Mocha Zucchini Muffins

First things first, Happy Easter!

Christ the Lord is risen today.
All creation join to say. 
Raise you joys and triumphs high.
Sing ye heaven and earth reply. 

Love's redeeming work is done.
Fought the fight, the battle won.
Death in vain forbids him rise.
Christ has opened paradise.

What a glorious day! When I think about all I have in Christ I am continually blown away by what I have been given, not because of anything I have done, I can take credit in no way for my salvation, I believe because God first chose me. How humbling is this truth. 

I this beautiful day, full of celebration and new birth I was inspired to create something new and delicious out of something old. I've had a bag of shredded zucchini floating around in my freezer since last summer. I keep meaning to do something with it, but I always say "next time". Well, not this time! I found a new zucchini muffin recipe, adjusted it for what I wanted, and finished off last years produce, finally! This was the perfect way to do it too. A light and healthy whole grain muffin, lightly sweetened and filled with one of my favorite treats; chocolate covered espresso beans!!

When I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. I didn't have a go-to zucchini muffin but this one looked promising, and I was right. It's just rich enough to make it special, but not too rich to make it feel overly indulgent. The original recipe calls for a streusel on top which would be marvelous, but I skipped it this time out of laziness, but did chop up a handful of dark chocolate espresso beans for pizzaz. And chocolate. Come on. 

The final product came out as beautiful as I had hoped. Flecked with green from the zucchini, and chocolate from the espresso beans. I added some espresso powder for a little extra mocha flavor, and probably could have added more (I think I'll try 1/2 teaspoon next time!). They turned out light and satisfying. A perfect zucchini muffin. 

 
 


Mocha Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from The Almond Eater
Ingredients

  • 1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons (12-25 grams) brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) milk
  • 2 tablespoons (37 grams) maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/4 cup chocolate covered espresso beans, roughly chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners, set aside

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and espresso powder in a bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and then add olive oil, milk, syrup and vanilla. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients. Add the zucchini, and stir until combined. 

Transfer the batter to the prepared muffin tin. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven, wait a few minutes for the muffins to cool before removing them from the tin.

Yields: 6 muffins

Salted Chocolate Espresso Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies, always a winner and my go-to dessert when I'm stuck in a rut and can't decide what to make. Even though I think I have dozens of chocolate chip cookie recipes, and I think they are all delicious, it's always fun to try something new. When I saw these cookies they just called to me. The addition of a hint of espresso as well as some whole wheat flour sounded like the perfect combination of bitterness and nuttiness to help these cookies stand out. And I was right, another winner for my chocolate chip cookie collection. They turned out slightly soft and gooey in the center with a touch of crunch around the edge. I love the combination of espresso and chocolate that brings a bit of sophistication and complexity to a simple cookie. 

I didn't have a chance to chill the dough for these cookies before I baked them because I needed them quickly. Otherwise I always chill the dough which I think helps bring the flavor together and helps them bake up just a little bit nicer. No big deal if you don't have the time, but always a nice touch. It would probably make them bake up a bit puffier, not spread quite as much. But either way, they will be delicious!

Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies

From 

Pastry Affair

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (113 grams, 1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (150 grams) brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (88 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • Fleur de sel or flaked sea salt, for sprinkling (not table salt)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue beating until smooth. Gradually add the espresso powder, baking soda, salt, and flours, mixing until uniform. Stir in the chopped chocolate chunks.

Form cookies using 2 tablespoons of cookie dough (or 1 tablespoon for standard sized cookies). Drop onto a cookie sheet and sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow the cookies to rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Yields: 9 large (75 gram) cookies

Chocolate Espresso Biscotti

Anyone that knows me well knows that I love going out for coffee. Sitting at a warm, cozy coffee shop with a comforting cup of coffee, talking with family members or friends about nothing at all is so relaxing and enjoyable. Most of the time I just stick with my mug of coffee and call it good, but I have to admit, I always want something to go with it. A muffin, a pastry, a chocolate chip cookie, anything at all really. It's so nice to have something sweet to balance out that cup of coffee. Biscotti is another great option that sometimes fits the bill perfectly. Crunchy, slightly sweet and just the right size. It's also fun to make at home, pretty easy to throw together and lasts forever in the cupboard because it is dried out to begin with. This chocolate espresso biscotti is one of my favorites, and it really is the perfect companion to your morning coffee.

 I've made a few different biscotti recipes now, and this one is pretty close to the top. The texture is perfect, it's crunchy, but not so hard that you feel like you are going to crack your teeth on it. I love the slightly bitter espresso flavor that is balanced out by the bittersweet chocolate, it's a perfect combination.

Chocolate Espresso Biscotti

Adapted from 

Sage Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (If using regular size, chop coarsely)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325ºF and line 1 sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, dissolve the instant espresso powder with 1 tablespoon hot water. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the espresso flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Mix in the chocolate chips  until just incorporated.

Divide the dough into 3 equal portions and form each portion into a log (~1 1/2 inches thick). Do not flatten the logs (the dough will be sticky). Place the logs onto the sheet pan, a few inches apart from each other. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Turn the oven down to 275ºF. Transfer logs to a clean cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice the logs diagonally, 1/2 inch thick. Discard the end pieces (or munch on them like I did). Place the cookies cut side down on the sheet pan and bake for another 45 minutes, until toasted and dry.

Coffee Break Muffins

Muffins are the perfect breakfast food in my opinion. I always have some type of muffin in the freezer, ready for me to pull out on a moments notice when I need a quick and delicious morning meal. There are so many options when it comes to muffins, anywhere from a sweet muffins, something that is basically a cupcake without frosting (my personal favorite) to a hearty savory muffins. You can't go wrong when you make muffins (except if you add fruit to it, I don't like fruit in my bread).

I've made these Coffee Break Muffins several times over the last year or so and they have become one of my favorites. Subtly sweet and full of coffee flavor, they are perfect for a quick bite to eat, or a lazy breakfast alongside a cup of coffee. I haven't tried it yet, but I know these would be fabulous with some chocolate chips thrown in; coffee and chocolate is one of my favorite combinations. Muffins are so easy to make, so head to the kitchen and whip up a batch of these for tomorrow's breakfast, you won't regret it!

Ready for breakfast

 Excited to bake!

Very fancy cookbook holder

 Brew up a cup of strong coffee

 Grab your muffin liners

Let's start: flour first

 Then the rest of the dry ingredients 

Add the vanilla to the rest of the wet ingredients

 All set

Everything's ready to combine

 Add the wet to the dry and mix 

Get that muffin pan ready to go

 Fill them up

 Bake and cool

Choose your favorite and breakfast is served

Coffee Break Muffins
From Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour 
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder 
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 1 cup strong coffee, cooled 
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled 
  • 1 large egg 
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla 

Directions
Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour sugar espresso powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, breaking up any lumps.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the coffee, melted butter, egg and vanilla extract until well combined.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently but quickly stir to blend until just combined.

Distribute the batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake 18- 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in muffin pan on a wire rack for five minutes then transfer muffins to wire rack to cool.