Double Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
I’m a neglectful mother, at least to the fruits and vegetables in my garden of late. My poor zucchini were abandoned for a month in a tangle of tomato plants and grew into something better suited to hitting baseballs than being cooked into a tender saute. Just last week, I harvested three of them, determined to coax their firm flesh and seedy interiors into something worth eating.
My first experiment was at the suggestion of a neighbor who told me that overgrown zucchini can be cooked down with brown sugar and cinnamon and then mashed into a sweet compote, akin to applesauce. I dutifully cubed and cooked up 10 whole cups, excited that I was onto something BIG. Once finished, the kids and I eagerly dug in, but stopped short after one bite. “Squashsauce” was a total bust and found it’s way pretty quickly into the compost.
Luckily, my next attempt more than made up for that first failure, resulting in these Double Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes. Moist, chocolatey, just sweet enough, the kids loved them. If you take a bite with your eyes closed, you’d never suspect vegetables were part of the equation (as an aside, eating chocolate with your eyes closed is highly underrated).
The treats are decadent enough to qualify as a birthday cupcake, but wholesome enough for an afternoon snack along with a glass of milk (the mini size are good for littler appetites). A full cup and a half of zucchini goes into the batter, along with whole wheat flour, yogurt, and just enough chocolate chips for good measure. Shower the finished cakes with confectioners’ sugar to pretty them up or spread with frosting if you’re looking for a dressier affair. You can also bake the batter in a loaf pan and drizzle it with melted chocolate.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure whether to call these cupcakes or muffins; I suppose they could qualify as either. Whatever they are, Chocolate Zucchini Cupakes are bound to be an improvement over store bought, particularly on the nutrition front. These weigh in at about 200 calories each (80 for the mini size), which isn’t bad, especially when you consider that a chocolate muffin from Starbucks is nearly 500 calories, the ones from Dunkin’ Donuts and Costco, top 600.
With late-season zucchini abundant in markets, now is a good time to get baking. A couple of medium zucchini will more than suffice for the recipe. And don’t worry, you needn’t scare up a neglected, overgrown one to make it, but if you’d like, I’ve got plenty to go around. Come over.
Note: You might also like this Sneaky Chocolate Bundt Cake made with beets and zucchini.
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CUPCAKES