Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

'Tis the season for getting serious about working through the pantry and freezer!  

Yes, I know we still have a  long way to go until fresh zucchini  threaten to take over our gardens and kitchens again, but this is the time of year that I need a reminder to re-set the pace at which we are consuming what we put up last summer.  Over the past couple of years I've noticed that I have a tendency to not use up my frozen and canned garden goods as readily during the first half of the winter, necessitating a more aggressive approach for the last few months.  It must be an age-old winter survival instinct that kicks in and unconsciously rations out the supply.  

Unconscious or not, this is the time of year that I really do benefit from taking a good look at the contents of my freezer and pantry to figure out what needs to be used up in the coming months.  And it often involves an excuse to get creative or seek out new recipes to liven things up.  See, a re-commitment to use a bag of frozen beans a week isn't a bad thing! 

In fact, sometimes committing to using up what's in the freezer is a very good thing.
Especially when you discover you can turn a favorite chocolate zucchini bundt cake recipe into delightful muffins that will make even the snowiest of days feel a little more connected to the spring and summer months that are bound to follow eventually.  

The fact that you're using up last year's zucchini will be secondary when your house fills with the aroma!

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup oil
3 cups zucchini, grated (and drained, if using frozen)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1-2 ripe bananas, mashed (optional)

Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a separate smaller bowl, beat eggs and oil together and add egg mixture to dry ingredients, stirring until completely combined.  Fold in zucchini, banana, and/or nuts before spooning batter into prepared muffin tin.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  Yields 12 muffins.  

Recipe adapted from the Saint Paul Farmer's Market Cookbook

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