Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

IMG_7007-3.jpg

With a whirlwind of a summer behind me—planning a wedding, getting married (!), and taking a full load of graduate credits at the same time—I feel like I haven't had time to catch my breath before the back-to-school season set in.

As a teacher, the start of a new school year keeps me on my toes as I get my classroom and lessons in order. When classes begin, there is an adjustment period where my feet have to get used to the long hours of standing, my throat has to adapt to a steady stream of talking in the classic teacher voice, and my brain has to refocus on jumping between ideas at a rapid pace.

As my students and I find our new routine, the high energy required in the first couple weeks of school can be draining. This makes weekends a welcome time to recover. 

doublechocolatezucchinimuffins1.jpg

I stayed close to home last weekend, enjoying a couple walks around the neighborhood, catching up on summer TV shows, and savoring the quiet before another work week. For the first time in what feels like weeks, I also spent some real time in the kitchen.

While the self-watering planters I built this summer did not turn out as planned (only the herbs, green beans, and bell peppers were spared from root rot), luckily the CSA (community supported agriculture) I support has been particularly fruitful.

With an abundance of zucchini filling the drawers of my refrigerator, I baked four loaves of zucchini bread before creating something a little more decadent in these double chocolate zucchini muffins.

These Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins take advantage of the late season squash. The muffins feature plenty of chocolate chunks and a hint of cinnamon for a warmer touch. I prefer to heat these up for a few seconds in the microwave until the chocolate just begins to melt. With a large glass of milk, these muffins make for a perfect afternoon snack after a long day at school.

Pro tip: Reserve a couple ounces of chocolate to sprinkle over the top to make the muffins look extra delicious. 

One Year Ago: Plum Almond Tart
Three Years Ago: Blueberry Honey Scones
Four Years Ago: Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread 
Five Years Ago: Vanilla Ice Cream Cake, Honeyed Apricot Granola Bars, & Chocolate Banana Chip Cookies
Six Years Ago: Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies, Banana Rum Bread, Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins, & Pear Chocolate Muffins
Seven Years Ago: 3 Milk Coconut Cake, Tomato Basil Tart, & Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
Eight Years Ago: Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Banana Bread 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Yields 1 dozen muffins

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (about 180 grams) grated zucchini, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup (150 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (21 grams) cocoa powder
6 ounces (170 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with baking cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the grated zucchini. Mix in the cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder, mixing until the batter becomes uniform. Stir in the chopped chocolate.

Fill baking cups 3/4 full and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. For best texture, let the muffins cool before eating.

Blueberry Galette with Cornmeal Thyme Crust

IMG_0222-3.jpg

I'm thrilled to be officially married to my best friend! At the moment, married life does not feel very different, but I suppose when you have been together over eight years you are comfortable in your relationship. Although this day was a long time coming, it still feels strange to call Chris my husband.

Our wedding day was a hot, humid ninety-degree day with no wind to provide relief, but the rain blessedly stayed away. The sun was covered by a hazy sky from wildfire smoke which made the dappled, diffuse light perfect for photography. Although the groom was recovering from the flu, the illness was quickly forgotten in the emotion of the day. In front of our immediate family, we said our handwritten vows and became husband and wife.

Our wedding day may have had its share of imperfections, but to us these imperfections are what made it a perfect day.

With no honeymoon planned, we are trying to enjoy the last few slow days of summer as a married couple before the school year begins again. To add a special touch to our evenings, I made us a dessert to share as newlyweds. This blueberry galette made with a cornmeal thyme crust is perfect for both of us—Chris loves desserts with a chewy texture and I adore the flavor of late summer blueberries.

For this galette, the added cornmeal in the pie crust lends a chewy, flaky texture, while the fresh thyme adds a subtle herbed flavor. However, the real star of the galette is the blueberries. While the galette works beautifullywith frozen blueberries, I recommend you find the ripest berries of the season to take it over the top. The wild blueberries I found at the local farmer's market made this galette disappear quickly.

IMG_0228-2.jpg

This Blueberry Galette with Cornmeal Thyme Crust allows late summer's seasonal offerings to shine. A galette is similar in many ways to a pie, but I find it easier to throw together, which makes it perfect for the lazy days of summer. The cornmeal thyme crust gives the galette additional flavor and texture, which makes this dessert stand out from others. Serve the galette warm or cold with a scoop of ice cream or coconut whipped cream.

One Year Ago: Fresh Herb Bread
Two Years Ago:  Fig Oatmeal Bars 
Three Years Ago: Iced Matcha Coconut Latte 
Four Years Ago: Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies & Citrus Zucchini Muffins
Five Years Ago: Blueberry Braided Bread, Date Flapjacks, & Nordic Pancake Cake
Six Years Ago: Summer Berry Pavlova, Mango Coconut Popsicles, French Silk Pie, & Blueberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes
Seven Years Ago: Coconut Pancakes, Chocolate Beet CakeZucchini Bread, & Lemon Blueberry Scones
Eight Years Ago: Chocolate Pear Cake & Brown Sugar Coconut Bubble Tea

Blueberry Galette with Cornmeal Thyme Crust

Yields 8-10 servings

Cornmeal Thyme Pie Crust
1 3/4 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (108 grams) yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped and lightly packed
1 cup (225 grams) butter, cold and cubed
4-8 tablespoons ice water

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and fresh thyme. Add half of the cold cubed butter and rub the butter and flour between your fingers until it resembles coarse sand. Add the second half the cubed butter and rub in into the flour, but leave it in larger pieces (approximately the size of your thumbnail). Add four tablespoons of ice water and mix the dough together until uniform. Gradually add more water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together when squeezed in your hand. 

