases to the rack to cool completely
I’m not a fan of courgettes, they were a staple of my student years, added to every stir fry, pasta sauce or bake that a limited student budget could conceive. There was also a scrumptuous courgette cake, sweet and moist from sultanas, filled with tart lemon curd and topped with cream cheese this was oft requested for special occaisions, but I’d stopped making it years ago.
A trip to the monthly Moseley Farmer’s Market in late summer coincided with lots of inspiration from other blogs and I bought lots. Unfortunately having them in my fridge exerted some kind of pressure on my psyche and I couldn’t bring myself to bake that weekend. However, I did discover a recipe for Zucchini Bread Oatmeal from Diet Dessert and Dogs and gave that a try the next morning – what a revelation! I have porridge every morning, I make up my own mix using Rude Health fruity date porridge as a base and adding my own mix of seeds, a bit of extra oat bran and germ , a little more cinnamon with a mixture of water and semi-skimmed milk. I didn’t think some grated courgettes would add much to the flavour, but it really is delicious – go on, try it.
The addition of a bit of grated courgette in my breakfast wasn’t going to make much of a dent in the enormous specimens occupying the drawer at the bottom of my fridge so I went through the recipes I’d flagged and came up with two that I thought would put them to good use.
The Chocolate Zucchini cake from Simply Recipes is one Elise adapted from the appropriately named Chocolate and Zucchini and I toggled between the two recipes and mine is an amalgam of the two. It’s not the prettiest and is predominately a chocolate cake but with a lovely moistness that comes from all that veg. No one at work believed that there were courgettes in there, but all enjoyed it.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Adapted from Simply Recipes and Chocolate and Zucchini
- 1 1/2 cups of plain flour
- 1 cup wholemeal flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 2 1/2 Tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 Tsp bicarbinate of soda
- 1 Tsp salt
- 1 Tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup soft butter
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 cup soft brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 Tsp vanilla extract
- Grated zest of one orange
- 2 cups coarsely grated courgettes
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 100g chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)
I didn’t bother with a glaze but there’s one should you wish to add it.
- Heat Oven to 350F
- Mix the flours, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb, salt and cinnamon
- Beat the butter and sugars until smooth
- Add eggs to butter and sugar beating well
- Stir in vanilla, orange zest and courgettes
- Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk in three batches
- Spoon into a greased and flour coated bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean – if you don’t have a bundt tin, firstly get one because they are great, secondly this mixture should make two loaf tins, check after 30 mins.
- Cool for about 15 mins in the tin before turning out to cool completely on a rack
To contrast the safe, hidden (but delicious) use of the courgettes in chocolate cake recipe enough I also made Special Zucchini Bread from 101 Cookbooks. I adored this, the combination of spices, citrus, nuts and ginger was just delicious, the texture too was so moreish, a little something different in each mouthful. I used soft brown sugar I left out the poppy seeds as I didn’t have any but I did have a jar of Raz el Hanout so used that, as suggested, in place of the curry powder. The smells from the oven while this was baking were amazing, and whilst it was cooling I spent a fair amount of time picking off bits of toasted walnut to eat – just to check you inderstand. Pop over to the site for the recipe – you won’t regret it.