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Zucchini Muffins

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Great muffins tread that boundary between breakfast and dessert delicately. These are no exception: sweetened just enough so you can taste the sugar, but not enough that you feel leaden after eating a couple. There is plenty of zucchini strewn throughout, making the muffins moist and tender and freshly speckled with color.

To give the muffins a bright flavor, orange zest is rubbed in sugar to impart a citrusy note. Extra-virgin olive oil can be substituted with other neutral oils, coconut oil, or even butter. Yogurt adds a bit of tanginess and added fat and moisture and helps to bloom the flavors of both extracts and dry spices during the bake.

If you love nuts in your muffins, add nuts! My favorite is toasted pecans, but walnuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds are all great. If you love chocolate, add chocolate! This muffin recipe can take up to 1 cup of total additions, but you will end up having a baker’s dozen of 13 muffins! For a quick hack, line a metal heatproof measuring cup with a muffin liner and bake it alongside with your 12-cup muffin tin to bake all 13 muffins in one go.

Once you've made a batch, be sure to drop us a comment down below and let us know your thoughts!

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Yields: 12 - 14
Prep Time: 0 hours 20 mins
Total Time: 1 hour 0 mins
3/4 c.

(154 g.) granulated sugar

1 tsp.

finely grated orange zest 


large eggs

1/2 c.

(120 g.) extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 c.

(60 g.) whole plain yogurt 

2 tsp.

pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp.

almond extract (optional)

2 c.

shredded zucchini (from 1 large or 2 small zucchini)

1 c.

(120 g.) all-purpose flour

3/4 c.

(90 g.) rye flour

1 1/4 tsp.

baking powder

1 tsp.

ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp.

baking soda

1/2 tsp.

kosher salt

1/4 tsp.

freshly grated nutmeg

1 c.

dark chocolate chips or chopped nuts (optional)

2 tbsp.

turbinado sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 375° and line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, rub together granulated sugar and orange zest with your fingers until sugar is yellow in color. Whisk in eggs, oil, yogurt, vanilla extract, and almond extract, if using, until smooth. Fold in zucchini, flours, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg until no large dry spots remain. Fold in chocolate and nuts, if using, until evenly combined.
  3. Divide batter among muffin liners (about 3 tablespoons each), then sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake until muffins are golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes. 
  4. Let muffins cool in pan before serving. 
  5. Make Ahead: Muffins can be made 1 month ahead. Arrange in a single layer on a sheet tray and freeze until solid. Transfer to a resealable container or bag and keep frozen. Defrost to serve as needed.

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June Xie

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