Zephyr muffins

on Monday, August 23, 2010

Let's be honest - you've never heard of "zephyr muffins" before, right? Neither have I. That's just what I'm calling these zucchini muffins that I made with zephyr squash. I pretty much see all squash and zucchini as being the same thing - just in different shapes and different colors. Now if you change the shape enough (go more to a patty pan), then you've got more volume-to-surface-area ratio, so you get a "more meaty" squash, and less peel. And then there's the Italiano Largo squash, that really are a bit different (they're more firm, and have a slightly nuttier taste maybe?). But if you shred an Aristocrat zucchini, a Zephyr squash, a Flying Saucers patty pan, a Butterstick summer squash, or a Horn of Plenty summer squash, and use it in a zucchini bread or muffin recipe, I bet you really won't notice much difference based on the squash.

I was in the mood for zucchini muffins for breakfast Sunday morning, and as you well know, the zephyr squash are producing reeeeally well right now. So "zephyr muffins" it is!

Now I have a reeeeeally good zucchini bread recipe I've tweaked over the years, but it's for a loaf pan, and I've never figured out what it would take to make it in muffin shape. So I leafed through some cookbooks, and settled on the Zucchini Muffins recipe from my The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, which really is a great cookbook! I've gotten some really good recipes from it, like making our own hamburger buns and potato-flour based flat breads. Definitely check this book out!

Anyhow, I actually made this recipe exactly as it is in the cookbook (and if you know me well, that's an oddity!). It had an option for using lemon zest or lemon oil, and I went with the oil since I have it. I actually used the walnuts and raisins - something many folks might've left out! I didn't measure the walnuts (pulled from the freezer, toasted in the oven, and lightly chopped in the food processor) or the squash (I used the smallest zephyr squash, which resulted in a little more than a measuring cup, I'm sure). Anyhow - here's the recipe - it's super simple.

Zephyr Muffins (aka Zucchini Lemon Muffins)

  • 2 cups (8 1/2 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • Grated peel of 1 lemon, or 1/4 t lemon oil
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup (3 oz) raisins
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) milk
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (8 1/4 oz) packed shredded unpeeled zucchini
Preheat the oven to 400F.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon peel (if using) in large bowl. Stir in walnuts and raisins.

In smaller bowl mix eggs, oil, milk and lemon oil (if using).

Make a well in center of dry ingredients and add the combined wet ingredients. Stir until just barely combined and then stir in zucchini. Do not over mix this or it'll make for tough muffins.

Spoon batter into a greased/Pam'd 12 cup muffin tin and bake for 20-25 min, or until muffins spring back when pressed with fingertips. Remove from oven, cool 5 min on rack, then turn muffins out of pan to finish cooling.

Now I have to be honest - I found these to be a little bland. Don't get me wrong - they're really good! But I might punch up the lemon oil in them a bit next time. Or I'm wondering what they'd be like with orange oil (or zest) and cranberries instead? Eh, I have a feeling that, before the week's over, I'll be playing around with my regular zucchini bread recipe and making it into muffins. ;-) I'm sure I'll post it here, whether it's in bread or muffin format - so keep checking back!

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