Monday, July 28, 2014

Fresh-Shred Zucchini Mini-Muffins (Square)

My previous article was a recipe for round mini-muffins, which I initially thought came out a little crier and chewier than I expected. I wondered if maybe vertical-side wells might make a difference. For this batch of 36 mini-muffins (same volume as 12 regulars), everything's the same except for using square silicone pans.

My pixstrip shows ten image areas:
  1. Dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar)
  2. Wet ingredients (eggs, oil, vanilla)
  3. The wet ingredients, plus grated zucchini
  4. Implements
  5. Partial view of the implements, plus spray oil
  6. Bowl of stirred dry ingredients, bowl of stirred oil, eggs, and vanilla, and jar with shredded (or grated) zucchini (Yes, you do need to pre-process some zucchini for this recipe.)
  7. Bowl of stirred dry ingredients, bowl of stirred oil, eggs, vanilla, and the grated zucchini
  8. Bowl of the ingredients (now batter), stirred together
  9. Batter in square silicone pans (using only 1 and a half pans), which I sprayed oil on before filling with batter
  10. Baked square mini-muffins
Implements
  • square silicone mini-cupcake-volume pans
  • large mixing bowl
  • medium small mixing bowl
  • pastry blender or wire whip
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoons
  • cooling rack for done muffins
Ingredients
  • Dry, listed in the order that the 2nd pic shows
    • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1/4 t baking powder
    • 1 t baking soda
    • 1/2 t nutmeg
    • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
    • 3/4 C sugar
  • Wet (and also zucchini), listed in the order that the 3rd pic shows
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/3 C oil
    • 1 t vanilla
    • 1 1/2 C fresh, shredded or grated zucchini
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Measure and pour the dry ingredients into the larger mixing bowl, blending them together with a pastry blender or wire whip.
  3. In the smaller bowl, mix the wet ingredients, then stir in the zucchini.
  4. Pour the mixed wet ingredients with zucchini into the larger bowl and stir the ingredients until they're moistened.
  5. Spray oil into the pan wells.
  6. Scoop about a rounded tablespoon spoonful of batter into each well.
  7. Bake for about 13 to 17 minutes or until the muffins are lightly browned. (Use toothpick test for doneness if desired.)
Post-Recipe Thoughts
Gee, they came out sooo cute! And they popped out of the flexible pans so easily. I turned each pan upside down, flexed it, and gently pressed from the back. I did pulled some from the topside, but the effort seemed a lot easier and faster than extracting the morsels from aluminum pans.

Another upside about silicone pans, besides easy fall out (grin), is each pan compactly having 24 wells, while my aluminum pans have only 12 wells. Mini-muffin pans with 24 wells are available, but I myself am not inclined to replace pans I already have. A downside to the silicone pans, because of its floppy nature, is needing a rigid pan underneath for physical support. On the other other hand, one of those rigid pans was convenient for flipping the freshly baked square mini-muffins into.

Were these square mini-muffins more moist and less doughy than the round ones? I thought so. My co-worker who brought me the zucchini wasn't sure, but then, he had liked the round mini-muffins fine. Another friend whom I gave some square mini-muffins to was very enthusiastic about them. Well, gotta do a followup experiment where I use both pans!

That batch will be a 3/4 recipe (3 eggs and appropriate proportions that are based on the Betty Crocker and Paula Dean amount of ingredients for zucchini bread). I'll put batter in both types of pans. The only other difference will be using shredded zucchini that I have stored in the freezer. I'll try not to crush or squeeze the thawed squash.

Will also see if the material (silicone) could itself could affect the outcome. One site has commenters talking about time required. Another site talks about odors.
8/21/2014—Published today! I contrast zucchini mini-muffins for round (aluminum pan) and square (silicone pan), pan positioning in the oven, and using previously frozen vs. fresh-shred zucchini. This article is the followup to July 2014 zucchini mini-muffin recipes, complete with pixstrip.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fresh-Shred Zucchini Mini-Muffins (Round)

Make use of the abundance of zucchini! These round mini-muffins are 1/3 the volume of regular cupcakes. They're good for snacking when you don't want to commit to eating a larger unit. For potluck events, the small size helps spread the goodies around, particularly if lots of other desserts are available.

