07 September 2008

Making Over Martha Month: Veganized Cranberry-Zucchini Muffins

From Making Over Martha

As you may know, during the month of September, I am making over a selection of Martha Stewart's recipes to make them suitable for Altered Plates (my dietary restrictions). This lovely recipe comes from her legendary Baking Handbook. It's one of my favorite cookbooks for a number of reasons:

1. Loads of photos.
2. Great tips and advice.
3. Well-tested (and flexible) recipes.
4. Classic as well as uncommon recipes.

Martha's original recipe for Cranberry-Zucchini Muffins is not vegan, however it didn't take much to rework it to make it super-healthy and vegan. The resulting agave-sweetened muffin is excellent. I received high marks from friends who tried these today, just one day after baking. Right out of the oven (OK, about 20 minutes out of the oven), I couldn't resist trying one since they smelled and looked divine. I was not disappointed.

From Making Over Martha

I could see plenty of green flecks from the fresh, organic zucchini as well as the oozing cranberries that had burst while baking. I could definitely taste the vanilla and nutmeg, while the tangy cranberries and rich, crunchy walnuts made these muffins worth munching.

You really can't ask for a more tender crumb. I'm going to blame it on the olive oil (which you can't taste at all in these, as well as the whole wheat pastry flour). Overall, I'd probably give these an A for sneaky healthiness in a truly tasty muffin.

I made a few changes not only to the ingredients, but also to the instructions. Please bear in mind that I doubled the recipe because I had to feed a room full of friendly faces. So here is my version.

Cranberry-Zucchini Muffins
(based somewhat loosely on Martha Stewart's recipe in her Baking Handbook).

Makes 42 mini muffins and 12 regular-sized muffins.


3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/3 cups agave nectar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini (I used 2 1/2 small ones)
1 cup frozen whole cranberries


1. Line all your muffin pans with nice paper liners.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. If you're just making large muffins, set your oven to 345 degrees F. The mini muffins take much less time to bake, so the lower temperature helps prevent burning.
3. Sift together dry ingredients (except walnuts) into a large bowl with a lip or a very large measuring cup.
4. Fold in the walnuts making sure to mix them in well. They also help to better distribute all the dry ingredients.
5. In a separate, large bowl, mix together the agave nectar, olive oil, and vanilla until well blended.
6. With a big spoon or silicone spatula, mix in the zucchini.
7. Add the dry ingredients, mixing until just blended.
8. Fold in the cranberries for about a minute.
9. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out even amounts into your prepped mini muffin pans. Use a regular ice cream scoop for the large muffin pans. Your muffins will rise a bit, so make sure not to over-fill the cups. You're looking for about 3/4 full.
10. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake another 20 minutes, or until a bamboo tester comes out clean.
11. Let the muffins rest in their pans for 10 minutes, no more. Then remove them from the pans to cool completely on wire racks.
12. Break 'em open and enjoy!


Anonymous said...

I'd never think to combine zucchini and cranberries, but this does sound really good! Love the colors in your photo--that cranberry is brilliant :)

Amy said...

These sound so good! I'm going to have to try them out next time my muffin cravings strike.

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Ricki! Makes me glad I left the skins on the zucchinis. ;D

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Amy. The doubled recipe really helps when you want to freeze some for future muffin adventures.

Anonymous said...

Great job! These look amazing!

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Jenny! They taste great, too. :)

Tracy said...

These look delicious. I love flecks of dark red and green throughout!

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Tracy! They have a kind of creaminess to them that you just have to try. ;D

Alexa said...

What a great recipe makeover! The muffins look scrumptious and so healthy. My type of treat...

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Alexa!

Anonymous said...

Those look so yummy! Wonder if I could sub stevia and erythritol with a touch of honey. I try to stay away from refined, high carb sweeteners. High levels of fructose like that found in agave can be really hard on your liver and triglycerides over the long term!

Gorgeous blog, girl! From one health-conscious foodie to another... :)


Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Angela.

Actually, the reason I use agave nectar is because you can use so much less of it to sweeten thing than ordinary sweeteners. Also, it doesn't give me the awful aftertaste that synthetic sweeteners do.

I just don't like stevia at all, but that's a personal taste thing.

My triglycerides are low, and I've been using agave exclusively for two years now. My liver enzymes are also fine (had my blood work done pretty recently).

The low glycemic index of agave nectar has done really good things for me -- keeps my sugar cravings way down. Especially since I don't use it every day (more like once or twice a week).

When I bake for the blog, I normally try one piece and save one or two pieces for me, then bring the rest to friends' gatherings or to the co-op where I volunteer. I'd be HUGE if I kept it all and ate it. ;D