These Gluten-Free Zucchini and Chocolate Muffins are about to become your new favorite breakfast treat and snack! And I guarantee your kids will love them, too!Jump to Recipe
Unbeatable Texture & Flavors
When it comes to gluten-free baking, the outcome is no where near guaranteed. On one end of the spectrum, the result can be too crumbly. On the other hand, the baked good could be too dense. Finding that happy medium of fluffy is not as easy as you'd think. After a few tries, I can confidently say that these Gluten-Free Zucchini and Chocolate muffins have the best texture.
My favorite aspect of these muffins is how soft and light they are, but the flavor is a close second. The rich chocolate flavor and hint of zucchini is a combination unlike any other. These muffins are even kid approved, thanks to chocolate chips that helps the zucchini go unnoticed. The real star though is the pillow-like texture that is few and far between in gluten-free baking. Luckily, I have all the tricks in this blog post to teach you how to execute this recipe perfectly.
First Thing's First: The Zucchini
If you're looking for a way to trick your kids into eating vegetables, throw zucchini in there. Zucchini has such a mild flavor that when baked, you can hardly taste it. It's great to hide in breads, cakes, brownies, or muffins (like this!) if you have a picky eater. I promise that they'll never suspect a thing!
The key is to grate the zucchini very finely and then allow it to sit in a bed of paper towels. Zucchinis are made up of 94% water, so you need to expel the water. It's crucial to do this before adding zucchini to baked goods. If you forget to allow the zucchini to sit before adding it to a batter, the texture won't be smooth and fluffy.
Before you grate your zucchini, first line a bowl with paper towels. The paper towels will absorb the water as the zucchini sits. Then, finely grate the zucchini into the bowl. Once you have finished grating, sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the grated zucchini. The salt will soak up any remaining water in preparation for baking. Allow the zucchini sit for about 10 minutes. No less! I've learned that the sweet spot is between 10-20 minutes. After 10 minutes, use your paper towels to wring out any excess water. By doing so, this will ensure that your zucchini bread is moist without being chewy.
The Dry Ingredients
While the chocolate will impart the beautiful brown color and gooey texture to these muffins, you will need to add a few key ingredients to bring the flavors forward. Here's what you'll need:
- Baking flour: I use the Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour for the majority of my gluten-free baked goods because it has the best consistency, is a beautiful blend of gluten-free flours and starches, and already has xanthin gum! This makes gluten-free baking so much easier since it covers all the necessary ingredients when baking gluten-free. For example, we need the xanthin gum to hold everything together and have the consistency we desire!
- Brown sugar: Why did I opt for brown sugar over granulated sugar or a blend of the two? Well, brown sugar is more flavorful because of the molasses it's made with! Furthermore, it's dense and compacts easily; which, makes the baked goods more moist.
- Espresso powder: Whenever I'm using chocolate in my recipes, I always add a pinch of espresso powder. The powder enhances the chocolate and creates a much deeper flavor profile. Once you try this hack, you'll never go back!
I've said it once, and I'll say it again... The BEST gluten-free baking flour that's easy to use and great for beginners is Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. This flour is ideal if you don't want to spend time mixing a variety of gluten-free flours to yield the same result.
In a large bowl you'll combine the flour, brown sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt. Mix together, then set aside. This combination will result in fluffy zucchini and chocolate muffins that have a light, airy texture and moist interior.
Mixing the Batter
Now that we have the dry ingredients in one bowl and the grated zucchini in another, it's time for the wet ingredients. Start by combining two room temperature eggs, vegetable oil, unflavored greek yogurt, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Using greek yogurt for this muffin recipe will create a light, fluffy consistency. This is the exact texture you want your muffin to have! It also provides a tangy flavor that keeps the overall flavor of the muffin well balanced.
By using vegetable oil, the muffins will have a perfect texture for our Zucchini and Chocolate Muffins. However, you can certainly substitute the vegetable oil and still get similar results. Some other alternatives I would use include:
- Canola oil: This dense oil is great for amplifying those rich chocolate notes.
- Safflower oil: Similar to canola oil in taste, but it boasts health benefits, such as being a healthy fat and rich in Vitamin E!
