Saturday, January 25, 2014

Browned Butter Zucchini Carrot Muffins

I want to start this post by saying I don't in any way believe in "hiding" vegetables in food for kids who refuse to eat them. I am not going to give you advice as to how to get your kids to eat vegetables if that is the only way you can get them to do so, I am just starting this post by saying it's not my style to hide vegetables. With that said this is a great way to incorporate vegetables into a food most young kids will eat without a battle: MUFFINS!

I like to tell my boys what they're eating. So I say something like, "Would you like a zucchini and carrot muffin?". That way, they understand you can make delicious things with vegetables. We are lucky that both of our kids eat a pretty large quantity of vegetables without too much trouble, but we work hard at it.

These aren't typical sweet and fluffy muffins. If you want sweeter muffins you can always add more sugar, but I felt it defeated the purpose of a healthy muffin. I am not even sure if I make these again if I'm going to add any sugar, because they were a hit and barely sweet at all. They're strong in spice and have lots of other flavors to make up for lack of sweetness. They're dense because they're made with oat flour. You can choose to use all-purpose flour, but know it won't have the same nutritional value. Instead of buying oat flour, pulse regular oatmeal (not instant) in your food processor until it's a fine flour.

Want to hear something crazy?! I now have a 3-year-old and an 11.5-month-old. Valentine's Day we will officially have two toddlers. The baby has been mobile for so long now I feel like we've had a toddler for awhile. He's really into climbing and this is a challenge we didn't experience with our oldest. I keep "finding" him halfway up the stairs, in the toilet or trying to climb out of his crib. Cutest trouble maker ever!

Browned butter Zucchini Carrot Muffins

loosely adapted from Southern Food's Zucchini Muffins

3 cups finely grated zucchini (about 3 medium zucchinis; I used a fine cheese grater)
1 cup finely grated or finely chopped carrots (you can use a food processor, just don't accidentally puree the carrots)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into medium cubes
1 cup milk (I used whole, skim or 2% may work but I can't make promises)
4 eggs
3.5 cups oat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (any kind, I used coconut sugar)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Start by browning butter. I do this by cutting it into cubes, then melting it over medium heat, slowly whisking it. It will start to foam, then bubble some more, then settle down, and finally you will see small brown bits forming on the bottom of the pan. Then, remove it from heat, and keep whisking it for another minute or so. Set it aside to cool down.

Combine the zucchini, carrots, milk, and eggs in to a large bowl. Stir with a large spoon until totally mixed.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Whisk them until they're completely mixed. You can also sift the dry ingredients; I didn't bother to do that but it's not a bad idea. Remember, you can opt to use no sugar, or more if you prefer sweeter muffins.

Add the browned butter to the wet ingredients, making sure to get all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir it completely, then add the dry ingredients to the wet. Stir together with a wooden spoon until a thick batter has formed.

Using two 12 muffin trays, spray the insides of the muffin holders with baking spray. I have done this with paper muffin holders and found it didn't work that well. Spraying works best. Fill each muffin tray to the top with muffin batter. These are very dense and won't rise very much, so don't be shy. Even a top off will be ok! Bake them 19-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean. Let them cool in the tins and then take them out when you can handle them.

Use muffins to bribe small children.

Oh wait, that's not part of the directions...