Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins with a crinkly sugar topping by

I haven’t been making a lot of muffins lately. I suppose it’s because it’s July. Perhaps, it’s because I’ve been working on my boozy coffee shakes or perfecting my mad drizzling skills. Eh, the fact of the matter is, it’s all of these things. Plus, the summer heat doesn’t really inspire muffin creation or consumption, in my opinion.

However, while working with Clabber Girl this month, I was given the chance to delve into their extensive recipe catalog and voila: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins. It was the best reason to make them and it doesn’t hurt that zucchini is totally in season, right now.

I remember telling my buddy Snuda over a huge plate of truffle fries that I was going to make chocolate zucchini muffins. She made this face as if to say, “What? How does chocolate and zucchini even go together?” I can’t say that I was surprised by her puzzled look because I felt the same way. “Eh, what the hell,” I thought. “At the very least. it will be something I’ve never tried before.”

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins with a crinkly sugar topping by

After making them I was pleasantly surprised. These chocolate zucchini muffins are not too sweet and totally somewhat healthy for you. If you skip the sprinkled sugar topping they’re even healthier, although not as pretty. I mean, look at that crinkly top!

All in all, they’re great as a quick grab-and-go breakfast or post-workout snack. Consider them Mondo approved.


Recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Muffins slightly adapted from Clabber Girl

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Makes 14 muffins
Serves: 14
  • 1½ c. all-purpose white flour
  • ⅔ c. whole wheat flour (or substitute white flour)
  • 1 c. granulated sugar, plus 1½ tbsp. for garnish
  • 3 tbsp. non-alkalized or Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 c. chocolate chips, divided
  • ⅓ c. canola oil
  • • 2 medium. zucchinis (7-inch long), cut into chunks
  • • ⅓ c. low-fat or non-fat vanilla yogurt
  • • 2 eggs, large
  • • ⅔ c. chopped walnuts
  1. Line standard muffin pan with 12 muffin cup liners or use baking spray to coat pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Place both flours, baking powder, sugar, cocoa powder and ½ cup chocolate chips in a food processor. Pulse until chocolate chips are finely ground.
  4. While the processor is running, add canola oil in a low stream.
  5. Scrape sides and pulse until combined.
  6. Place chocolate mixture in a large bowl.
  7. Add chopped zucchini to food processor and pulse until finely chopped (you should have about 1½ cups).
  8. Add zucchini to chocolate mixture.
  9. Place eggs and yogurt in processor and pulse until blended. Add to zucchini/chocolate mixture.
  10. Mix until just combined.
  11. Fold in remaining chocolate chips.
  12. Divide batter among muffin cups until almost full.
  13. Top muffins evenly with 1½ tablespoon of sugar.
  14. Bake in middle rack of oven for 20-24 minutes.
  15. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes.
  16. Keep in airtight container at room temperature for 3 days ( If it's hot the sugar tops may melt a bit).



Jumbo Pumpkin Donut Muffins & the Summer I Got Canned

Jumbo Pumpkin Donut Muffins: a quick mufin recipe that will impress everyone at your breakfast table.

Once upon a time…

I got canned while on vacation. Yes, me. vacay. fired.

It was slightly embarrassing and perfectly understandable. You see, my boss was a troll.

Wait…that’s not fair. Perhaps, she was just a perfectionist? Nah, she was a troll.

At the time I was working at a bakery. I was super excited because finally, someone was paying me to do what I love. My neighbor, we’ll call her ‘Miss Good Intentions’ got me a job making pastries at a second bakery around the corner. I should’ve known it was a bad idea as she never had anything good to say about her boss; but I took the job anyway. I worked at the second bakery for three days. Here’s how it went.

Jumbo Pumpkin Donut Muffins: a quick mufin recipe that will impress everyone at your breakfast table.

Day 1

I met with the owner, a scary looking woman who looked like she desperately needed a bowl of soup and a nap. I kinda felt sorry for her. Little did I know she would soon can my ass so my sympathy was a bit misplaced. She showed me the recipes and how she wanted everything baked. No problem.

