Zucchini Muffins

by Andie Mitchell on September 8, 2010

It’s pouring today. Reminds me of being 10 and sloshing to school in rain soaked Nikes. Why did I never own rain boots? The cars that whizzed by just a tad too close, their tires slapping the perfect spot in the puddle, ensuring that the splash effectively covered my lower half. Soggy jeans in homeroom. The way paper lunch bags turn tearable when wet. As if PB&J needed help in the sog department.

I hated walking to school. I fear I would have gladly hopped in the back of a white, unmarked van for a ride. Puppies inside, you say? Walking to school meant three things: battling New England weather, moving when I’d rather be sitting, and that bloody backpack. The one filled with four textbooks, an unnecessary binder (because really, how many notes was I taking in fourth grade?), and a pencil case with not one, but two sets of colored pencils- God forbid that someone needed to borrow brick red. Also inside my Jansport? Stickers, pogs, and an agenda the size of my mom’s overstuffed wallet. I have to question what I filled the calendar with. And when a friend innocently asked, “Andrea are you free to play today after school?,” did I consult that agenda?

Me: “Hmm, what time were you thinking?”

Friend: “Umm when school gets out. 3?”

Me: “Oh, let me just cheeecckkk my agenda here…Ooo, sheesh, looks like I’m playing pogs then. I do have an opening at 4 to paint nails though.”

Or something like that.

The easy part was the walk home. Or, knowing that two near-spilling bowls of Apple Jacks were waiting for me. And Punky Brewster, she would also be there. I’d bust through the front door like I’d just touched down from ‘Nam, so thankful that sweatpants existed. Once appropriately cozied, I made a bee-line for the kitchen.

On one afternoon, I’d opened a cabinet to retrieve a cereal bowl only to find that they were all in the dishwasher. Thankfully, clean from a recent cycle. Good daughter that I am, I set about putting the dishes away. Cups, plates, knives, forks, spoons, and finally, a stack of bowls. Wobbling bowls in hand, I made my way to the cabinet. One slip of my thumb and the bowls toppled. Each and every one in pieces on the floor. I thought of Punky.  How would she tell Henry if she had clumsily destroyed all twelve of their floral painted bowls?  Where was Cherie to help me cover up the catastrophe? I’m not sure which of us was worse off, the bowls or me, both of us sitting sad and shattered on the linoleum. My tears in a throwdown with the rain outside.

I ran to my bedroom. Snatched my pink velcro wallet from that secret spot under my mattress. The spot where Sami hid hers on Days of Our Lives. I wondered if she, too, had three dollars and sixty nine cents. Either way, it wasn’t enough to buy a new set of bowls.

I returned to the kitchen, perhaps more blue than before. I began prepping my “I’m so sorry but I-” speech for when mom came home at 11. And just then, at the moment when I was considering life as a runaway, I saw it. Zucchini bread. If it had arms it would have hugged me, I’m certain. I carved a thick slab, poured a glass of milk, and settled back down on the kitchen floor beside the bowl shards. I bit down through sweet cake, pulling back to take a peak at those toasty walnut polka dots.

It was soft and sincere, warmly spiced and nostalgic, tender-crumbed and forgiving. I vividly remember those first few bites, the ones that tasted like “It’s okay. It’s all okay…” I might have fallen in love then, with zucchini bread. I might have even thought it to be a magic cure for all the world’s ills, right up until the minute I knocked over my glass of milk.

Zucchini Muffins

(recipe adapted from Simply Recipes)

makes 10-12, depending on how big you like your muffins

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups finely grated zucchini
  • 1 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350°. Finely grate your zucchini (I don’t bother peeling because I like the green color of the strands throughout the muffins) using a hand grater

or a food processor if you’re wise.

In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar until well combined.

Add your eggs and vanilla (only one egg shown) and mix for 30 seconds.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate medium bowl and add them to the wet ingredients, mixing just to combine.

Stir in the zucchini followed by the walnuts. Do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly among a paper-lined muffin tin. I fill mine to the top so I was only able to make eleven muffins out of the batter.

Bake for about 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday September 8, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Whoa, talk about the ultimate comfort food.

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kenzie (Healthy Purpose) September 8, 2010 at 2:57 pm

what a sweet story– i think we all have childhood memories like that. Childhood is such a roller coaster of ups and downs. Great recipe, as usual. Thanks for sharing!

