Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sweet treats: Chocolate zucchini cupcakes

Since you're a dietitian, you probably never eat sweets, right? 
Chocolate zucchini cupcakes

Oh wrong baby, wrong.

I get asked versions of that question all the time. Or, if I am meeting someone at a dinner, they'll usually look at their dinner with a guilty expression and then back at me as though I'm the food police. Far from it! I love food, and my passion for all things food are what fueled my interest in becoming a dietitian. I am a dietitian because I LOVE to eat...that includes all things chocolate and sweet potato fries too!

Being a healthy human is about balance. We need to base our usual foods on produce, fruits and vegetables galore, we need some healthy fats and protein as well as fiber and water, but there are so many "right" ways to do it, and there is wiggle room for treats too! Here is the trick: when eating, slow down, eat at the table and pay attention to the food. This is called eating mindfully and applies not just to the treats, but to the main event too. When we slow down and focus, we're more satisfied and eat less.

I received this cookbook from my sweet roommate and his fiance (maybe it was a hint to do some more baking!) and tried this recipe first because I had a zucchini I needed to use. Now, let's not fool ourselves; just because there is a vegetable in these cupcakes, they aren't suddenly a miracle health food. My carrot cake recipe has enough calories to sink the Titanic. However, this cookbook was written in England and it seems that their sweets run a little lower in the sugar and oil department. They're sweet, but the sugar level doesn't sock you in the face.

Side note: most American recipes would try to be sneaky and call these "muffins" to make them sound healthier...I am going to stick with the cupcake labeling assigned on the other side of the pond.
Chocolate zucchini cupcakes
Makes 10
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 3 oz dark chocolate
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup flour plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin tins with non-stick spray or line with paper liners.
  2. Mix oil, brown sugar and eggs in bowl using a whisk.
  3. Sprinkle flour over top of wet ingredients and then sprinkle baking powder and baking soda on top of flour - this is my "cheater" method to avoid sifting dry ingredients together. Stir just a few times to wet the flour. If you keep stirring a lot, you'll over develop the gluten and have tough (not tender) muffins.
  4. Melt chocolate in the microwave by nuking for 10-20 second intervals and stirring in between until melted. Add chocolate, zucchini and pecans to batter and mix until just combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly between 10 muffin cups and bake for about 25 minutes or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Gather your ingredients

Whisk oil, eggs and brown sugar
Melt chocolate

Add dry ingredients
Add grated zucchini, melted chocolate and nuts
Even batter portions means each cupcake will bake evenly too

Yum! Sweet treats with hidden zucchini!
 I like using a box grater because it stands up on its own; it makes it easier to grate vegetables and cheese without it slipping around. A stable grater also makes it safer if you have kids helping you in the kitchen.

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  1. I can attest that these are DELISH! Thanks for giving me some of the test batch :)

  2. I tried these first hand and they were amazing!


  3. Hi there. Food on Friday:Zucchini is open for entries. This looks like a good one! I do hope you link it in. This is the link . Please do pop back to check out some of the other links. Happy New Year!

  4. Holly, thank you for linking this in to Food on Friday. We are now starting to get a collection of zucchini dishes together. Do stop by some of the other links to check them out!

    Ps I have just signed up to follow your blog by Google Reader. A follow back to Carole's Chatter would be wonderful – or have you already followed? Cheers


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