These Zucchini Muffins are loaded with zucchini and apple and are a perfect muffin for baby-led weaning, for popping in the lunchbox or for enjoying as a mid-day snack.
I think I've lost count to the number of zucchini muffins I have made in the last couple of weeks, this was a tricky recipe to get right. Many a dense muffin came out of my oven. Finally, I have a recipe that is moist yet fluffy, naturally sweetened and contains some veggies. Win!
HOW TO MAKE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS - TIPS AND TRICKS
Squeeze the Excess Juice from the Zucchini and Apples
I do this by placing the grated vegetables onto a clean tea towel and squeezing it gently. You don't need to squeeze all the liquid out, just the excess. I tried several batches without undertaking this step and they all came out wet and dense inside. NOTE: Don't through away the juice - use it in smoothies or sauces or just drink it (as my 4 yr old likes to do).
Soak the Sultanas in Boiling Water
Soaking is important to rehydrate the sultanas. Skipping this step will result in the sultanas on top to burn and give a bitter taste to your muffins. Sultanas that have been soaked are plump and delicious and really add to baked goods.
Preheat the oven, prepare your baking tin, measure your dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls, drain your soaked sultanas and squeeze your grated zucchini and apple all before combining the wet and dry ingredients.
Once the raising agents in the batter are activated, (when the baking powder gets added to the liquid mixture), you need to capitalise on this chemical reaction quickly so that the heat of the oven can set the air bubbles in place.
Don’t over stir the mixture.
Resist the temptation to over stir or beat the batter, it will cause your muffin to go tough. The final mixture will be lumpy, thick and looking messy (see below) It should only take around 10 -12 strokes with your spatula.
Keep an eye on the baking time.
Take the muffins out of the oven too soon and they will be sticky and uncooked. Bake them too long, and you run the risk of dry muffins. Every oven is different, so while you should still follow the bake time in this recipe, use a skewer to test your muffins a couple of minutes before the end of the bake time. Your skewer will come out clean if they are ready.
ARE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS HEALTHY?
The word "healthy" is very subjective and even experts have a differing of opinion towards its meaning. "Healthy" seems to be tacked freely onto recipes, packaged goods, and menus simply because more people will click on/buy it. I have seen many zucchini muffin recipes that I, personally, wouldn't classify as healthy but I do believe these to be. The reasons I give are that they...
- Show Children That Veggies Are Versatile and that they can taste great in various ways. Let your kids see you add zucchini to your muffins and celebrate it. This may help familiarise your child with zucchini, and familiarity is the key to building a fondness for a food. Zucchini is rich in vitamins and is packed with folate, potassium and magnesium.
- Sweetened With Fruit and vastly lower in sugar than most muffins, even "healthy" muffins. The sultanas not only provide a lot of sweetness, but they are also a good source of iron and provide some fibre and potassium. Apple also provides sweetness and are a good source of vitamin C
- Made with Whole Wheat Flour which contains all parts of the wheat kernel and has more protein and fibre than more refined flour.
FUSSY EATER TIPS
- GREEN BITS! -If you wish the zucchini to be unnoticed then you should peel the zucchini before grating. This will eliminate the green flecks throughout the muffin.
- Although I don't believe that children's only exposure to vegetables should be hidden (read more here), I can understand that if it is a daily battle you may wish to sneak some vegetables into snacks/sauces etc. If your child enjoys the muffins you can later explain that they contained zucchini and get them to help you make them the next time.
- WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR - If your child is not used to whole wheat flour then you can start with a ratio of 75% all-purpose/plain flour to 25% whole wheat. You can then slowly adjust the ratios in favour of the whole wheat.
- SWEETNESS - This is not a sweet muffin, my kids are happy to eat them without added sugar and so, therefore, I do not see the need to add it. If you think your child would only eat a sweeter muffin, you could add some sugar/maple syrup and then reduce the amount of added sugar each time you make them.
