17 January 2010

Zucchini-Cranberry Muffins

From January 2010 photos

I've spent a lot of time among zucchinis and cranberries in the past year, seeking to develop a tasty, healthy, vegan muffin that would do justice to this pairing. I think I finally discovered the secret ingredients: barley flour and whipped avocado. Previously, I used olive oil as the only fat, but now I am a true believer in the power of avocado as a butter substitute. Which is not to say that I won't use olive oil in some recipes, but for now, avocado is a dear friend in my baking efforts. And, barley flour? Well, barley, according to Dave Grotto, is good for circulation, digestive issues, insomnia, leg cramps, and migraines.

Dave, by the way, just came out with a new book, 101 Optimal Life Foods. I've been giving some extra attention to the book here because several of my recipes are featured in it. I've also experienced the results of eating optimal life foods since I became a vegetarian 20 years ago.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the format of the recipe as printed in Dave's new book is different than that of my Altered Plates postings (down to the use of the term agave syrup instead of agave nectar). Also, I never turn the oven on until everything is ready to be baked because my oven only takes a few minutes to come to temperature. However, I respect integrity, so below is the recipe straight from 101 Optimal Life Foods by David Grotto, RD, LDN Copyright © 2009 by David Grotto. The recipe is excerpted from the original book by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Zucchini-Cranberry Muffins
Servings: 12


1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup barley flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup agave syrup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup whipped avocado (easily done in a blender or with an immersion blender)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fiori di Sicilia extract (optional)
1 1/3 cups grated zucchini (leave the skin on for lovely green bits)
1/2 cup frozen or fresh cranberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two muffin pans [if you have 6-cup pans] with nice paper liners.
     Sift together the dry ingredients (except the walnuts) into a large bowl with a lip or into a very large measuring cup. Fold in the walnuts, making sure to mix them in well. They also help to better distribute all the dry ingredients.
     In a separate large bowl, whisk together the agave syrup, olive oil, avocado, vanilla, and fiori di Sicilia, if desired, until well blended. Ensure that there are no lumps of avocado. With a big spoon or silicone spatula, mix in the zucchini. Add the dry ingredients, mixing until just blended. Fold in the cranberries for about 1 minute.
     Using an ice cream scoop, fill the muffin liners. The muffins will rise a little, so make sure not to overfill the liners. Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake for another 12 minutes, or until a bamboo tester comes out clean. The tops should be golden brown.
     Let the muffins rest in their pans for 10 minutes, no more. Then remove them from the pans to cool completely on wire racks. Break 'em open and enjoy!

Nutrition Profile
190 calories, 7 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 190 mg sodium, 31 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein.

From January 2010 photos


Anonymous said...

This recipe makes me happy I am such a cranberry fiend and have frozen cranberries in my freezer year round :-) Zucchini is seriously one of my favorite veggies, so this sounds like a winner!


Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Courtney! Same here. Hope you enjoy 'em!

Sophie said...

These healthy muffins with zucchini's & cranberries look grand!

But zucchini's aren't in season right now here in Belgium. I will have to wait until August & use dried cranberries!

Anonymous said...

Muffins are one of my favorite things to bake and cranberry and zucchini is a wonderful combination I've actually never tried before! Can't wait to try this out :)

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Megan and Sophie!