I wanted to find a zucchini bread recipe that fulfilled the following conditions:
  • Easy to make
  • Reasonable number of ingredients that are easily btainable
  • Easily convertible to mini-muffin portions
  • Recipe yield that could be easily downsized if appropriate
The Betty Crocker recipe fulfilled the conditions, and more.
  • Bread pan sizes, with baking times
  • Cupcake pan usage, with baking times and instructions
  • Recipe deviations, including substituting canned pumpkin
  • Nutritional stats
  • Easy-to-follow numbered steps
In poking around the web for zucchini bread recipes, I noticed most yield two loaves. Because the Betty Crocker recipe conveniently noted the cupcake quantity yield, I decided to hunt for recipes that easily divided by half. BC filled the divisibility condition with the call for four eggs. Numerous other recipes called for three—not so easily divided.

I wasn't totally sold on using only the BC recipe. I didn't want to add nuts, cloves, raisons. I also wanted to find recipes that called for nutmeg, which is something I use seldom and have a lot of. Paula Deen's recipe calls for nutmeg and four eggs. Convenient! She does also call for water, lemon juice, and nuts (option), which I skipped in my recipe.

The two recipes varied from each other for quantity of main ingredients—zucchini, oil, flour, sugar, salt. My version of the recipe is for mini-muffins (36). Based on the Betty Crocker recipe, however, you can consider that the yield equals one loaf or 12 cupcake-size muffins. (Refer to the BC recipe for those baking times.)

My pixstrip shows ten image areas:
  1. Dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar)
  2. Wet ingredients (eggs, oil, vanilla)
  3. The wet ingredients, plus grated zucchini
  4. Implements
  5. Partial view of the implements, plus spray oil
  6. Bowl of stirred dry ingredients, bowl of stirred oil, eggs, and vanilla, and jar with shredded (or grated) zucchini (Yes, you do need to pre-process some zucchini for this recipe.)
  7. Bowl of stirred dry ingredients, bowl of stirred oil, eggs, vanilla, and the grated zucchini
  8. Bowl of the ingredients (now batter), stirred together
  9. Batter in mini-muffin pans, which I sprayed oil on before filling with batter
  10. Baked round mini-muffins
Implements
  • mini-cupcake pans
  • large mixing bowl
  • medium small mixing bowl
  • pastry blender or wire whip
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoons
  • cooling rack for done muffins
Ingredients
  • Dry, listed in the order that the 2nd pic shows
    • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1/4 t baking powder
    • 1 t baking soda
    • 1/2 t nutmeg
    • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
    • 3/4 C sugar
  • Wet (and also zucchini), listed in the order that the 3rd pic shows
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/3 C oil
    • 1 t vanilla
    • 1 1/2 C fresh, shredded or grated zucchini
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Measure and pour the dry ingredients into the larger mixing bowl, blending them together with a pastry blender or wire whip.
  3. In the smaller bowl, mix the wet ingredients, then stir in the zucchini.
  4. Pour the mixed wet ingredients with zucchini into the larger bowl and stir the ingredients until they're moistened.
  5. Spray oil into the pan wells.
  6. Scoop about a rounded tablespoon spoonful of batter into each well.
  7. Bake for about 13 to 17 minutes or until the muffins are lightly browned. (Use toothpick test for doneness if desired.)
Post-Recipe Thoughts
I thought the mini-muffins seemed a little chewy (doughy?) and drier than I expected. I brought some in to share with the co-worker who gave me the zucchini. He thought they came out great! I speculated pan well shape might affect the texture and moistness outcome. My next recipe article describes using square mini-muffin-capacity silicone pans instead of the round aluminum pans.

I recall Paula Deen's recipe calls for 1/3 cup (5 1/3 T) of water in her double recipe, which would be 2 2/3 T for a half recipe like mine. I might try adding some water in a future batch.
8/21/2014—Published today! I contrast zucchini mini-muffins for round (aluminum pan) and square (silicone pan), pan positioning in the oven, and using previously frozen vs. fresh-shred zucchini. This article is the followup to July 2014 zucchini mini-muffin recipes, complete with pixstrip.
Also look into the square mini-muffin version—same ingredients, but using square-well silicone pans.
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