I am certainly not the first mom to sneak veggies into sweet breads or muffins and try to convince herself that she won a point in the epic battle of getting her kid to eat more green stuff. My younger (3-year-old) daughter gleefully munches on kale chips, steals green beans from others’ plates, and chooses the fruit cup over french fries at restaurants. Her older sister has a very limited repertoire of “edible” veggies.
The other night, when forced to eat just one green bean, I saw her give it her all and fight back gag reflexes as she tried to choke it down. She wasn’t even trying to be dramatic (this time). I decided to look for other ideas and spent the evening making these muffins. I substituted some whole wheat flour for white, added milk in place of oil, reduced the sugar, added extra zucchini. With each step I convinced myself that I was making great strides toward crafting a healthy, veggie snack.
The morning after I baked the muffins, I made my little kindergartener close her eyes before I treated her to the first bite. She loved it. The batch was so big that I froze a dozen and have been doling the muffins out in school lunches. I know there is still a big dose of sugar in this recipe. My plan (now that I have her hooked) is to keep wheedling down the sugar and sneaking in other healthy things. I will find the tipping point at which a muffin moves further and further from the cupcake end of the scale and can truly be a health food. The question is, how long can I keep Mini Whipped on the bandwagon?
In the meantime, we are enjoying this recipe and rather than looking at it as a substitute for a side of vegetables, I’m excited it is satisfying as a dessert that happens to have a few veggies and whole grains hidden inside.
Yields 20-24 muffins (depending on size)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Measure both flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and raisins into a bowl. Stir with a whisk to incorporate. (Adding the raisins to the flour coats them and keeps them from clumping together.)
3. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs and add milk, vegetable oil, both sugars, and vanilla. Add sifted ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in zucchini. Pour batter into greased muffin tins, filling each cup half way.
4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted in center comes clean or until top of muffin bounces back when touched, 20-22 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove muffins and cool completely.