I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Zucchini Lemon Muffin Gems

Classic zucchini bread is a summer staple for anyone who has a garden or frequents the farmers market.  I always seem to have one extra zucchini lying around.  But I find the typical spiced zucchini bread recipe, though delicious, a little heavy in summer, so I adapted a classic English lemon drizzle bread recipe to include zucchini in cute little mini-bite form. These little gems have the summery fresh taste of zucchini and mint nicely balanced with lemon zest and juice.  The muffins themselves are not too sweet, but the zippy, sugary glaze adds a nice touch. Using granulated sugar gives the glaze a little crunch. I grate the zucchini, with the peel intact, on the fine holes of a box grater – thickly grated zucchini turns out too stringy and overpowers the light taste.

Zucchini Lemon Gems

For the muffins:

2 eggs

1/2 cup canola oil

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk

Zest of 1 lemon

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 Tablespoon fresh chopped mint leaves

1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

For the glaze:

3 Tablespoons lemon juice

5 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Grease 30 mini-muffin cups.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs then stir in the oil, sugar and buttermilk until well blended.  Add the lemon juice and zest, the zucchini and chopped mint.  Stir until blended.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir until just blended, with no streaks of flour left.

Spoon the batter into muffin tins, filling them almost full.  I think these are cute with a little overflow, and that creates more surface for the sweet sugar glaze.  Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

While the muffins are cooking, mix the sugar and lemon juice for the glaze in a small bowl.  The sugar should not dissolve completely.

Leave the muffins to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack set over paper or foil to catch drips.  Stir the glaze to blend, then spoon it over the muffins while they are still hot.  Cool the muffins and enjoy!

Makes 30 mini-muffins

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