I splurged on a carrot zucchini muffin at a coffee shop a couple weeks ago and have been fighting the urge to get another one every day since. That’s the problem with treating yourself, I find – once you start, it’s so hard to stop. This particular carrot zucchini muffin appeared wholesome, but it tasted enough like carrot cake that I knew it couldn’t become a regular indulgence. In my defense, it didn’t have frosting….but it was the size of a large grapefruit, so truly there was no way to rationalize it.
Since I was still craving them despite my internal pep talk every morning (“no, you don’t want that giant, sugary muffin – just order your coffee, get out of here, and go home and make a green smoothie”), I decided to try a healthier (and smaller) version at home. I did a quick google search, found a few recipes that looked good, and got to work. And by “work,” I mean, I used raw cane sugar rather than granulated, coconut oil rather than butter, and a lot more carrot and zucchini than the recipe called for. So work might be a strong word, but I did tweak the recipe a bit.
The recipe calls for just a cup of carrot and a cup of zucchini – I found that one small zucchini yielded well over a cup, but what was I going to do with extra grated zucchini? so I threw it all in. Same with the carrots – one wasn’t enough, but two was too much – I saved some of my carrot gratings to snack on but all in all I think I put in over three cups of veggies when the recipe called for a total of two. As I think you can see from the photos, it definitely looks like way too much – when you add the carrot and zucchini to the wet ingredients you’ll think you messed something up – but somehow once you add the dry ingredients it turns into batter (albeit, a very veggie-heavy batter).
You can top these muffins with anything you want, or nothing at all. My coffee shop muffin of course had a delicious crumble on top – I made these for the first time with just chopped pecans on top, but then when I made them a second time I got a little fancier and tossed the pecans with a little cane sugar, cinnamon, and coconut oil. Next time I might add a few oats just for fun. But they’d be fine plain too. I would really recommend doubling this recipe, as one batch won’t get you very far. It’s so much easier to rationalize eating them when they’re tiny and healthy – even easier in mini-muffin form (and when you eat a mini it really doesn’t count).
Carrot Zucchini Muffins (adapted from Gimme Some Oven)
Yield: 12 regular or 24 mini muffins
1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar or turbinado sugar
2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) coconut oil, melted
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated zucchini (approx. one small-medium)
1 cup grated carrot (approx. one very large or two small-medium)
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts, optional
1/2 cup all-purpose flour*
1/2 cup whole wheat flour* (I used whole wheat pastry flour, but regular should be fine)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
*or any combination of flours you want to total one cup. The original recipe called for one cup of white whole wheat flour, which I didn’t have on hand so I just used half white and half whole wheat. I think a little almond flour and/or oat flour would be really good here too.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line your muffin pan with paper liners, or spray with cooking spray (I would recommend “PAM for baking” as the muffins tended to stick to the liners – the PAM made your muffin pan look a lot less pretty but the muffins popped right out).
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, egg, and salt. Add in veggies and nuts (if using) and mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine. Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full. Top with extra nuts if you’d like.
Bake 20-25 minutes for regular muffins, 10-15 minutes for mini. Muffins are done when the tops are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a muffin in the center of the pan comes out clean. Let them cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.