zucchinichocolate

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (Healthier)

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These were a pleasant surprise tonight! While I’ve never made anything quite like this before, I mainly just wanted to use up some zucchini that I had frozen last fall (see “What To Do With Zucchini“).  We are attempting a No Spend Challenge for the month of February, with the intent to use a lot of the food currently taking up space in our pantry and freezer.

The hint of cloves/cinnamon make this recipe work very well! This is definitely a keeper.  If muffins aren’t your preference, this would also make a good chocolate zucchini loaf, or bundt cake.  Just increase the cooking time to ~55 minutes.

zucchinichocolate2

 This was a new (to me) recipe, slightly modified to suit the ingredients I had (and didn’t).  I actually didn’t have any honey on hand, so (right or wrong) I substituted a mix of white sugar and water.  I’ve also been experimenting recently trying to substitute palm sugar in place of brown sugar, just for kicks- I will say I think it worked here.

PREP TIME: 15 min    COOK TIME: 40 min   TOTAL TIME: 55 min    YIELD: 8
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup of plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (or mix 3/4 tsp of white vinegar with regular milk, and allow 3-5 minutes to sour)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups approx shredded zucchini (if frozen, be sure to thaw and drain excess liquid)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In large bowl combine oil, yogurt, honey, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk and mix until well blended.
  3. In separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Add dry ingredient mixture gradually to wet ingredients, mix.
  5. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips until just combined.
  6. Pour into greased muffin tins, bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean.
blueberrymuffins

Blueberry Bran Muffins

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It’s getting to be that time of year.  The time when fresh blueberries are plentiful and stinkin’ cheap in the grocery stores (compared to the rest of the year anyway).

And also, sadly, the time of year when it starts to cool off enough in the evenings that the idea of baking and using the oven isn’t completely unbearable.  I found this recipe  for Bran Muffins at the Joy of Baking blog and made some small adjustments, including adding some berries.  Definitely a keeper.

PREP TIME: 15 min   COOK TIME: 20 min   TOTAL TIME: 35 min   YIELD: 16
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar, unpacked
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp cooking molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup butter milk (or just add 1 tbsp vinegar to regular milk)
  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh! or if frozen, don’t thaw them)
Directions:
  1. Measure wheat bran and stir in the boiling water. Set aside.
  2. Combine the margarine with the brown sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Add the vanilla and molasses and beat until well blended. Add the wheat bran and beat until combined.
  3. Whisk together dry ingredients in separate bowl.
  4. Mix milk and buttermilk together.  Add dry ingredients and milks gradually to the bran mixture by alternating between the two, combining well after each addition.  Cover, and refrigerate batter for a few hours (or overnight).  {I, personally, skipped this step because I was impatient and thankfully my muffins didn’t explode… however I can see the value in waiting to allow the texture of the bran and oats to soften.}
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spoon batter into greased muffin tin or tin lined with paper liners.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Best Chocolate Cake

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Just as the title suggests, this is the best.  And you can finally stop bothering with anything else.  Yes, as far as chocolate cake goes, it really is that good.

It’s about that time of the year where there is a birthday or two happening.  We recently celebrated one last weekend; of course chocolate cupcakes were on the menu (a separate post about those is yet to come about those as they were SO much fun to decorate)…Not to brag (well alright, I might be bragging a little…) but I even had a text from a party guest the following day asking if they could come by for leftover cupcakes.

I’ll use this recipe for cakes and cupcakes, whichever suits the occasion.

PREP TIME: 15 min  COOK TIME: 35 min   TOTAL TIME: 50 min   YIELD: 3–9"
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (non hydrogenated) margarine, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
  • 1 1/3 cups boiling water
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream brown sugar and margarine. Add eggs and beat well after each. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Blend in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt); mix well.
  4. Mix dry ingredients alternately with sour cream to creamed mixture. Mix on low just until combined.
  5. Stir in water until blended.
  6. Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans for a cake, or into cupcake wrappers for cupcakes.  Bake for 35 minutes (for cake), or 20 minutes (for cupcakes).
  7. Cool in pans for approximately 10 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  8. Frost with butter cream icing, or your choice!