Blah blah blah, my kid hates vegetables… Are you as tired of that refrain as I am? Tempted to start sneaking purees into your recipes, just so junior will get some nutrients—even if he has no idea he’s doing so? Well, don’t. Please. I’m pretty sure that the only way a kid can learn to like something is if he knows he’s actually eating it. Instead, give him a multi-vitamin and start using vegetables in new, tempting ways.
Case in point: Zucchini. Harry will.not.touch.it. Ever. Until the day he got wind of a little something called Chocolate Zucchini Muffins. I picked him up from school and whispered those magic words in his ear—he started racing off the playground before I’d even finished the question “go home and bake some?” On his way out, he invited a friend to come over and help—that’s when I knew, my evil plan to force my son to eat zucchini was bound for glory.
The beauty of these muffins is three-fold: First, they’re perfect for pint-sized helpers, since they’re stirred by hand. Second, they’re ideal after-school snacks, since the zucchini and whole-wheat flour adds just enough virtue to meet my comfort level. And third, thanks to Harry’s idea to use white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, they’re quite chocolaty without being over-the-top. Oh, and fourth, the recipe makes a nice big batch—enough for me to send some home with Harry’s sous chef and freeze a bunch more.
And yeah, apart from these muffins (which he devoured) Harry still hates zucchini. But I’ll keep trying.
Triple-Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
Makes 20-22 standard muffins, or 18 plus 12 minis
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup cocoa, natural or Dutch-processed, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk (OR 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder, mixed with the dry ingredients + 1/2 cup water mixed with the wet, OR 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, mixed and set aside about 10 minutes)
2 cups grated zucchini (use small ones, or if using large cut in half lengthwise & seed before grating)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line or grease muffin tins and set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, butter, and oil. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir in the vanilla, buttermilk, zucchini and chocolate chips. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups—each should be no more than 2/3 full. Bake 20 to 24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; rotate tins halfway through baking time. Cool in the tins for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
MAKE BABY FOOD: If your baby should happen to steal a bite they’re technically safe, but I wouldn’t hand over a muffin—babies don’t need added sugar.
All photos except the top one by Teru Kuwayama, post-production by Laurel Prince.