February 10, 2010

Chocolate Chip Walnut Zucchini Muffins

Muffins are the underdog in the world of baked goods.  Can one cute little cake serve as a savory breakfast, an tempting afternoon snack and a delectable dessert?  The mighty muffin is up to the challenge.  Case in point: these delicious Chocolate Chip Walnut Zucchini Muffins which satisfy not only your sweet tooth, but also put you on your way toward the five servings of vegetables we're all supposed to eat daily.  I made these for an office potluck and received rave reviews (I know you will, too).  Everyone was surprised that they contained zucchini!

These muffins make a hearty breakfast, thanks to the walnuts.  As a dessert, the chocolate adds just the right hint of sweetness; and who would have guessed that shredded zucchini is the secret for keeping these muffins moist?  For an even healthier twist, try substituting whole wheat flour for the white flour.  Just as delicious!  And remember, over mixing is the downfall of almost any baked good.  Keep the muffin light and airy by mixing the wet and dry ingredients just until combined. 

Chocolate Chip Walnut Zucchini Muffins
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or substitute your favorite nut)
1 cup chocolate chips (for sweeter muffins try milk chocolate chips)

Begin by assembling the dry ingredients in a small bowl (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nuts and chocolate chips).  In a larger bowl whisk the eggs; then add the oil, sugar and vanilla and mix again. Now add the zucchini to the egg concoction until thoroughly combined.  Next, slowly and with minimal mixing, add the dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture.  Be careful not to over mix, which will lead to denser, tougher muffins -- so not delectable.
Portion the batter equally into 24 muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes, or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

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