While zucchini can be used to make a wide variety of delicious savory dishes, it can also be used in desserts and can make some delicious breads and cakes when it is in season. These Whole Wheat Zucchini Muffins with Walnuts are a tasty breakfast option for extra zucchini. The hearty muffins are made with whole grains, warm spices and just the right amount of brown sugar. They’re also packed with shredded zucchini for a healthier element that helps to keep the muffins moist and tender.
You will need one large or two medium zucchini for this recipe. The zucchini should be shredded with a cheese grater and packed into a 1 cup dry measure, but the truth is that you don’t have to be too exacting with the amount of zucchini that you use. While it does bring moisture into the muffins, the batter can handle a little more or less zucchini, so don’t worry if you end up with an extra 1/4 cup in your mixing bowl – or only have a scant cup available because you ran out of zucchini while grating yours. The recipe will still work nicely.
The batter should come together easily and you’ll be able to smell the cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla coming together as you stir all the ingredients together. I added a generous handful of walnuts to the batter to add crunch. I prefer using toasted walnuts, but untoasted walnuts are nicely buttery and can also be used. If you don’t have walnuts available, chopped pecans can be substituted for them.
The muffins are hearty, yet tender. While they use whole wheat flour, the zucchini brings in a lot of moisture and really keeps these muffins from feeling too heavy, in spite of all those whole grains! They have a nice balance of sweet and spice that gives the muffins a lot of flavor without running into cupcake territory. I added a sprinkling of coarse sugar on top of the muffins for a little extra sweetness and texture in each bite.
These are at their absolute best on the day that they are made, but they will keep well in an airtight container for a couple of days after baking. Serve them at room temperature, or warm them up slightly and serve them with butter or cream cheese.
Whole Wheat Zucchini Muffins with Walnuts
1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
or 1 cup whole wheat flour + 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
coarse sugar, for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
In a large bowl, whisk together zucchini, sugar, brown sugar, egg, vegetable oil and vanilla until well-combined. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk, then stir in the remaining flour mixture until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Stir in walnuts until evenly distributed.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Top muffins with a little coarse sugar before baking, if desired.
Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean and the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.
Turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool completely.