Best thing I ever baked. Which is the reason I haven't posted on here for, wow, almost two years. Sorry. I've been busy.
I'm kind of glad I haven't written about this past year. There aren't the words to explain. The biggest year of my life. The hardest. The most funny. The most terrifying. The most joyful. And pretty tasty.
For anyone who knows me, you know I show my love through food. Thinking about food, planning and preparing food, and sharing it. And now I have a little person to feed with love. It's an amazing adventure and it presents new challenges every day.
My son became obsessed with chocolate cake after I (stupidly) gave him a tiny taste of a particularly delicious slab of chocolate fudge cake in a cafe. He went nuts for it, of course. I had to pry him off my fork. The problem is, little people shouldn't have too much sugar. I'm not puritanical about it, by any means. He can have a slurp of my squash or a bite of a sugary biscuit. But a whole slab of cake...nope not yet. So in the mean time, I needed something that would satisfy his chocolate cake obsession but wouldn't rot his tiny teeth right out of his head.
I'm not keen on 'sneaking' vegetables into food as I worry it sends the wrong message. Ideally I'd like him to enjoy eating veggies in their natural form. But he just doesn't at the moment. He used to, and I'm confident he will again, but right now he's just not keen. He's in a generally picky phase right now. So I keep offering vegetables at every meal and he keeps ignoring them and in the meantime I've started slipping them past him in the form of fritters, blended pasta sauces or... muffins.
These muffins were a bit of an accident. I made these ridiculously simple 3 ingredient Nutella muffins which led me to make my own hazelnut chocolate spread by blending nuts, cocoa powder and agave which led me to thinking that I could make healthier muffins which led to the 'secret veggies' plot and bob's your uncle we ended up with:
Sugar Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup grated courgette and carrot (squeeze out excess liquid)
4 tbsp honey
4 tbsp oil (I used coconut)
4 tbsp cocoa powder
Squeeze out as much excess liquid from the vegetables as possible into a towel - you will be amazed how much liquid comes out. Mix all ingredients together, pour into muffin cases, top with whatever you want (I had chopped hazelnuts and chia seeds to hand) and bake for 15-20 mins at 180 degrees.
You can see from the photo that they are pretty dense little things, not a huge amount of rise. With less veg they'd be fluffier but my son isn't quite sophisticated enough to be put off by the density of the crumb or whatever. What he cares about is: is it cakey (yes) is it chocolately (yep) is it sweet (yeah) okay fine I'll eat six.
These muffins are not the best thing I've ever baked. I'll eat one, sure. Under duress. But they're not really for me. They're for him. Designed just for him with love and thought and anticipation of the look on his face when he munches down.