Zucchini is omnipresent throughout the entire summer and into fall. It fills the grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and maybe even your garden if you’re lucky enough to have one. The abundance of this tasty vegetable makes me want to use it every way possible. It’s tasty roasted, in frittatas, in Cabbage Slaw, deep fried (though I’ve never made it that way; I leave that to restaurants), and definitely in zucchini bread. Leave it to me to turn a savory vegetable into a sweet treat for breakfast, brunch, snack, anytime, really.
I remember eating zucchini bread when I was a child, but I can’t quite pinpoint where. Perhaps from a bakery. Maybe my mom made it. Or a friend gave us some. Mom says Granny used to make the best zucchini bread, but the recipe is nowhere to be found. I hope it turns up one day because I would so love to try her recipe. But until then, I turned to my trusty Good Housekeeping Cookbook, the first cookbook I bought, and found a recipe there. I made some modifications, and I hope it might be like Granny’s, and even if it’s not, I hope she’d like it.
This is a serious zucchini muffin. If you don’t love zucchini, try a different muffin recipe on the blog, there are plenty to choose from. But for those of you who love zucchini bread, zucchini in general, or are looking for something different to try, make these muffins. As much zucchini as the batter will possibly hold is packed into these muffins, making them moist and dense in texture, but mild in flavor to avoid overpowering the delicate zucchini flavor. A stiff, cookie dough looking batter turns into the nicest muffin batter once all that zucchini is added. Do not squeeze the juice out of the zucchini; it is very important for giving the batter and final product the proper texture. A bunch of cinnamon adds some complexity, while orange (or lemon) zest, adds a punch of brightness. The toasted walnuts (yes, they must be toasted) add a little crunch and the perfect muffin is born.
These scream summer to me, travel well, and freeze even better, so make a batch to share. Maybe it will bring you back to childhood as well.
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- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- Zest of 1 orange
- 3 heaping cups zucchini, unpeeled, grated on the largest holes of a box grater
- ½ cup toasted walnuts, very coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously oil ten cups in a muffin tin, including the top. In a medium-small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
- In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and oil. Mix in the eggs. Add the orange zest, and mix to combine. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients; mix with a spoon or spatula. The batter may look really thick, almost like cookie dough; this is okay. Add in the zucchini and walnuts. Mix until fully incorporated. The batter should not be as thick, and should come together well. Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, fill the oiled muffin cups to the top.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag in the freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for several hours or in a 350 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes. When warmed in the oven, they will have a crunchy top and be soft inside.