Maple Zucchini Muffins and the Window of Opportunity

Maple Zucchini Muffins

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These Maple Zucchini Muffins had a very short and specific shelf life.

It’s strange, I know. For two days, these muffins were sweet perfection: crunchy tops, hint of maple, subtle sweetness and spice, a nice crumb. . .everything you want in a muffin. But the day I made them they were too moist and tasted like vegetables (blech!) and three days afterwards they reverted back to that unpleasantness. For two glorious days, they were wonderful, and then they were garbage. It was very odd.

They were nice and simple to make, so I think there’s probably just a zucchini ratio problem, or maybe the zucchini just needed to be grated more finely. I started with the dry ingredients, anyway, swapping out the whole wheat/all-purpose combo for whole wheat white flour and wheat germ, and doubling the cinnamon.

dry ingredients

dry ingredients, whisked

After squeezing the moisture out of the zucchini, I plopped it into another bowl and added the yogurt, oil, maple syrup and egg. It looked rather unpleasant like that so I quickly whisked it into something that appeared more palatable.

zucchini mixture

I admit it still wasn’t beautiful. I poured the zucchini mixture into the flour and stirred just until incorporated.

maple zucchini muffin batter

I scooped the batter into muffin cups, and sprinkled them with cinnamon-sugar for good luck

maple zucchini muffin batter in cups

After 15 minutes in the oven, they weren’t quite done yet, so I gave them another 2 minutes. They looked good, that’s for sure.

maple zucchini muffins

maple zucchini muffins

And that’s where it got dodgy.

I almost threw them away that first night. The texture was all wrong, the way muffins are when you use too much applesauce (although I didn’t use any), and the flavor was my worst nightmare: cooked vegetables. I don’t eat cooked vegetables. Ever. I’m not a total weirdo, I love a good salad, I love fresh crunchy vegetables, but the minute you cook them, my seat at the table is up for grabs. The smell, the texture, the taste, it’s all an instant but polite “no thanks” with some silent internal terror. So my dismay as I spit out the first bite was deep.

But as a secret optimist, I resisted the urge to pitch the whole batch, and gave them a night to settle. The next morning, I bravely took a bite of another one, wincing in dread. After the bite? It was a whole new ball game. The maple came through, the cinnamon too, the crumb was fluffy, and eating them was a pleasure. But I’m glad I had a couple of them that day, and the day afterwards, because when I took a bite on day 3, the party was over. They tasted like vegetables again! And seriously, who wants that in a muffin? Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow. But not me.

If you love maple and cinnamon, I think this recipe is well worth playing with. I’d actually love to know if anyone else has better luck with these, because there are some lovely elements in there.

Here’s the original recipe:


And with my adaptations:

My version of Maple Zucchini Muffins (adapted from


1 1/3 cups whole wheat white flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups shredded zucchini, with all the moisture squeezed out
1/2 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 large egg
cinnamon-sugar, for sprinkling


Spray or line a 12-cup muffin tin and heat the oven to 425 degrees. You will reduce the temperature later.

Whisk together the flour, wheat germ, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the zucchini, yogurt oil, maple syrup, and egg until well combined.

Pour the zucchini mixture into the first bowl, and stir just until incorporated.

Scoop batter into muffin cups and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Turbinado would be nice too!

Reduce temperature to 400 degrees and bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 5 more minutes in the pan, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.


maple zucchini muffins

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