Zucchini Cherry-Cranberry Muffins

Two things inspired me to make muffins.

1. I had half a zucchini burning a hole in my fridge

2. Muffins are cheaper snacks than granola bars.

I learned during my limited budget week that homemade snacks are way cheaper than store-bought snacks.  Those granola bars certainly serve an excellent purpose and travel so well at the bottom of my purse.  But why would I eat on of those when I could have one of these instead?

I had originally planned to use a vegan chocolate zucchini muffin recipe, but I didn’t have chocolate chips and didn’t feel like dragging myself to the grocery store or writing up a list to make the trip worthwhile.  Back to Google!  And it returned Kathie’s Zucchini Muffins.  Her description sounded like what I was looking for.  “I was looking for something healthy the kids could grab for breakfast on the way out the door…”  But instead of kids it’s me and my husband.  I like to keep muffins in the freezer as a back-up breakfast option that only takes 30 seconds in the microwave to prepare.  I can’t even make oatmeal that fast!

I had to make a couple alterations when I realized I was almost out of cinnamon.  So I added nutmeg and ginger, who always play nicely with cinnamon in a recipe, and added some cinnamon chips for more flavor. I like chunks in my muffins, too, so nuts and dried fruit were a must.  Raisins, dried blueberries, and regular cranberries would probably be delicious, as would pecans or almonds.

These would also serve well as crowd-pleasing (yet healthy) muffins to share during the holidays as we travel and stay with family.  I love bringing gifts that I can eat for breakfast!

Here’s the recipe I ended up making:

Zucchini Cherry-Cranberry Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour

2/3 cup white wheat flour (or you could use all-purpose flour here)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp ginger

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups shredded zucchini

1/2 cup almond milk (or you could use cow’s milk)

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp honey

1 egg

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped into small pieces

1/3 cup cherry flavored dried cranberries

1/3 cup cinnamon chips

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400.  Line muffin tins with paper liners or spray with cooking spray.

2. Combine the whole-wheat flour with the next 8 ingredients (through the salt) in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.  In a small bowl, combine the zucchini, milk, oil, honey, and egg until blended.  (Tip: beat the egg first and then add everything but the zucchini, blend well, then mix in the zucchini).  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the zucchini mixture into the well.  Add the walnuts, dried cranberries, and cinnamon chips.  Stir everything together just until moist.  (Muffin batters don’t like to be over mixed).

3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.  Bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes or until golden.  Remove from pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.

  

Somewhere between pulling the pans out of the oven and setting them up for a photo, one muffin got lost!  In our house, it’s the gnomes that sometimes steal a muffin, a cookie, a bite off someone’s plate…which means that in order to bring anyone a dozen of these muffins for the holidays, I’m going to have to make a double batch.  And I am not upset about that.

Just to make sure they were still good, I figured I’d better eat one with my coffee right now.

What do you make or buy for inexpensive snacks?

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