Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Yesterday at the market I passed several large baskets overflowing with plump zucchini and noted that they were being sold for mere pocket change.

Then I remembered this muffin recipe which I had yet to post and made an additional mental note to get it out into your inboxes while zucchini is still cheap and prolific. I resisted bringing home any more zucchini from the market yesterday, but my kids are so crazy about these muffins, I’m know going to need to make a double batch before long.

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins are fantastic for breakfast or school lunches. Their flavour deepens after twenty four hours at room temperature, so they are just as delicious on the second day as they are served up warm from the oven. I’ve been making them in mini format for snacking as well as jumbo size for a filling breakfast-on-the-go.

Are you ready for fall baking? Let’s kick things off with a tray of nourishing muffins.

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Rhubarb Cornmeal Muffins and gaining perspective

I almost didn’t post this muffin recipe because they turned out a little flatter and uglier than I had hoped, certainly not ideal food styling material.

I was experimenting with a new recipe, inspired by my thriving rhubarb patch and spurred on by a craving for a snacking muffin with a tender crumb. Of course I was out of muffin tin liners, and so instead of pretty little round tops, the batter spread across the pan and fused together in the oven.

The taste and texture were there, though. Light and airy, spiced and moist, with tangy pockets of rhubarb, and crunchy addicting edges. What could be seen as a mishap could also be interpreted as a triumph.

Ah, these rhubarb muffins were a beautiful mess – and a perfect example of my life these days. With that analogy, I am bringing them to you, along with far more story than most of you probably care to read. If that’s the case, just skip to the recipe at the bottom of the post, because these muffins are worthy of your fresh rhubarb stash.

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Zucchini Apple Mini Muffins

This year has been the first year that I have been able to grow a really successful garden. I’ve tried many summers before, but the disappointingly meager results didn’t ever seem to justify all the time and effort spent on the garden.

This summer, I finally met with some garden success. My monster of a zucchini plant alone makes all the weeding and watering feel like time well spent. We are pulling one or two good sized zucchinis off the plant almost every single day. It is incredible!

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How to Have Peace, Serenity AND Breakfast in Bed on Mother’s Day

Most mornings, I make breakfast, but there’s one day of the year I like to have it served to me, in bed preferably.  That would be on Mother’s Day.

This gesture of love is too sweet for words, with adorable little waiters tripping over themselves to help and watching me eat each bite with pride on their faces.

Let’s be honest, though; there IS a downside to this Mother’s Day tradition, and I’m not the only woman to perceive it. In recent lurking on popular women’s forums, I picked up on underlying grievances at having to exchange a short period of relaxing and pampering for cold eggs and a messy kitchen to face after having dressed. (Not to mention hollering instructions down the hall to the kitchen. Raise your hand if you’ve done that.)

How can we make this much-deserved experience more enjoyable? [Read more…]

How to Make the Best Muffins Ever

“A bad muffin is as memorable as a good muffin is unforgettable.” Br. Peter Reinhart

The true sign of a good muffin is that it elicits a reaction.

It can be a sigh, a pause, or maybe a closer inspection followed by a question or comment–usually made with a full mouth. Every time I serve these Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Muffins, still warm from the oven, I watch out of the corner of my eye for the reaction.

No matter how chatty a group of girlfriends get over their coffees, one bite into these muffins and the conversation slows to a crawl; for the moment, attention is diverted from boy talk and baby names to a perfectly moist, flavorful muffin.

Occasionally, I’ll get a “I usually hate muffins, but…”

And oh, I have been there. I don’t think I ate a decent muffin for the first twenty years of my life, and I had resigned myself to a reality where muffins were dry, tasteless (or overly sweet), and no match for a good scone or sticky bun.

The summer I was twenty, I worked a job in a kitchen where muffin-making was mandatory, and I faced a challenge: the dry muffin. Many hockey pucks, exploding volcanoes, and moon craters later, I had a few recipes worked out that actually brightened up my mornings.

Here are a few things I learned along the way… [Read more…]