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A Tale of Two Muffins

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” (Sorry Charles Dickens 😂) Somebody’s garden had produced a bumper crop of torpedo-sized zucchinis and they had ended up on the staff table at work. So I brought one home. And researched keto zucchini muffins.

What I ended up with was two recipes. One was a sweet zucchini muffin with cinnamon, cloves and ginger, plus pecans for texture. The other was a savoury muffin with oregano and cheese. Both use coconut flour, which reduces the overall caloric content in comparison to an almond flour muffin.

I have tasted them both when warm and fresh. I like the cheesy one better. But it will be a whole different experience once they have cooled completely. I will let you know the verdict tomorrow. “

That was my Facebook post last night, but I have learned so much from making these muffins that it won’t fit in a Facebook post. So I will blog about it here…

I will cut to the punch line right away and say that I am not very happy with either of these muffins. But being a tenacious problemsolver, I will probably try them again with several tweeks to improve on the finished product.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Silly thing, but since this zucchini was enormous (about the size of my upper arm – really!), I grated it vertically, because I didn’t want to get the large and well-formed seeds in my baking. What that meant was that I had long stringy threads of zucchini instead of a shorter mushier result. Once baked, the stringy zucchini is still very evident and cutting into the muffins is like parting seas of spaghetti. Not particularly appetizing, especially in a “dessert” muffin.
  2. Both of these recipes used coconut flour, which I have little experience with. I knew that it was used sparingly in most recipes, certainly not in the quantities that regular flour or almond flour would be used. And that it was very desiccating, meaning that it dries out everything around it by sucking up the moisture. So each recipe had 3/4 cup per 12 muffins, resulting in about a tbsp of flour in each muffin. With the relatively large quantities of zucchini, butter and eggs in each recipe, they turned out quite moist, but the dry mouthfeel of the coconut flour still comes through.
  3. Hokey Dynamo!! What a battle to get them out of the baking pans! Maybe it’s a coconut flour thing – I don’t know, but despite using silicone muffin cup liners for the sweet ones and avocado oil spray in my pans for the savoury ones, they were both almost impossible to part from their receptacles. In fact, the only real way to eat the sweet muffins is to scoop them out of the silicone muffin cups using a spoon! The stuff sticking to the sides of the muffin pan or the silicone liners is as tenacious as an octopus, and clean up was grueling! Even after an overnight soak, the process of scrubbing the residue out of 12 muffin holes took over 5 minutes, and every time I would think I was done and rinse the pan, I would find more stubborn spots. Same for the silicone cups. That kind of struggle really takes the fun out of baking…
  4. The seasoning in both muffins was actually quite good. The sweet muffins used cinnamon, ginger and cloves, plus I skimped on the sweetener. I liked the flavour, but the texture of the zucchini strings and the dryness of the coconut flour make them less than ideal. The savoury muffins were a bit better in texture thanks to the shredded cheddar cheese, and the fact that zucchini strings didn’t seem as out of place in a “main course” muffin. They contained several tbsp of oregano plus salt and pepper, really bringing out the savouriness. I think I might add a pinch of garlic powder and onion powder next time.
  5. Keto baking doesn’t seem to fill the house with wonderful smells like regular baking. Maybe it’s the lack of sugar and the usual browning reactions that characterize normal baking, but I hardly noticed the muffins cooking. I baked them one at a time, so I should have been aware of wonderful sweet cinnamon smells, but I wasn’t. Weird…

So, I have solved the problem of the not-so-nice texture of the sweet muffin. I scooped the muffin out of it’s silicone cup, destroying it’s structure in the process, and put it into a fruit nappie, then poured a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream over it. Voila! Bread pudding! With the crunch of the pecan pieces and the sweetness and spice of the muffin, plus the creaminess of the HWC to damp down the coconut flour texture, it was pretty well perfect. Somehow the stringy zucchini pieces were more forgivable this way. It would probably be just as lovely if the muffin had been warmed up prior to the cream application, but I ate it cold from the fridge.

Bread pudding re-do

The savoury zucchini muffins may end up getting a re-do as fritters with breakfast, cooked in bacon grease and served on the side of bacon and eggs. Anything is improved with the addition of bacon flavouring, right???

My next try at zucchini muffins will have a much more concerted attempt at making the zucchini pieces shorter, either by grating them horizontally, or by cutting up the pieces after grating. And I will be experimenting with better ways to grease the cooking pans or silicone cups. Or maybe I will simply put it into a 8×8 or 9×9 cake pan and call it zucchini cake.

So, the moral of this story is to be careful allowing giant zucchini to follow you home…

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Cindy buck

    I make these muffins both all the time and only use young tender zucchini on the short shred. Parchment cups make it easy to get out. And bacon of course cuz, well, it’s bacon. Loving the blog! Cb

    1. Martha

      I bow to your greater wisdom… :-)) I will know better next time…

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