I have been pretty successful at severely cutting back my sugar intake. I try to aim for the recommended 6 teaspoons a day for women, but I just can't give it up all together. I need and crave a little sweetness on which to end my day. I need a bright spot after a day filled with crying, demanding, whining, and negotiating. I figure that a bit of sweetness is preferable to strong spirits or tranquilizers. My vehicle of choice is dark chocolate--70% being the sweet spot. The velvety taste on my tongue is simply magic and just a small square can right a whole lot of wrongs.
The discovery of this recipe this summer seemed providential. Zucchini can be found in abundance at the local farmer's market, and the addition of dark chocolate makes everything that much more delicious. I was also trying to woo my son, who had taken a firm dislike of the long, green squash for no good reason, that I could see. However, he finds chocolate to be as irresistible as I do, smart boy, so I hoped that love of chocolate would win over his hatred of zucchini. It did. Basically, biting into one of these muffins is like eating dark, moist, decadent chocolate cake. How could you not like that?
Only, here is where this story gets tragic. It appears that Enna is highly sensitive to chocolate. (And no, before you ask, I am not giving her chocolate directly. She gets chocolate the only way she gets any other food. Via breastmilk.) I eat something chocolaty and six or so hours later (I haven't really timed it), she finds it suddenly difficult to sleep. I indulge in a small portion of dark, chocolate pudding? She is up in the middle of the night for two hours. If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you will understand that I do not need another poor sleeper in this house of mine. My choice was this: sleep or chocolate. And although it was not a trivial decision, sleep won.
So, no chocolate muffins for me. Or chocolate anything for that matter. I am not going to lie. It is is rough. However, just because I can't eat these muffins, doesn't mean that you shouldn't. In fact, you should go make these right away while zucchini is still plentiful. Not gluten-free? Click on the original recipe. I have drastically reduced the sugar and switched to honey as a sweetener. I think they are perfect, but you might want to adjust the level to suit your taste buds.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
adapted from Simply Recipes
Elise from simply recipe states: "The recipe calls for 4 cups of grated zucchini, which will yield particularly moist loaves. I've made it with 3 cups, which was also very good, just not as sublime as with 4 cups."
3-4 cups grated zucchini (1-1/2 lbs zucchini)
8.45 ounces all-purpose gluten-free flour
2.8 ounces almond flour
1.5 ounces unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey's Dark)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons guar gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6.5 ounces honey
3/4 cup unsalted butter (12 Tbsp or 1 1/2 sticks), melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
1. Place the freshly grated zucchini in a sieve over a bowl to catch any excess moisture as it drains, while you work on prepping the other ingredients and preparing the recipe.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F, with a rack in the middle. Grease or line muffin pans.
3. Whisk together the flours, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, guar gum, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk until the ingredients are well combined.
4. In a separate large bowl, beat together the honey and eggs until smooth, about a minute. Add the melted butter and vanilla and beat until smooth.
5. Mix the shredded zucchini into the honey egg mixture. Add the flour to the zucchini mixture in 3 additions, stirring to combine after each addition.
6. Fill muffin pans. Place into the oven. Bake for 18 minutes at 350°F, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean and easily. Remove to a rack. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove.
Makes about 16 muffins.