Now that we’re (mostly) moved back into our kitchen, I’ve loved having baking days with my little one again. He’s a boy who LOVES to dig, scoop, and pour, so measuring flour and sugar is basically his dream come true.
I wish I could say our baking days are all giggles and cute little messes, but they’re more like barely contained chaos fests. I spend most of the time trying to temper my son’s overenthusiastic digging so we don’t end up with a 1/2 cup of salt in the batter. Baking with a little one is always a lesson in letting go, giving up on perfection, and–let’s be honest–mastering the art of distraction.
Our last baking adventure involved these gnarly Carrot Zucchini Muffins, the perfect recipe for using up all those summer zucchinis from your (mom’s) garden (thanks mom!). Like with our favorite quick bread–The Best Sour Cream Banana Bread–this one is great for making with kids. The batter is made in a single bowl and is pretty forgiving, even for the more–ahem–haphazard bakers among us.
After measuring, mixing, and scooping out the batter into the muffin tins, I gave P a small bowl of brown sugar and a scoop to keep him occupied while I cleaned up a bit.
He was fully engrossed with his bowl of “baking sand” until the fateful moment he got some on his hand and decided to give it a big ol’ lick.
“Mommy, I like the way this sand tastes!!” I heard him proclaim, a little to excitedly. I turned around just in time to see him scooping giant spoonfuls of brown sugar into his mouth.
Annnnd that signaled the end of my brilliant distraction.
My son’s discovery certainly put a damper on the healthy snack I was aiming for, but luckily there’s still enough goodness in these muffins to make this feel like a parenting win.
These Carrot Zucchini Muffins are packed with 2 full cups of shredded veggies, white whole wheat flour, flax seed, and a bit of coconut oil. Hearty and not overly sweet, these can be enjoyed for breakfast or a snack, plain or smeared with a little butter or cream cheese.
The dried fruits and nuts in this recipe are totally optional, but they do add extra texture and a pop of flavor. I made half of mine with dried cherries and half with chopped pecans and enjoyed both versions. I think next time I’ll try dried cranberries and just put a pecan half on top of each muffin for a little crunch.
These muffins freeze really nicely and are great to have on hand for busy back to school mornings, which are (impossibly) right around the corner. I’m not sure if it’s the cooler temps, more structured days, or all that late summer produce, but something about this season always triggers baking fever in me. I’m sure sweet P and I will be tackling many more batches of these muffins along with our other favorite, Honey Apple Oatmeal Muffins, before the season is over. I’ll just be keeping a much closer eye on the sugar bowl next time!
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1/2 cup dried fruits (optional--I used dried cherries)
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional- I like to just put a pecan half on top of each muffin)
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup whole ground flax seed
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, salt and coconut oil until smooth and creamy.
- Stir in the zucchini, carrots, fruits, and nuts if using.
- In another small bowl, whisk together the flour, flax, baking powder and cinnamon. Use a spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture just until no white remains. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. They will likely be mounded slightly over the top of the cups.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.