- Butter: The go-to dairy option for baking. It will also amplify those rich chocolate flavors, like canola oil.
- Coconut oil: This oil will yield a light and airy texture. However, it will not amplify the richness of these muffins since it's such a light alternative.
- Smashed bananas: Who knew you could use bananas as an oil replacement? This sweet option adds a creamy texture in place of other fats, but clashes with the chocolate.
- Apple sauce: Again, works great for sweet baked goods because the natural sugar and tartiness from the apple perfectly compliments the refined sugar.
Once you have combined the oil of your choosing and the other wet ingredients, set aside. Now we combine all the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. But hold on! We are going to sift half of the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Use an electric mixer to combine until thoroughly mixed- one half at a time, sifting both times and mixing between. This step is important so that you may combine all ingredients evenly.
Time for Chocolate and Zucchini!
The best part of this baking process? Adding the stars of the show! After mixing both the dry and wet mixtures together, we get to finally add our chocolate chips in and zucchini. First thing's first though... what kind of chocolate chips do you use?
Let's talk about why and what chocolate chips we use! It may come as a surprise, but this part does matter as it can make a big difference in your recipe. It's best to use sweet baking chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks. Here, I am using dark chocolate chunks with 74% chocolate. It's also important to note that semi-sweet chocolate baking chips will melt better, while dark chocolate will hold its consistency while giving you that "ooey gooey-ness" that we love so much!
Alright, now that the chocolate is in we can move to the zucchini. It's important to use the paper towels to wring out any moisture left in the zucchini before adding it to our muffin mixture. Now it's time to remove the grated zucchini from the bowl and add to the batter. Use a spatula to fold the grated zucchini into the batter. Voila, you now have your finished zucchini and chocolate muffin batter ready for baking!
All That's Left To Do...
At long last, it's time to pour the batter into the muffin tins. First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners to prevent the muffins from sticking to the tin. Then, carefully pour the batter a little more than three fourths of the way high in the muffin tin. The muffins won't rise or spread much, so they'll remain on the smaller size. This is purposeful to ensure the consistency is the same throughout.
Once the muffin tins are filled with batter, bake for 20 minutes in the center rack. To test if they're done, place a toothpick in the center of the muffin in the middle rack. If it comes out clean, it's ready to be taken out of the oven. If there's still batter on the toothpick then it needs another few minutes- depending on how much batter there was on the toothpick. Usually three to five minutes will do the trick.
When the muffins are done, pull them out of the oven and allow them to rest for 15 minutes. The muffins with the liners should come out clean and smoothly from the tin. If you have any trouble, run a clean knife along the edge. Then, all that's left to do is enjoy your zucchini and chocolate muffins!
Zucchini and Chocolate MuffinsCourse: Breakfast, SnacksDifficulty: Easy
It doesn't get much better than these soft, fluffy muffins!
1 cup of zucchini, peeled and grated
2 cups gluten-free baking flour
1 cup of brown sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of espresso powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup of plain Greek yogurt
½ cup of almond milk
½ cup of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 ½ cups of chocolate chunks
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place silicone or paper liners in a muffin tin.
- First, peel one small zucchini. Then, grate into a measurement bowl lined with paper towels. Once there is one cup of grated zucchini, add ¼ teaspoon of salt to the zucchini. Allow to sit.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt. Then, set to the side.
- In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the eggs, greek yogurt, almond milk, oil and vanilla extract.
- Sift the dry ingredients, half at a time, into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Use the electric mixer to combine until thoroughly mixed, then sift in the rest of the dry ingredients and repeat.
- Pour the chocolate chips into the bowl and use a spatula to fold into the batter.
- Before adding the grated zucchini to the bowl, use the paper towels to wring out any moisture. Then, add the zucchini to the batter and fold in with the spatula.
- Carefully fill each muffin liner to the very top with the batter.
- Bake for 20 minutes on the center rack, then remove from the oven and allow to cool in the liners for 15 minutes.
- After the allotted time, remove from the liners and cool to room temperature on the wire rack or serve warm.
- After 10 minutes, use your paper towels to wring out any excess water from the grated zucchini before adding it into your batter.