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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Zucchini Cherry Muffins with Granola

It's that time of year again, when everything's green, green, green, farmer's markets are overflowing with bountiful fresh produce, and everyone and their grandmother has a boatload of zucchini. 



This all cost maybe $5 from my weekly farmer's market - score!

I became a zucchini convert last year and now love zucchini bread. I love every kind of bread or muffin, but anything chock full of veggies that tastes sweet? I'll take three, please. 


So when I got ahold of two massive zucchinis for only $1.50, I knew exactly what I was going to do with one of them. Not simply zucchini bread, but zucchini muffins. I love making muffins because they're adorable, perfectly portioned, and serve one. 

Unless, you know, you end up eating three in one day. 

And nibble on them even after you stuck them in the freezer to hide them from yourself.

 Yep. They're that good. 


These are a little different from your usual recipe because in addition to being muffins, they have dried cherries, chia seeds, and bananas for a little grown up twist. And because I wanted to make them vegan. And because we were out of eggs. 



These are also extra special because they have a crunchy coconut granola topping. LOVE Grown Foods granola to be exact!



I gushed over my love for this granola, but I loved it even more after sprinkling on these muffins. And I may or may not have eaten the tops off of two straight out of the pan....try to resist. I DARE you.




Vegan Zucchini Muffins
[Adapted from the Bread Beckers Recipe Collection]

Makes 24 muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
2 bananas, mashed
1/3 cup honey
2 chia eggs,  (2 Tbsp. chia seeds + 6 Tbsp. water or you can use 2 real eggs instead)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 dried cherries
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (pastry or regular; pastry will give you a fine, lighter texture. Whole wheat will be denser and heartier.)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup Cranberry Pecan LOVE Grown Foods granola (or any type you like!)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and spray muffin pan with cooking spray or grease with butter/oil. 
  2. If using chia seeds, add 2 Tbsp. chia seeds to 6 Tbsp. cold water in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes; it will thicken up with a gel, egg-like consistency. If using real eggs, skip this step. 
  3. Add honey to mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl and stir in chia/real eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Grate zucchini and add to mixture -careful not to accidentally grate your fingers. You want full concentration during this step!
  5. Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and pour into wet mixture. Stir gently; fold in dried cherries and 1/4 cup of granola for a bit of crunch in the actual muffin, if you want. 
  6. Scoop into muffin pan (I used a generous-sized ice cream scoop) and sprinkle with granola on top. 
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, keeping an eye on the tops of the muffins so they don't burn. You may have to adjust the cooking time and add 10-15 incremental. The muffins should be moist but not still a wet mixture.
  8. Once done, remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 20-25 minutes.


Hmm, moist muffin with crisp, crunchy coconut and granola on top? Yes, please. 

 (Note: because of their moisture, these are best eaten within two days or stored in the freezer)


Plate 'em up and eat them for breakfast, on the go, as a snack, for pre-workout fuel. Tie a pretty ribbon around them or stack them in a jar for a friend. 

And try to not eat just one. Dare you. ;)

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