Chocolate zucchini muffins aren't usually too hard a sell for kiddos (even those who claim to not like green veggies will munch away), but just adding a bear face makes them irresistible. These vegan muffins also make the most of a plentiful bumper crop of zucchini and are a fun, healthier treat for harvest festivals, birthday celebrations, or anytime you want to infuse a little whimsy into baking time. Kids will love decorating the bear faces -- we used nuts and chocolate chips, but let your imagination go wild. Read on for a kid-friendly muffin recipe that is hearty, filling, and packed with zucchini (and gives you an excuse to eat a double dose of chocolate for breakfast or snack time).
1. Gather the ingredients.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup organic cane and 1/2 cup coconut sugar, but you can try all of one or the other or use brown sugar)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 3 tsp egg replacer, mixed with 4 Tbsp warm water to make a slurry
- 1 medium zucchini, shredded (about 2 cups when shredded)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp safflower oil
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, plus more for decoration
- sliced almonds, cashew pieces, macadamia nuts, and/or other desired bear face decorations
2. Mix the dry ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix the all purpose and whole wheat pastry flours, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and sea salt.
3. Make the wet zucchini mixture.
Mix the egg replacer with 4 Tbsp water to make 2″eggs.” In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the “eggs,” shredded zucchini, almond milk, safflower oil, and almond milk.
4. Make the batter and add the chocolate chips.
Add the wet zucchini mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until moistened, trying not to overmix. Add in the chocolate chips.
5. Bake the muffins.
Fill the cupcake/muffin liners or greased cupcake tins with batter (until about 3/4 of the way full). Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the tins for about 5 minutes, then place on wire rack.
6. Decorate the muffins.
While the muffins are cooling, prepare your decorations. You can use a variety of nuts for the ears, nose, and eyes. I liked using 1/2 of a macadamia nut for the nose, dotted with a little melted chocolate. For ears, I used pieces of cashew nuts. I added a little melted chocolate as “glue” and then add a chocolate chip to each eye. Put a sliced almond on either side of the head for ears. I didn’t have sliced almond on hand, so I blanched almonds and removed their skins to make them softer and easier to cut.
While muffins are still warm, add the decorations.
7. Let cool and serve.
Let the muffins cool and serve. Makes 12 bear muffins. Enjoy!
Note: Keep muffins in an airtight container for up to two days or refrigerate up to 4 days.