I love these muffins. Elspeth sent me the recipe two summers ago. She had just adapted it from a cornbread recipe she'd found in the July 2011 issue of Bon Appetít and she had a feeling I'd like it. She was right: these whole-grain, super-moist muffins with just a hint of sweetness are now a summer staple in our house. They're great for breakfast—as they were this morning—and they can turn a simple soup or salad into a full-fledged meal. I try not to do too much between-meal snacking, but it's hard to resist when these are sitting on the counter!

I like to make these with coarsely ground yellow cornmeal. Bob's Red Mill has a nice one, or I use corn I've ground myself from the grain CSA we split with Elspeth and Alex. For me, these muffins are all about the texture; the coarser the cornmeal, the "pizzazz-ier" the muffins. If you look closely here, you'll see the grains of cornmeal in amongst the flecks of zucchini. Also, just FYI, I almost always use dried cultured buttermilk (in any recipe that calls for buttermilk). If you're not familiar with it, dried buttermilk keeps for months in the back of the fridge, which means it's always there when you need it. Just follow the directions on the back of the package.

Yesterday I tried an experiment: I made one batch of muffins with fresh zucchini, and another with zucchini from our garden that I'd grated and frozen last September:

I know that in theory the frozen zucchini should work fine. (If you try it, use the entire boatload of water that your thawed zucchini will be sitting in—yes, really.) The muffins were fine, "actually, pretty good," said my husband, but I'm not taking that road again. This recipe is delicious when made with fresh zucchini, so why settle for anything less? Farm-fresh zucchini isn't exactly hard to come by at this time of year—our own isn't ready yet, but we've been getting it at the farmers' market for a few weeks now. And besides, the muffins themselves freeze beautifully! 

Other people might get tired of zucchini, but I never do. It's just so darn versatile. If you have zucchini in your house, you have a potential meal—or in this case, at least a fine start on one. Enjoy!


This makes 12–16 regular-sized muffins, depending on the size of your muffin tin. If the weather is unusually humid, I recommend storing these (covered) in the fridge; they're very moist, and if they sit out for more than a few days, might spoil.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (or yogurt)
1 large (~10-ounce) zucchini, grated
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup yellow (preferably coarse ground) cornmeal 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease your muffin tin or use muffin liners (I prefer the latter). In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, eggs, and buttermilk, then stir in the zucchini. In a larger bowl, whisk together all your dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Dollop the batter into the muffin tin and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the muffins are just done—or better yet, slightly underdone. As a rule of thumb, I'd always rather slightly undercook than overcook any type of cornbread. 


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.