*Fuel Friday ~ Chocolate zucchini muffins*

If you aren’t up to your eyeballs in zucchini, I’ll assume you live A) in Antarctica, B) under a rock, or C) in some other desolate region of the world where either it doesn’t grow or you live more than 200 miles from any other form of human civilization.

Joking.

But if you aren’t growing it yourself, I’d confidently bet that you have at least been given, or offered, some zucchini from a friend, neighbor, or over zealous new gardener that had no idea how much zucchini a single plant will produce in a season.

I love zucchini and it kills me in the winter and spring months when I have to buy it from the store because this time of year I eat it nearly every day. It is such a versatile fruit. Yep, if you didn’t know that, zucchini is technically a fruit but I still consider it a vegetable as do most in the culinary world.

There are so many fantastic ways to prepare it, and perhaps I’ll share a few of my favorites in the coming weeks, but as I discovered a few years ago, zucchini and chocolate pair together wonderfully!

First, let me give you a couple of tips on selecting, and preparing a zucchini to use, specifically for baking purposes. Smaller zucchini, like the size you find in the store, are better suited for eating raw (zoodles!) or in stir-fry’s and such. Home-grown zucchini often is left to grow a little larger than ideal so you’ll often get really large ones and they are great for baking with.

When they are larger, the skin tends to be a little tougher and they will be seedy. The skin is edible, and I did leave some on when I grated it, but I tried to use more of the fleshy insides. I don’t own a food processor so I grated it by hand. I cut off the ends and then cut it in half both lengthwise and across. I then scooped out the seedy part with a spoon. This recipe calls for roughly two cups of grated zucchini which was 3/4 of the one I had on hand. It will vary depending on the size you use.

CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE-CHIP ZUCCHINI MUFFINS

Ingredients:

2 cups zucchini, grated

1 cup flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour)

1 cup oats

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tbsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

3 eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 tbsp. honey

1/4 cup agave

1/2 cup milk (I use almond milk)

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate chips)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and coat a muffin tin with cooking spray. Prepare the zucchini following my tips above and set it aside.

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The grated zucchini will be added last.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, except the chocolate chips, and mix together. In a separate bowl, gently whisk the eggs together and then add the remaining “wet ingredients.

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Dry ingredients: flours, oats, cacao powder, etc.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and thoroughly mix together until well combined. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips last. Transfer the batter to the muffin tin, filling each space nearly full.

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Ready for the oven.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of one of the muffins. If it comes out clean, they have finished baking and can be removed to cool. If not, let them cook for another couple of minutes, keeping a close eye on them.  Let them rest for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to finish cooling on a rack. This recipe will produce a dozen muffins.

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The final product.

These muffins are slightly dense and while they are fairly moist right from the oven, they may dry out a little. I would suggest warming them up before serving. As a straight-up muffin, I added a little drizzle of coconut oil to mine before eating it. (Butter or nut butter would be an option too.) But then I did this:

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Oh yes.

Remember my Guilt-free Chocolate Sauce recipe a while back? You’re welcome!

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