When life gives you zucchini, you make zucchini-ade! Ok fine – bad joke.
This week, my local CSA gave me zucchini and I didn’t have time to cook it for a meal but wanted to use it before it spoiled. So I figured – when in doubt – make muffins. With this recipe, you can use green zucchini or yellow summer squash, as the two have similar tastes and textures.
While I’m still reading about honey and agave sweeteners, I chose not to use either of them for this recipe. Although some argue that honey and agave nectar fall under the paleo-approved category, the jury is still out in my mind. A few articles I’ve read say that agave is really just high frustose syrup in disguise and not truly paleo because of how highly refined it must be before we consume it. And others argue that honey is acceptable in small doses. While I continue to do more reading, I wanted to make muffins that my anti-honey/anti-agave husband would eat so I used dates as a sweetener instead. These muffins turned out great (and tastes like moist bran muffins - so don’t expect something very sweet). I’ll experiment with other key ingredients but figured to maximize what’s in my fridge. This recipe would also be great with pureed pumpkin when they’re in season to add that nice natural sweet taste. Stay tuned!
Makes 30 mini-muffins
2 cups zucchini (shredded)
2/3 cups pitted dates (approximately 9 dates)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon apple butter
3 cups almond flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Separate egg whites and yolks and set aside. Take your raw zucchini and shred them. For 2 cups worth – I used 4 small/medium sized zucchini. Put shredded zucchini in a strainer and press or squeeze with hands to get excess liquid out. (Alternatively you can use paper towels but I find there’s so much liquid that you’re using too many paper towels and it’s a bit wasteful.)
Blend the dates until you get a finely chopped mixture. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, dates, cinnamon and apple butter. Once those are evenly mixed, add the zucchini and almond flour and hand mix thoroughly. Set aside.
Take your room temperature egg whites and put in a VERY dry bowl. I’m not kidding – not a drop of liquid or oil or yolk because it will interfere with the process of creating air bubbles in the egg whites. The egg whites will expand better at room temperature so you will get bigger volume from them.
With a mixer, whisk on high until a soft peak forms and the egg whites are not liquidy. (I tried using a hand whisk but this took forever and I felt it was a harder workout then Fight Gone Bad so to make it easier and faster – use a mixer.) Once you have a Cool Whip type of texture, fold the egg whites into the zucchini/flour batter. I do this slowly – one cup at a time so that the egg foam air bubbles are incorporated throughout the batter.
When you are done folding all of the egg whites and batter together, spoon the mixture into mini muffin pans. Bake for 30 minutes (you can always do the toothpick test to see if it comes out clean when you poke it in the center). Serve warm or at room temperature.
You might be wondering why separate the egg whites and yolks in the first place. When baking, especially for paleo recipes, you’ll need a leavening agent since baking soda and baking powder are not truly paleo. Beaten egg whites substitute as your leavening agent to make the dough rise slightly. If you didn’t do this, that’s fine too but the muffins will be a bit more dense and less ‘fluffy’. Enjoy!