Whole Wheat Rhubarb Muffins

You guys. My rhubarb is taking over. Like for real. It is literally as tall as I am. As is evidenced by my patch, it’s not quite finished delivering summer bounty. Two plants have morphed into a rhubarb jungle that would sincerely shield me from a zombie apocalypse. All of this lush rhubarb seemed to mandate something edible this morning. Muffins, to be exact.

Zombie apocalypse to muffins. Yes. This is how my brain works.

These muffins are pretty great though. Rustic (whole wheat flour!) and weighty with fruit (4-5 cups!)—each bite has that tart sweetness that only late summer rhubarb can deliver. Enjoy!

WHOLE-WHEAT RHUBARB MUFFINS

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1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup yogurt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-5 cups rhubarb
2  1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Start by finely chopping your rhubarb. I use a food processor which cuts the time dramatically and slices the rhubarb nice and thin. If the rhubarb is chopped too thick, the muffins get quite heavy.
Once your rhubarb is sliced and diced, set it aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter (melty and soft), yogurt (I used a single-serve container of peach yogurt), eggs, vanilla, spices, and sugar. Mix until well combined and smooth. Then add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix again until smooth. Fold in the rhubarb with a soft spatula so the fruit isn’t smashed. And then one cup at a time, fold in the whole wheat flour. When you get to the last 1/2 cup, don’t over-mix. You should see bits and specks of flour in the batter. If the batter is over-mixed the muffins don’t set well and fall flat. This is true of any quick-bread.

Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for about 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Why, yes. This is another zucchini recipe. I’m trusting you’ll forgive the repetition as, hopefully, you have these gorgeous squash coming out of your ears as well. I have a basket on my kitchen counter full of them. I keep looking at them and making promises. “You shall not go to waste! Nor you! I shall make something beautiful out of you!” And so. And so: Another zucchini recipe. This recipe calls for four cups of zucchini, so it’s a fantastic way to use up some of the excess.

CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE

14390399905391/2 cup butter —softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1  3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup greek yogurt
2  3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
4 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

FROSTING
1 cup butter
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4-6 cups powdered sugar (as needed for desired thickness and weight)

In a large bowl, mix butter, vegetable oil and sugar. Add vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and eggs and continue mixing until well-combined. You can use a stand mixer, a hand mixer, or a good-old fashioned whisk, as you prefer. Spoon in the yogurt, cocoa powder, zucchini, and chocolate chips until smooth. Add the flour and combine well. (I always save the addition of flour for last so I can adjust the amount if necessary).
You can use a 9″x13″ pan for this cake, but I prefer loaf pans as the cake is easier to freeze and save for later. And I’m all about having cake on hand for later. So, whatever your pan preference, spray it well with a cooking spray or grease with butter so the cake will not stick to the sides of the pan. This recipe will make a deep cake in a 9″x13″ pan, or three loaf pans. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Once the cake is baked, set aside and allow to cool.

FROSTING
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter, milk, and cocoa power together, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar until there are no lumps. If you want to pour or drizzle your frosting, do not add as much powder sugar, but if you’d rather smooth or spread the frosting (this is my preference), then feel free to add all, or even more than six cups of powdered sugar.

Farmer’s Market Gold —Rustic Zucchini Bread

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My garden failed me this year. This may be in part because I forgot about it and it grew more weeds than actual vegetables, but seriously, how can you fail to grow zucchini?! Those things are like rabbits! Anyhow. Mine did not grow, so it was off to the farmer’s market for me. And thank goodness other people grew zucchini this summer!

And now, what to do with them? Usually this is a more urgent question because I have them coming out of my ears. But this summer there is anticipation in place of dread.
Bread, people. Bread.

I know the world doesn’t need another zucchini bread recipe. Like for real. But—but. But.

This is my go to. And it’s so good. And even better, it’s easy. And quick. All good things. Not too sweet, rustic (whole wheat flour!), with a crumb that is more reminiscent of actual bread rather than cake. Best of all? Three cups of zucchini per batch! A nice feature if you’re trying to use the stuff up.

Enjoy!

RUSTIC ZUCCHINI BREAD

3 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup greek yogurt (or sour cream)
3/4 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Optional add-ins: nuts, rasins, carrots, craisins, berries, etc.

Shred your zucchini—I use a food processor to simplify the process and speed it up—and throw whatever you don’t plan on using in the freezer for later use. This stuff freezes like magic.
Throw your remaining three cups of zucchini in a large mixing bowl along with the yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Use a whisk to throughly but gently combine all the ingredients until everything is well mixed. The batter might even be a little frothy on top. (Note: If you want to reduce the sugar, you can substitute bananas or applesauce for the sugar, you’ll just have to adjust your flour accordingly).
Once the wet ingredients and spices are well-combined, add in the flour. Like muffins or any quick bread, you don’t want to over-mix, so blend it in, but don’t worry if there are still bits of flour here and there.
Divide the batter between two well-greased bread pans, and smooth it out so the batter is more or less even in the pans. bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the loaf comes out clean.