Moist Pumpkin-Zucchini Muffins

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Based on my sociological observations of Pinterest, there seems to be a clearly defined season for pumpkin in the USA: it starts around when the first leaves change colour early in October, and ends in a screeching halt at Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin oatmeal - everything is "pumpkin spice" this and that, there is sooooo much love for the pumpkin...

...then suddenly, there's not.

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In Canada, we don't have such boundaries. We're friendly with pumpkin recipes through all the chilly seasons (which where I grew up, means "almost winter", winter, and "still winter").

Maybe it's because we do our Thanksgiving so early (second Monday in October) that we just haven't had our fill yet.

Or it could be because our traditional Christmas dinner is pretty much EXACTLY THE SAME as our Thanksgiving dinner, so the beloved gourd is not done being on centre stage.

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I dunno.

But I do know that I've been meaning to share these muffins with you, and I felt a certain pressure to do so before next Thursday!

This is my go-to, super-moist spiced muffin recipe. I make it in a giant batch (3 dozen muffins) and freeze them in 6-muffin bags for future-Jenn to enjoy.

They're packed with pumpkin, zucchini, coconut, walnuts and raisins. Sometimes they have dates or fresh cranberries instead. They're very versatile, and super yummy. Did I mention how incredibly moist they are??!

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To freeze them, cool first to room temperature on wire racks, then pop the whole wire rack into the freezer (allowing them to freeze in a single layer and maintain their shape, rather than being smooshed into the bags). Once frozen, transfer to zippered freezer bags or airtight containers.

Individual muffins thaw within a half-hour on the counter or in a lunch bag, or you can pop 'em in the microwave for 20 second intervals (upside down first, then right-side up for even heating) - they'll be just like fresh-from-the-oven.

The keen observer might notice that there are a few ice crystals on the muffins pictured... I actually pulled them from the deep freeze for a photo shoot!

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I discovered a new product that I love in making this batch - Pacific Organic pumpkin puree. It's as close to homemade pumpkin puree that I've ever found, and I love that it's both organic and in BPA-free cartons. (BPA is a harmful chemical that lines most cans, and has been found to leach into food).

I've been adding it to my oatmeal in the morning, and even feeding it to my baby mixed with some mashed, steamed pear - he loves it.

But since most of my readers are American, and I'm squeezing this one in right under the Thanksgiving wire, feel free to replace the pumpkin with an equal amount of grated, peeled carrot. But I recommend the pumpkin, no matter what season. :)

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  • 36 muffinsServings

Ingredients

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry ingredients:

  • 4 cups (18 oz/510 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Mix-ins (choose up to 3):

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup dried, fresh or frozen (thawing not necessary) cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup chopped dates

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare 3 12-cup muffin pans by lining with paper muffin cups, greasing well or spraying with nonstick spray.

  2. In a large bowl, stir together all the wet ingredients until well combined. Set aside.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, dig a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients. Use a light hand to incorporate the wet into the dry, stirring only until almost combined, with floury streaks and dry pockets remaining. Gently fold in the mix-ins; by this time the floury streaks should be gone.

  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full. Bake 20-25 minutes, until tops spring back when lightly pressed.