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Sana September 8, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Your posts always give me the warm and fuzzies :)!

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Amy @ Second City Randomness September 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Punky probably would have tried to have a yard sale to raise money to replace the bowls. But in doing so, she’d be getting rid of even more valued stuff that Henry would have had to replace. Creating more of an issue until they have a heart to heart and everything turns out ok and they have milk and cookies.

Which would have been a lot of work. I would have settled for figuring out the “I’m sorry” speech, too.

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Can You Stay for Dinner September 8, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Hilarious! That’s exactly what would have played out on Punky Brewster.

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman September 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm

I loved Punky Brewster, but of course she was a much cooler kid than I ever was.

Oh, and as always these muffins look so so good!

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runrantrealize September 8, 2010 at 10:38 pm

I broke my mom’s favourite serving platter once… We had a bunch of people over and I stumbled as I was bringing it out. Not only did I break it, I ruined all the food that was on it too… Cue massive apologies. In my defense I was only ten, but she never trusted me to carry out large platters of food ever again.

These look delicious. I must be in the minority here, but I’ve never actually made zucchini bread or muffins. Probably because I love zucchini so much in other things that I never have extras.

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Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life September 9, 2010 at 7:45 am

They look so moist and delicious!

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Christine @ Grub, Sweat and Cheers September 9, 2010 at 9:06 am

I had no choice but to walk to school too. Some deep winter days it was hell on earth. Brrr.

Lovely looking muffins! I made 3 loaves of zucchini bread last night and many, many more over the past month. The smell that fills the house when they are baking is so comforting and warm. I’m going to try a zucchini/pumpkin combo next time (I still have about 10 zucchini from my garden to use up)…wonder if that will work?

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Krista September 9, 2010 at 9:16 am

What a story, Andrea! And great muffins, as well…

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Cindy September 9, 2010 at 10:43 am

Awwww….this makes me sad!

I was a school walker and I don’t have bad memories of it except for the few times over the years where there was a fight, or a car bothered me and my friends and we had to run like hell home, terrified of the “white van selling puppies”. Rain was not the issue…crazy people were!

I see my son struggle with his jansport and that part of your story made me sad (for him and you). those backpacks are INSANE and should be banned. If it weighs three times more than the person carrying it it’s wrong!

and the dishes….oh sweet! what happened? Did you get in trouble? I kept waiting for that moment when your Mom came home! Was she understanding??? or did she pitch a fit??? I had to be the “perfect child” and my skin crawled at the thought of what might have ensued!

as for Punky Brewster!!!! OMG I forgot about Soleil Moon Frye. She was adorable and I saw that show (probably much older than it was intended for) She runs a clothing store for children in LA now (I think it’s LA)..she grew up into a beautiful lady!
(plus I love her name! it’s cool)

OH OH
Totally forgot to drool over your Zucchini bread! I never DON’T read your stories around your amazing recipes but today I saw your muffins and ran to the pantry to see if I had everything because that sounds like the perfect fun project today! But then I saw a remark about Punky and had to go see what you wrote!

glad I did….so what did happen about the dishes! I have to know!
Please tell me Henry gave you a big smooch, and took you to Woolworth for a new set and let you pick out the color!

That’s the kind of mom I want to be! Not the kind that scowls at you and makes fun of you for the next decade over it, calling you butterfingers or that kind of torture!

well, this was the longest comment in history. I had my first cup of coffee in 5 days and I think it’s working!

much love
xo

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Can You Stay for Dinner September 9, 2010 at 10:50 am

Haha, I love that you said, “I hope Henry gave you a big smooch and took you to Woolworth’s for a new set!” Gosh, remember Woolworth’s? My mom actually reacted in the kindest way I could have imagined. I think seeing me near death with guilt made her feel too badly to be upset. Isn’t it true that the times when we think the worst will ensue, it ends up okay? I have to remind myself of that more often

Hope you’re having a great day so far!!

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Leah @ Why Deprive? September 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

haha these muffins remind me of the zucchini bread my mom used to make. She told my brother and I that it was banana bread because we wouldnt eat zucchini. :) We never caught on.

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Leah @ Why Deprive? September 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Whoops, I submitted that before I was done.

The story about the bowls is SO something that would have happened to me. I used to (ok – still do) break EVERYTHING! My dad broke my favorite coffe mug in high school (that I paid for myself) and when I got mad he said it didnt even come close to the amount of his dishes that I broke.

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