Place the dough on parchment paper and use the paper to press the dough into a uniform disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least a half hour (or up to 2-3 days). For a step-by-step tutorial in making pie dough, follow the instructions here.

Blueberry Filling
2 pints (24 oz or 680 grams) blueberries
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons granulated sugar*
Egg wash (1 large egg + 1 tablespoon water, whisked)
2 tablespoons demerara or raw sugar, for sprinkling

In a mixing bowl, fold together blueberries, cornstarch, and sugar until uniform. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough into a circle roughly 1/8-inch thick. Place the blueberry mixture into the center of the circle and spread out until it is a uniform thickness, leaving a two-inch border on all edges. Fold the border of the pie dough over the filling, pleating the dough every two or so inches. Brush the visible pie dough with egg wash and sprinkle the demerara sugar evenly over the dough and the filling. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes to firm up the crust.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C).

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the blueberries have released their juices. Cool slightly before serving. Serve with a topping of whipped cream or side of vanilla ice cream.

*Add more or less to taste, depending on the sweetness of the berries.

Pineapple Coconut Sorbet

  This post is sponsored through a partnership with  Dole Sunshine   . As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

This post is sponsored through a partnership with Dole Sunshine. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

With summer heat in full swing, I've been looking for ways to cool down that don't involve hiding indoors with the air conditioner. It seems I have spent a great deal of this summer behind a computer screen, spending time researching the many details that come with planning a wedding

With less than a month of summer vacation to go, my checklist of summer activities—kayaking the nearby lakes, biking around town, and enjoying free concerts in the park on warm summer nights—have gone unchecked. What summer activities have you checked off your list?  Perhaps I can persuade you to enjoy a little more time in the warm sunshine with this frozen dessert. 

This pineapple coconut sorbet is my favorite frozen dessert so far this year, satisfying my desire for something both fruity and creamy at the same time. 

Sorbet is a great alternative to classic ice cream for several reasons. First, unlike traditional ice cream, the sorbet base does not have to be thickened with egg yolks over the stove. This feature makes the process from idea to final product both simpler and quicker.

Second, sorbet allows real fruit flavors to stand out. For this pineapple coconut sorbet, I wanted the focus to be the tropical sweetness of pineapple so I used Dole 100% Pineapple Juice to keep the flavor bright and pure. Pineapple can also be acidic so the addition of a "creamy" component, like full-fat coconut milk, can mellow the acidity and allow the true flavor to shine through. 

Third, sorbet is vegan, which makes it a wonderful alternative for people who suffer from food intolerances or allergies (like me!). Sorbet is a safe (and delicious) choice to share with family and friends. 

IMG_9909-2.jpg

This Pineapple Coconut Sorbet is a sweet treat to help you beat the summer heat. The sorbet only has four ingredients—pineapple juice, coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla extract—which makes it quick and easy to assemble. The creaminess of the coconut balances the acidity of the pineapple, balancing the flavors of the frozen dessert. Serve in a bowl topped with toasted coconut flakes or in a sugar cone.

One Year Ago: Blueberry Basil Galette
Two Years Ago:  Homemade Almond Milk & Blueberry Plum Pie
Three Years Ago: Cherry Hand Pies & Olive Oil Pound Cake
Four Years Ago: Plum Almond Galette, Paris Holiday, & Provence & the French Riviera
Five Years Ago: Nutella Espresso Rolls, Brownie Cookies, & Cookie Dough Cake
Six Years Ago: Banana PB Protein Smoothie, Chocolate Cherry Cake, Coconut Scones, & Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream
Seven Years Ago: Cherry Almond Muffins, Plum Clafouti, S'mores Pie, Grilled Apricots, & Malted Chocolate Cupcakes
Eight Years Ago: Chocolate Prune Cake, Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread, & Whole Wheat Wild Blueberry Muffins

Pineapple Coconut Sorbet

Yields 1 quart

14 ounce can (414 mL) full-fat coconut milk
2 cups (475 mL) Dole 100% Pineapple Juice
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, pineapple juice, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract. When uniform and sugar has dissolved, place in the refrigerator and chill 3-4 hours, or until cold.

Freeze mixture in ice cream maker, following the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer sorbet to an airtight container and freeze for 2-3 hours before serving. The sorbet will keep well for several weeks in the freezer. Serve with a sprinkling of toasted coconut flakes.


This post is sponsored through a partnership with Dole Sunshine. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I am incredibly excited to be working with Dole Sunshine because of the excellent quality of their fruit-based products. Thank you for supporting Pastry Affair & my wonderful sponsors!