Zucchini-Pecan Muffins

It was as though I’d received a mystery food basket – you know, like the ones chefs receive on the Food Network show ‘Chopped’. I searched through my freezer and refrigerator to see which ingredients needed to be used immediately, then thought about what to make with them. 
Pecans in the freezer and a couple of zucchini that were on the brink topped the list.
After some careful consideration, this is what I made…

Zucchini-Pecan Muffins ready to serve

Zucchini-Pecan Muffins                                                
Yield: 12 muffins


Ingredients:
2 large eggs
3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar (depending on your sweet-tooth level)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. (packed) grated fresh zucchini
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda  
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)


Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 


2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar and vanilla extract. Stir in the grated zucchini, oil and applesauce.


3. In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until combined.


4. Sift the dry ingredients into the egg-zucchini mixture without over-mixing. Fold-in nuts, if using.


5. Lightly coat each cup in the muffin tin with vegetable oil spray. Use a spoon or small ladle to distribute the muffin batter evenly among the cups, filling them almost to the top.


6. Bake at 350°F on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Insert a wooden toothpick in the center of the largest muffin. When removed, a clean toothpick assures the muffins are done.

Muffins just out of the oven

7. Place muffin tin on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin; allow to cool another 20 minutes.

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