Day 2

After my 4 hr training session(Day 1), I was left to my own devices. I baked all the scones, muffins, cookies, etc. and plated them. It was ten minutes until opening and everything was ready, but wasn’t yet placed in the display case. Troll noticed and hit the roof. Queue the tongue-lashing I received with an audience. The cashier felt so bad for me she offered to make me a latte.

Day 3

With 20 ounces of Low Carb Monster in me I returned to the bakery energized and determined to please Troll. I kept to myself, focused on the tasks at hand and got everything baked and displayed under the wire. There was no praise from Troll she just hobbled over and gave me a new list of ‘things to prep’.

At the end of my shift she asked me to return the next weekend. I couldn’t as I planned to spend a week with my great friend Marsha, who was pregnant with her first child. I offered to come back the weekend after my return and Troll accepted.

Jumbo Pumpkin Donut Muffins: a quick mufin recipe that will impress everyone at your breakfast table.

The following week, whilst vacationing in Alabama, I got a call from the manager. She asked where I wanted my wages sent as my services were no longer needed.  There was no ‘wtf’ reaction from me; I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction. Politely, I answered her question and ended the conversation.

What upset me most is the fact that I never got to try their donut muffins. You see, the bakery was famous for them. Did I mention that Troll never let me try any of the baked goods? Good lord, Troll…have a heart!

Jumbo Pumpkin Donut Muffins and the Summer I Got Canned
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Makes 6 Jumbo Muffins
Serves: 6
  • 1¾ c flour
  • ¾ c granulated sugar(originally ½ cup)
  • 2 t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda (do not add if using milk)
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • ⅓ c oil
  • 1 egg, large
  • ¾ c pumpkin puree
  • ½ c milk(I used buttermilk, hence the baking soda)
  • 1 t vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray jumbo muffin pan with baking spray or line with jumbo paper cups.
  3. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Mix wet in a measuring cup or small bowl.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  6. Divide evenly among the six cups. I filled each cup with double scoops, size 16.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.



To make the glaze, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 1 heaping tablespoon of heavy cream over low heat. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of brown sugar and remove from heat once fully melted. Vigorously whisk in 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar. Use immediately.

Jumbo Pumpkin Donut Muffins Photo Notes

by David

This was a good one.  After a lousy shoot last week that produced unusable pictures, I was relieved this session went well.

Frankly, when things go bad, it’s typically due to a lack of planning and bad technique.  It’s nearly impossible to “wing it” with studio food photography, yet I’m still dumb enough to do it on occasion.

This week, I planned, metered, and carefully coordinated the colors and composition before I picked up the camera.  When I finally took the first shot, I knew I had nailed it.


The lighting was composed of three lights. The main light was a monolight bounced off a white wall at f11.5. The second light was bounced into a large piece of foamcore at f8.5 to give a little more wrap and the third was a soft silver umbrella set at f4.5 to provide fill from the opposite side.

I liked the natural look of this setup, but there were problems with specularity off the top of the muffins.  A little specularity is normal and necessary, but the top of the muffins were completely blown out.  I adjusted the camera and lighting angles but I finally used my hand as a Gobo over the top of the muffins.  It was a stupid simple solution, but sometimes it’s just easier sticking your hand on to the set and blocking the light.

Wrap Up

This was a fun shoot and I saved a $1000 on lighting modifiers by bouncing a light off the wall and a piece of cardboard.  It’s easy to get caught up with all the latest gear, but when it comes down to it, once light bounces off something or travels through a piece of nylon, it’s all going to look the same.  The only thing that truly matters is the size of the light relative to the subject.  Of course, if Chimera calls tomorrow with a sponsorship, I’ll sell out faster than M.C. Hammer jumping off a Taco Bell.





Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Tamron 17-50mm 2.8
Strobes: White Lightning x1600
Tripod: Manfrotto
ISO: 200
Focal Length: 50mm
Shutter: 125
Aperture: f/11