Thursday, November 13, 2014

Zucchini Nut & Streusel Muffins

Crispy on the edges, moist, tender and sweet on the inside, plus the lovely crunch of walnuts, these Zucchini Nut & Streusel Muffins are scrum-diddly-umptous! Warm leftovers up for the perfect breakfast on a cold, fall morning. 

Zucchini Nut & Streusel Muffins
The brown sugar makes the muffins extra golden-brown colored.

I have to thank my friend Journey for challenging me to come up with a not-so-ordinary zucchini muffin. You might want to thank her too; because of her, this muffin recipe was born. After falling in love with some muffins at Sweet Tomatoes, she requested that I create a recipe for something with a little "crunch." Well, I happen to like challenges. So I embarked on this zucchini lead quest to create something divine, full of texture and flavor, and...I conquered.

After writing that line, I have Jay-Z's Encore playing in my head. "I came, I saw, I conquered." Maybe, because I like to work out to the Jay-Z and Linkin Park Collision Course album. Maybe, because I like to stay stuck (musically) in the 90's and early 2000's. Anyways, moving on to the muffins.

Bitten Zucchini Nut & Streusel Muffin
I couldn't resist and nabbed a few bites of these fresh muffins while shooting some photos.  :)

Zucchini lends so much moisture to these muffins, making them perfectly tender and light, but yet still crumbly in the oh-so-right way a muffin should be. The nuts are not overwhelming, at all, and they add a nice crunch and texture, while the streusel plays its role in sweetening up the flavor in a delicious and warm way.

Muffins for days...

When I first started stirring the sugar and egg mixture into the flour mixture, I was certain the batter would be too dry, however, after adding the zucchini everything came together very nicely. Don't worry if your batter seems dry. Once is sets for a minute, the zucchini moistens it up. 

The trick to a moist muffin is not over-stirring the batter. You want to mix, gently, with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, just until the batter is combined. The more you mix, the stiffer your muffin will turn out. If you taste test your batter (who doesn't do this?), you may think it needs more sugar. I don't recommend adding additional sugar because the streusel topping is going to provide plenty of sweetness once these nuggets are baked. 

Zucchini Nut & Streusel Muffins

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

Muffin Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup grated zucchini (grate with cheese grater, medium grate size), pressed with paper towels
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped into small pieces

Streusel Ingredients:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease or line muffin pan; set aside.

Step 2: Prepare muffin batter by beating butter and sugar with electric mixer, on medium in a large bowl, until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined; set butter mixture aside. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until no streaks remain in batter. The batter will seem thick and dry at this point. Gently fold in the grated zucchini and walnuts. Set muffin batter aside.

Step 3: Whisk together the first four streusel ingredients in a small bowl. Cut in the butter with your fingers or a fork. Spoon a small amount of the muffin batter into each cavity of the prepared pan (about 1/3 full), then sprinkle a small layer of streusel topping, add another small layer of muffin batter to each (fill the cavity about 2/3 full), sprinkle another small layer of streusel topping over each. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Watch for muffins to darken. If they start to look too dark before 20 minutes, make a foil tent over the pan. I did not need to cover mine, but each oven varies. Test your muffins by lightly touching the tops of the muffins in the center of the pan. If they muffin top springs back, they are done.

Store for 2-4 days in an airtight container. 

Make sure to press the grated zucchini thoroughly to help absorb some of it's moisture or your muffins will be too wet. 

One muffin on a plate

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