- SULTANAS - If your kids don't like sultanas you can miss them out but you will need to replace them with some other form of sweetness e.g. some sugar, maple syrup or chocolate chips.
HOW TO STORE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS
Before you store your muffins you need to make sure they are completely cooled down. If you pack them away when they are even a tiny bit warm, it will result in condensation and soggy muffins.
- Cool on a wire rack. If you leave your muffins in the muffin tray for too long they can turn soggy. Transfer them to a wire rack as soon as you can.
- Storing at room temperature - Store in an airtight container for 1-2 days.
- Refrigerating - Personally, I do not recommend refrigerating these muffins as I find that it alters the texture.
- Freezing - If properly frozen then the zucchini muffins will be good for up to 3 months. Make sure they are stored in an airtight container. You may wish to individually wrap the muffins in clingfilm/foil before transferring to freezable bags/containers. To reheat – just pop them out of the freezer and place them back in the muffin tin. Cover with foil and reheat at 170c /350f until heated through. Alternatively, allow them to thaw and then reheat them in the microwave.
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- 85g (½ cup) Sultanas
- 60ml (¼ cup) Coconut Oil, melted
- 2 Eggs
- 125ml (½ cup) Buttermilk (or ½ cup milk of choice mixed with 1.5 teaspoon lemon juice, allow to rest for 5 minutes before using)
- 80g (⅓ cup ) Unsweetened Apple Puree/ sauce
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 250g (2 cups) White Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 145g (1 cup, packed) Zucchini, Grated
- 135g (1 large) Apple, Grated
- Preheat oven to 180C / 355F and grease 12 cups of your muffin tray with cooking spray or butter.
- Place sultanas in a bowl and soak in boiling water.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil, apple puree, eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Mix them with a whisk/fork until they are combined.
- In a separate bowl add the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and baking soda. Stir to mix through
- Place the zucchini and apple onto a clean dish towel and wrap it around the grated veg/fruit and squeeze the excess juice into a bowl. NOTE
- Drain the sultanas.
- Add the dry flour mix to the wet ingredients and fold in gently until just combined.
- Add the zucchini and apple and fold in gently. Then add the sultanas giving it one more gentle stir.
- Divide the batter evenly between 12 muffin cups. Bake muffins for 25-30 minutes, or until the muffins are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
- OIL - You can replace with a different oil if you prefer.
- BUTTERMILK - You can replace with a milk and lemon juice mixture as described. The acidity is needed to react with the baking soda.
- SULTANAS - Soaking is importing to rehydrate the sultanas. Skipping this step will result in the sultanas on top to burn and give a bitter taste to your muffins. The sultanas are the main source of sweetness so if you would prefer not to add them then you would need to replace them with something sweet, a different dried fruit, choc chips, a little sugar or maple syrup/honey.
- FLOUR -I used plain whole wheat flour, I am currently living in Australia and find their wholemeal flour whiter in colour and it appears more processed than the wholemeal flour I was used to in the UK. I can not guarantee what the results will be like with less processed wholemeal flour as I haven't tested. The recipe will also work well with plain / all purpose flour if you prefer.
- GRATED ZUCCHINI & APPLE - I have tested this recipe several times and I feel that it worth removing the excess liquid from the zucchini/apple. If there is too much liquid the muffin can be a little wet in the middle. You do not have to squeeze them until they are dry, you just want to remove the excess liquid. A gentle squeeze should do this. (My son loves to drink the juice squeezed out) If your kids do not like to see "green bits" in their food then you can peel the zucchini before grating.
- APPLE PUREE / SAUCE - You can use homemade or store-bought, I'd buy unsweetened.
- STIRRING - Don't be tempted to over stir the mixture. The mixture should be lumpy, thick and look very messy. It should only take around 10-12 strokes with your wooden spoon.
- BAKING - Every oven is different, so while you should still follow the bake time in this recipe, use a skewer to test your muffins a couple of minutes before the end of the bake time. Your skewer will come out clean if they are ready.