I have desperately craved baking as of late.
Not necessarily the actual baked good itself, which is rather odd since I tend to have a mega sweet tooth and usually can’t pass up a baked good if my life depended on it, but rather the whole process of baking.
It is also odd that this desire to bake has take full force in the middle of the summer, the hot (often 100 degree) Texas summer I might add, when I normally try and avoid the oven at.all.costs.
Maybe it is an inner longing for fall (when I normally get the baking urge) or maybe it is the need for something relaxing and therapeutic in my life. But whatever the reason, I am enjoying this whole baking frenzy.
Not just for the momentary distraction from ‘real life’ (as turn up the stereo to whatever random song comes through my play list… Gossip, Justin Timberlake, Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, Rush, G. Love… are all favorites as of late) but for the sense of accomplishment in creating a tasty and beautiful baked good that I can share with friends, loved ones and strangers.
Which is what I think this baking thing is all about… a way to bring (if not just for a moment) a smile to another’s face.
These Spiced Orange Zucchini Muffins are one of the many recent creations to come out of my kitchen. I actually think they are the perfect balance of summer and fall flavors (remember… maybe deep down I am longing for fall). With a subtle yet warm balance of spices, mixed with a hit of orange and loaded with straight from the (farmer’s) garden summer zucchini. An extremely moist and flavorful muffin that you won’t be able to stop with just one!
One Year Ago: Traditional Fish and Chips
Two Years Ago: Crunchy Chickpeas
Three Years Ago: Black Cow Ice Cream Soda
Four Years Ago: Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Roll-ups with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
¼ cup canola oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 large orange, zested and juiced
2 ½ cups shredded zucchini
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin tins or line with muffin cups.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, spices, salt, baking soda and powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla, yogurt, orange zest and juice. Slowly stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix just until evenly moistened. Fold in shredded zucchini, stirring just until combined.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store the muffins in an airtight container for 1-3 days or freeze in a freezer bag, wrapped in foil or in an airtight container for up to a month. To thaw, place on counter and allow to thaw for 6-8 hours before serving. Or remove from freezer packaging and place frozen muffins in a 350 degree oven until heated through. Frozen muffins can also be defrosted in microwave for 5-8 minutes on half power until thawed and heated through.