Eat your vegetables….for dessert

Eat your vegetables…for dessert

My family loves baked goods. Seeing how appreciative they are whenever I make desserts, I’m tempted to make them all the time. If it weren’t for my pesky nutrition based conscience, I’m certain that I would! Fortunately, I’ve started to collect some healthier dessert recipes that I can feel good about making (and EATing!) regularly. The most adventurous of these healthy desserts? Chocolate….wait for it….zucchini muffins!
I can’t take all of the credit for this recipe. I was inspired by, and modified, a recipe I discovered on the Spark People forums here:

Zucchini Chocolate Muffins

  • 2 c shredded zucchini
  • 1.5 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa
  • 3/4 c Splenda baking sugar substitute
  • 1.25 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/2 c fat free vanilla yogurt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla + a splash more (I love vanilla so I always add a tad more than called for)
  • 2/3 c mini chocolate chips

Step 1

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While it’s warming up, you can grate your Zucchini. Two medium sized squash will yield the 2 cups that you need for this recipe.

grate zucchini using a cheese grater

Step 2

Combine all of your dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, Splenda baking, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg (if you like it, like I do. You could also try a pinch of allspice if you prefer).

Step 3 

If a little vanilla is good, a little more must be better, right?

Combine your wet ingredients: yogurt, egg whites, vanilla 

Step 4

Add your grated zucchini to your wet ingredients. This is where you’ll really start to wonder if any of this will amount to anything. Hang in there! 

Step 5

Add the zucchini mix into your dry ingredients. Stir until the all the dry ingredients have incorporated into a moist, but stiff, batter.

Yup, that’s really zucchini and cocoa powder. You can do this. It’s gonna work!

Step 6

Add 1/3 cup of chocolate chips to your batter. You’ll start to feel hopeful again, because anything with chocolate chips is good. Even zucchini! 

Chocolate chips = magic

Step 7

Spoon your batter into your lined muffin tin. Sprinkle the rest of your chocolate chips on top of each little muffin in the making. 

Ready to bake

Step 8

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick placed into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.

See? It all worked 🙂

Step 9

This is the most important step of all. Do NOT eat them right away. Seriously! Why? When these muffins first come out of the oven, they taste a little, well, green. Like zucchini. But if you have patience, as the dough cools, something really unexplainable happens. Every bit of zucchini essence disappears and you’re left with a delightfully chocolatey, spicy, sweet muffin. Serve with a little cool whip and you’ll be quite pleased with yourself. I know I was 🙂
I think this recipe allows itself a lot of variations. I’m sure with a little effort, I can figure out a way to make it vegan (banana as an egg substitute, perhaps?) and possibly gluten free (oat flour should work just fine). If you happen to try a variation on the theme before I do, I’d love to hear about it.