Healthy, delicious muffins that are easy to throw together, full of fabulous flavor and great way to use up that plethora of zucchini!
Just a friendly reminder (or perhaps I should say, ominous warning): it won’t be long; at least here in the northern hemisphere, before there will be a serious zucchini epidemic. Of exceedingly great proportions.
It happens every year. It seems like summer, with it’s wonderful abundance of fresh produce,will never arrive; and then suddenly, it’s here and the plethora of fruits and veggies of every shape, size and hue is almost overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but sometimes it sets my brain spinning, trying to decide what to do with all the delicious stuff.
Especially zucchini. If they held a Summer Veggie Proliferation Contest, I’m quite sure zucchini would be the grand prize winner, every time! It grows like a weed, and just about overnight, a tiny blossom is magically transformed into a full grown, ready to pick, zucchini. And heaven forbid, if you miss picking it that first day, you’ll come back to a green giant so big, you might as well rent a trailer to haul it away.
Although I don’t have a veggie garden of my own, it really doesn’t matter as it seems there are always plenty of friends who are happy to unload their plentiful harvest on a cooking aficionado, like this one. You probably have the same situation or at the very least, a market nearby where the green squash are sold at super reasonable prices.
That’s why, in preparation for this zucchini onslaught, I decided to have some fun with the Morning Glory muffin recipe I posted several months ago.
I swapped out the shredded carrots with an equal amount of grated zucchini and substituted diced, fresh pineapple for the chopped apple along with golden raisins for the dried cranberries..
I wasn’t sure how this combination would work in my (up to now) never-fail recipe but when I peeked into the oven after 20 minutes, I knew I had another winner. And another way to use up all those stray zucchini that happen to wander my way this summer. They were golden with rounded domes and a glistening candied pecan topping.
So, are the muffins tasty? That’s the most important part, right? Well, instead of telling you in words, I have a better idea. I’ll just share what happened at my house after we finished the photo shoot. I have a feeling, you’ll have the same scene in your kitchen, dining room, picnic at the park… anywhere, anytime, you serve these wonderful Zucchini and Fresh Pineapple Morning Glory Muffins!
Schmackalaka! – That’s what my mom used to say when something was really good!
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- For the candied pecan topping:
- 1 cup finely chopped percan
- ½ cup salted sunflower seeds , roasted sunflower seeds
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- For the muffins:
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple , drained
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, I have also used white whole wheat flour with good results
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspooncloves
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened, packed
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 3 large eggs
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil, I like sunflower oil, but any neutral flavored oil would be fine
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- turbinado sugar*, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 16 muffin cups** or line them with papers. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray or rub with a paper towel and a bit of oil.
- Lay several thicknesses of paper toweling on a work surface. Spread grated zucchini on top of paper towels. Roll zucchini up tightly in paper toweling to absorb excess moisture. Set aside.
- Combine pecans and sunflower seeds on the prepared sheet pan. Drizzle with the honey and olive oil. Stir to coat seeds with honey mixture (don't worry if the honey seems to stick to just some of the nut mixture, it will all come together in the oven). Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 4 minutes. Stir to redistribute and bake another 2-3 minutes or until pecans are light golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Stir once or twice during cooling to keep mixture from clumping together.
- In a large bowl (I'm talking really big), combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt. Stir well.
- Add the coconut and golden raisins. Stir well and the run your hands through the mixture, breaking up any small clumps of brown sugar, coconut or raisins that remain. Add drained zucchini and pineapple and stir again.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, orange juice and vanilla. Stir till smooth. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture, and stir until evenly moistened (mixture will be fairly thick).
- Divide the batter among the cup wells of the prepared pans, filling almost to the top (a little more than ¾ full). Divide the candied pecan mixture evenly among the muffins. Sprinkle each muffin with about ½ teaspoon of demera (or turbinado) sugar.
- Bake the muffins for 25 to 28 minutes, until they're nicely domed and a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the inner muffins comes out clean. I like to check them at about 20 minutes and if they are getting fairly brown, but are still a little doughy in the centers, cover them with foil for the remainder of the baking time.
- Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes in their pan on a rack, then turn out of pans to finish cooling. Wrap any leftovers in plastic wrap or place in a storage container***. If your want to keep them longer than a day or two freeze as directed****.
** I have several types of muffin pans, but I really love my USA 12-cup muffin pans. They're quite heavy-duty and everything bakes very evenly. The muffins and cupcakes seem to rise a little higher in these pans as well.
**** When I freeze any type of baked goods, I place them in the freezer on a pan, unwrapped. Once they are frozen, I throw them into a storage container. That way they don't get crushed or stuck to each other as they are freezing.
*** My favorite storage containers are these Rubbermaid ones. They stack so nicely and you get a ton of them in a set.