Mexican Hot Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

My husband's favorite flavor of ice cream is a creamy chocolate-cayenne blend. He drools at the mention of ghost pepper jelly on toast. The salsa never seems hot enough. You get the picture. But when it comes to muffins, these babies get it just right.

Packed with chocolate, cinnamon, and cayenne, these aren't any ordinary zucchini muffins. That said, the zucchini does what it does in all baked goods … it helps keep them moist and delicious. Because these are such a regular happening in my house, alongside chocolate zucchini muffins without all the spicy goodness, I tend to toss some walnut pieces on top of these so that we can tell which is which at a glance. I mean, we love them, but that doesn't mean they are everyone's cup of tea.

Speaking of tea, that's one way to enjoy them. Coffee also works well. But if you are feeling festive, why not make a mug of Mexican hot chocolate to have alongside them and really crank up the heat! Soon we'll be seeing cold winds whipping through our yards and it only seems fitting to get ready while using up some of this year's bumper crop of zucchini! Next time, we'll look at the culinary craze that is zoodles, or zucchini noodles.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

  • 2 medium zucchinis, grated (about 2 cups, loosely packed)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Walnuts, for topping (optional)

Grate the zucchinis. Squeeze the grated zucchini in a kitchen towel to remove the excess moisture. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 12-tin muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne (if using). In a large bowl, whisk the vegetable oil, egg, and brown sugar. Stir in the melted butter, vanilla extract, and milk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine. Gently fold in the grated zucchini followed by the chocolate chips.

Fill the paper muffin tin liners about three-quarters full with the muffin batter. If desired, gently press some walnut halves into the top of the batter on each muffin.

Bake in the preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the muffins are set. All them to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire wrack to fully cool. Store tightly sealed in the refrigerator or freezer.

  • Yields: 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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