Baking Drama produces Zucchini Muffins with Nutella Swirl.
Life and baking are one and the same. There are firm rules and other areas that offer plenty of room for interpretation. There are moments of triumph and toothsome rewards. There are devastating failures that you can’t fully grasp the depths of until the very end. Baking, like life, is a delicate balance of methodology and creative out-pour. Dangerous, yet sweet.
I often find little life lessons in my interaction with food. In many ways, cooking has taught me to: be resourceful, stay open-minded, learn from my mistakes, and trust the process.
The latter I find to be the most difficult.
There is something deep within me that often wants to fling “the process” off a cliff and not look back. But if I did that, I wouldn’t be “learning from my mistakes” would I?
In baking, as with life, the process matters. You can disagree with the process all day, but you’ll never win that Pillsbury Bake-Off.
This zucchini muffin recipe in particular, was a refresher course in “trusting the process.” I’m embarrassed to tell you I made them FOUR times. IN THE SAME DAY. Because I was certain my “tweak” wouldn’t result in the failure I knew was a guaranteed outcome. Why did I make faulty tweaks three times? And why did I keep making additional batches of Zucchini Muffins with Nutella Swirl? I’m stubborn. Really stubborn.
So now that my flaws are out on the table, let’s discuss what I did wrong.
Batch One. I over filled the muffin tins. Of course, I KNEW my muffins were bound to spill out in the oven, but I wanted to get all the batter in 8 liners. The muffins also needed a little boost in flavor.
Batch Two. I over filled the muffins AGAIN–10 this time. I added too much Nutella, so the tops were a complete mess.
Batch Three. In effort to build the flavor, I added almond extract, trying to play off the nuttiness of the hazelnuts in Nutella. They were ok, but not blog-worthy. And oh yes, I overfilled the muffin liners AGAIN. Swears!
Batch Four. Finally, I paired back the size of my recipe and added lemon zest, instead of almond extract. Tasty Success!
These Zucchini Muffins were light, moist, and flavorful with a decedent chocolatey top. They were worth the wait.
So if you don’t want to remake the same recipe 4 times, don’t break the concrete rules of baking. It’s important to think of baking as chemistry. Each step of a recipe is an important part of the scientific process, and if adjusted, WILL result in a different outcome.
Be sure to MEASURE, mix your wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls, add your eggs one at a time, take the extra few minutes to cream your butter and sugar until fluffy, and for the love of God, don’t overfill your muffin liners.
Zucchini Muffins with Nutella Swirl
Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 extra large egg
1 cup grated zucchini
Zest of one lemon
½ cup Nutella
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine the flour salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Whisk well.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl and add the egg; beat in.
Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture until just combined.
Stir in the zucchini and lemon zest.
Use a ¼ cup scoop to evenly distribute the batter between the muffin liners. They should be 2/3 full.
Dollop 1 teaspoon of Nutella on top of each scoop of batter and swirl with a toothpick.
Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. Check the centers with a toothpick. The toothpick should come out clean before removing the muffins from the oven.
*This recipe can be made in two loaf pans. Bake for 35-50 minutes.
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