I can't remember the last time that I made zucchini bread (except maybe this mocha zucchini cake), but when Alex and I were preparing to take a long trip out of town a few weeks ago and I found a huge zucchini in my fridge during a pre-vacation clean out, I couldn't let it go to waste. I don't think Alex has ever eaten zucchini bread and to say that he was weirded out by the idea is an understatement. I, on the other hand, used to eat this bread all summer long as a kid because my mom's garden produced more zucchini than any normal family could have ever eaten.
The big difference between this recipe and the bread that I'm used to eating is that these zucchini muffins are a healthier version of that traditional recipe. I rounded out the regular flour with some whole wheat to up the healthy fiber. And I cut down the sugar that might normally be included and added some pure maple syrup to the mix. The maple syrup has great natural sweetness, but also has a flavor that really compliments the dates and pecans that I added to the muffins. I love those two ingredients together, but they work really well in these muffins too because-- while zucchini is a green vegetable-- it actually has a very mild flavor. Instead, the zucchini really just adds amazing moisture and texture to these muffins.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups shredded zucchini (unpeeled)
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 cup dry pitted dates, chopped
- 1 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin pan by either lightly coating the cups with cooking spray or lining each with paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine flours, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well until ingredients are incorporated and create a well in the center of the mixture. Set aside.
In a second bowl, combine eggs, zucchini, sugar, oil, and maple syrup. Pour into the well of the dry ingredients and stir until the entire mixture is moistened. Do not overmix.
Fold in the chopped dates and pecans. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup about 1/2 to 2/3 full.
Bake for 27-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Makes about 18 muffins.