Monday, May 17, 2010

Zucchini Walnut Muffins

Recently I was asked to give some motherhood advice to my daughter's pregnant teacher. Among a few other thoughts, I mentioned that having a simple and quick muffin recipe was a sanity saver for me. I've really lost my taste for most processed foods, but with a young infant - or, frankly, with kids of any age - you really have to have some grab-and-go options unless you're willing to go hungry. That's not my game; I enjoy the delights of food far too much to go hungry!

My go-to muffin recipe is an all-around winner from a 1994 cookbook that I use at least weekly: Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day. A recipe titled "Muffin Madness" provides a basic set of wet and dry ingredients, followed by four different flavor combinations. Zucchini walnut muffins are a favorite in our house. Seriously, these are so delicious I never even had a chance to take a photo of a baked one! Give this a whirl. Then treat yourself to a lifetime of great quick recipes and pick up the book.

Zucchini Walnut Muffins
(adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day)
Makes 12.

2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
scant 1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 small or 1 large zucchini)
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, brown sugar, and vanilla;  stir in zucchini. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom. Gently stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until just combined, being careful not to overmix the batter. Fold in walnuts.

Spoon or scoop the batter into an oiled muffin tin, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and golden. (Reduce the baking to 10 to 15 minutes for mini-muffin tins.) A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

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