, , , ,

It’s not that chocolates are a substitute for love. Love is a substitute for chocolate. Chocolate is, let’s face it, far more reliable than a man. Miranda Ingram

Here is another way to use up all that zucchini in your garden! This recipe comes straight from the epicurious website. I found it today in my search for the perfect… moist… chocolately… zucchini mmmmmmuffins. This recipe satisfied my craving and so it wins the prize! The lemon and orange zest give it that extra flavor that sets it apart from other recipes that I have tried. I only made half the cream cheese icing (and used only half of the sugar than it called for) and left the remaining half of the muffins plain.

2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 1/4 cups shredded zucchini
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
Zest (finely grated) and juice of 1 orange
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
11/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
8 ounces Neufchâtel or cream cheese, at room temperature
3 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 3 mini-muffin tins with nonfat cooking spray (or rub butter into your muffin stoneware).

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each, then add the buttermilk or yogurt. Whisk in the zucchini, lemon zest, and half the orange zest.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, whisking to aerate. Stir half the flour mixture into the egg mixture, then the other half. Fold in the nuts (if using) and distribute the batter evenly into the muffin tins.

Bake on the center rack until springy but firm to the touch and lightly browned around the edges, about 30 minutes. Cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then remove and let cool completely.

To make the icing, blend the cheese and butter in the bowl of a food processor until they are well combined and no lumps remain. Add the confectioners’ sugar, orange juice, and the remaining vanilla and orange zest, and process until smooth.

Ice the muffins with a knife (or forgo the icing if you’d like to convert these muffins from an after-dinner treat to a healthy breakfast). Serve the same day or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

I could give up chocolate but I’m not a quitter.

To keep squash fresh for as long as possible, handle it carefully to avoid bruising, and don’t wash it until just before use. If stored in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator, it should keep for 4 to 5 days.

Man cannot live on chocolate alone; but woman sure can.