Adapted from various recipes
My first post … ok, so here goes.
Watch me as I slowly move my toes over the edge, ready to take that leap, heart racing, brow sweating, legs shaking. No wait … that’s what happened when I went bungee jumping once upon a time, back in the day – (I thought it would ease the pain of turning 30 … it didn’t, but I screamed my lungs out, which is a good way to destress! It was the copious amounts of wine I drank later that made the pain go away!! Oh, that & the fact that I was on holiday in South Africa when all this happened). Man, how life changes & throws you in a variety of deep ends, all just as frightnening in different ways!
So … it is with giddy excitement & a touch of fear that I present my first recipe in this format. How ironic then that I should pick the humble zucchini as my star ingredient. You have to admit, it doesn’t exactly make you think, WOW! This said, this versatile little squash always seems to have a place in my vegetable crisper & our garden gets overrun with them, so I have had plenty of practice using them in all kinds of dishes.
Also, I wanted to make a recipe that is wholesome, packed with goodness but still deliciously sweet. It is no doubt a ‘sometimes’ treat, but the zucchini, nuts & dried fruit all add wonderful nutrient value for sweet tooths like my son & myself.
Zucchini, when grated, adds a subtle earthy flavour, lightly crisp texture, loads of moisture & is a fabulous compliment to the crunch from the macadamia nuts.
This recipe is easy, with only hand mixing required. You can keep in, substitiute or omit some of the dry ingredients, depending on your taste (or pantry). I love recipes like this because you really can make it to suit you!
You can also make this in loaf tins if you prefer. Just remember cooking time will need to increase.
Zucchini & Macadamia Nut Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting
(Makes approx. 24 Muffins or 12 muffins & 1 Loaf or 2 Loaves)
1 cup vegetable oil (I find wholemeal flour can be quite absorbent, so if mix looks a little too thick, add a little more oil – just a splash should do it)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
2 – 3 teaspoons cinnamon (depends on how much you love cinnamon – for me it’s a lot so I go for 3)
1 pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup roughly chopped macadamia nuts (or any nuts you prefer – walnuts are good, as are pistachios)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup sultanas (optional) – ( you might want to just add one or the other, or you might want to omit them all together)
Preheat oven to 190 degrees celcius (non-fan forced)
Line 2 x 12 cup muffin trays with patty pans – (or make sure you give them a good grease & flour).
In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Add in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla & mix until well combined.
In another bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as nuts and dried fruit.
Stir dry ingredient mix into wet mix. Divide the batter into prepared pans – I use an old fashioned ice cream scoop as this keeps muffin size consistent & is a little less messy. If you don’t have one, just use two soup spoons, one to scoop & the other to scrape into the patty pans.
Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Loaves will take more like 45 – 50 minutes.
Leave muffins in the tray to cool for approimately 5 minutes, then place on cake rack to cool completely.
Suggestions / Tips: Muffins at this stage, (un-iced), can be frozen for up to 3 months, if desired. They are great thawed, gently heated & spread with a little butter or margarine.
Cream Cheese Frosting
250 gm block Light Philidelphia Cream Cheese
1 1/3 icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Allow cream cheese to reach room temperature. In medium bowl, combine cream cheese, icing sugar & vanilla essence. Hand beat using wooden spoon or use electric mixer to combine well.
Using your preferred method – piping, dolloping, scraping etc. – spread icing over each muffin. Garnish with chopped nuts, if desired.
Refrigerate & consume within 3-4 days (if they last that long!!).
Cook! Eat! Enjoy!