The first official day of fall has come and gone, but it’s felt like my favorite season for weeks now. Despite some hot days, the nights are chilly and the mountainsides are incredibly vibrant. Hikes are in Technicolor. My slippers are back on regular rotation, which I love! We’ve settled in with hot mugs of soup and even had the fireplace going once or twice already. I won’t say I’m ready for cold weather or snow, but after a hot, dry summer, this transition time is wonderful. It’s back in the running for my favorite time of year and I hope it lasts.
Pumpkin is the big star right now, but they’re not the only things being harvested in bulk in late September. The tomatoes are just at their perfectly plump peak. We can hardly keep up with our pepper plants and the cucumber overload. And most gardeners are looking for any opportunity to use up their zucchini! We didn’t plant zucchini this year, but it’s everywhere. Two words: zucchini bread. Yum! And what’s better than a little fall baking to kick off the season?
Zucchini bread sounds healthy because it’s made with a vegetable, but it can be heavy and oily. I poked around and found a good-for-you recipe that uses whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, and coconut oil as well as another of my favorite flavors: coconut. I started with the zucchini, using a box grater to shred it. Zukes hold a lot of water, so you’ll need to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Use paper towels, or better yet, a clean kitchen towel.
There’s something satisfying about the comfortable routine of baking. Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients. Combine dry ingredients with wet. That’s just what I did, using my Kitchenaid mixer to make it easier. When I had a well-combined bowl of batter, I added the grated zucchini and then a cup of shredded coconut. I love that you can see the green bits of zucchini right in the batter!
Instead of a loaf pan, I scooped the batter into festive paper liners in a muffin pan. The batter gave me 10 full muffins, which I topped with a bit of extra coconut (because I love it). I baked them for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick came out clean and the coconut topping had started to brown. Another bonus of fall baking: the heavenly smell that fills your home.
Of course, I couldn’t wait for the muffins to cool completely before devouring one. Blame the baby. I made an audible sound of contentment: Mmmmmmm. These muffins don’t need butter or any other spread. They are perfect, just as they are!
They’re just the right amount of sweetness, and the crunch of the browned coconut on top is delightful. These would make a great grab-and-go breakfast or after school snack. They are moist and light and delicious, and don’t seem healthy at all…but they are.
So that means I can have another one, right?
Zucchini Coconut Muffins (adapted from this recipe)
- ¾ cup flour
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Heaping ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 ½ cups shredded zucchini, liquid squeezed out
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup plain fat free Greek yogurt
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, plus more for topping
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients: flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In the bowl of a Kitchenaid mixer, combine sugars, coconut oil, yogurt, egg, and vanilla. Mix on low until combined. Add in the zucchini and combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and mix on low. Add the shredded coconut and mix until combined. Remove bowl from the mixer and give a final stir by hand to be sure all ingredients are incorporated.
Spoon the batter into the lined muffin cups. Depending on how full you fill them, you’ll get 10-12 muffins. Sprinkle a bit of coconut over each muffin. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the coconut topping is starting to brown. Feel free to eat more than one muffin before they’ve completely cooled. Cheers to fall baking and healthy treats. YUM.
Hungry for more? Check out the collection of recipes on the FOOD BLISS page.
The New 52: A recipe for each week in 2015.
One year ago: Harvest Couscous Salad with Spicy Maple Vinaigrette.