How’s this for a contradiction? I love to bake, but I also value healthy eating. Baked goods and healthy foods don’t always seem to go hand-in-hand. Usually, I bake according to the principle that everyone needs a little indulgence (and you can always run it off), and I’ll have just one serving of whatever it is I bake and then give the rest away. But I do like the challenge of taking baked goods and making them healthy… or at least healthier than they would otherwise be. This weekend, I challenged myself to come up with a healthy alternative chocolate zucchini muffin. I swapped out the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat and most of the sugar with agave nectar. Just with those two steps, I incorporated whole grains and lowered the glycemic index of what would have otherwise been delicious, but pretty unhealthy, muffins. They also have zucchini in them – obviously – so there’s a vegetable for ya. And I cut the fat by substituting organic applesauce for butter. You’d never know. So there you have it – a delicious muffin recipe that’s heavy on the chocolate, light on the guilt.
Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
2 eggs (preferably organic)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup blue agave nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini
2/3 cup organic applesauce
1/4 cup skim milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (such as Green&Black’s Organic)
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the sugar, agave nectar, vanilla extract and milk, and stir to combine. Mix in the grated zucchini and the applesauce. Sprinkle the salt and baking powder over the top, and stir that in too.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and Chinese five-spice powder and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches. Stir until combined. The batter will be thick, but if it gets too difficult to stir, add a bit more milk to loosen it up.
- Prepare a muffin tin with liners, or spray it with a baking spray that contains flour (such as PAM for Baking). Using an ice-cream scoop, fill the muffin wells until you run out of batter.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the top of one muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool.
Yield: 12 muffins
Source: Loosely adapted from Simply Recipes