Thursday, August 21, 2014

Varying Zucchini Mini-Muffin Methods

I previously posted recipes for round and square mini-muffins, using zucchini that a co-worker provided from his summer bounty. I coarse-shredded it with my trusty Salad Shooter. I varied for pans—one type being round aluminum, and the other type being square-well silcone. As the batches were at least a week or so apart, it wasn't easy to contrast taste and texture results between them.

Since then, I baked another two batches, using both kinds of pans at the same time. One batch (upper part of pixstrip) had zucchini that I shredded, which another co-worker provided. (I have such sharing co-workers!) The most recent batch (lower part of pixstrip) had zucchini that I previously shredded, froze, and thawed.

Contrasting Round (Aluminum Pan) and Square (Silicone Pan)
For starters, neither recent batch of silicon-pan mini-muffins tasted of siliconey weirdness. As for different baking times, I encountered that issue in the most recent batch, when I positioned the baking pans differently from the batch before. More on that later.

The round mini-muffins look to have perfect crowns. The square ones, although also having crowns, seem to favor one edge over another. The slight lopsidedness might result from my not having sprayed the shots of oil as evenly into the squares as into the circles.

Contrasting Pan-Type Positioning in the Oven
The pixstrip shows the two different pan positionings in the oven. For the most recent batch, I placed the round-well aluminum pan on the bottom rack, closest to the oven element. The mini-muffins wound up browner and drier than the square ones, which were on the upper rack. (I had baked both batches at 350 for 15 minutes each, with pre-heating.)

Contrasting Fresh-Shred and Previously Frozen Zucchini
The thawed zucchini was very watery and less bulky than fresh-shredded. I poured and mixed in the entire thawed 8 ounces without draining the fluid. The batter was slightly easier to stir than when using fresh-shred. The results seemed the same as using fresh-shred. As noted, however, the pan positioning and timing seemed to affect the results.

Conclusion
  • No significant difference between using fresh-shredded zucchini and frozen/thawed zucchini. Frozen means convenience for using the zucchini whenever, and without fear of having too much or too little fluid.
  • If using metal pans, bake for a minute or so less than if using silicone. Or put the metal pan on a high rack.
  • My silicone pans have more wells for area than the aluminum pans, making them more compact for quantity.
  • It seems the silicone pans yield a slightly more moist result, but not by much.
  • The slight downside of silicone is that it requires structural support (a metal pan) in the oven because of its floppiness.

Update—Another batch
Yesterday (Th September 4), I baked a batch of 12 round and 24 square mini-muffins—using one aluminum and one silicone pan. The frozen zucchini that I took down from the freezer the previous night had ice crystals in it. Thus, when thawed, was very watery. Although I didn't think to weigh the bagful, it didn't feel any fuller than the bagful that I used in a previous baking session.

The results, after 16 minutes of baking, were 12 round mini-muffins that were nicely browned at the edges and tan on the surfaces and 24 square mini-muffins that were pale and had a texture as though I steam-cooked them. Delish as expected!

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