Luckily, this time, there are two additional bakers added to the mix and we are each responsible for 36 muffins. One of the parents had a healthy cookie recipe, but because the recipe had chocolate chips in it, it was given the axe. I suggested a recipe that I found, and clipped, from a local parent magazine (Bay Area Parent) which was written by a nutritionist at ClifBar. I am not a “health food” type of person, but I do, generally, like to cook healthfully (caramel corn, brownies, pineapple upside down cake, etc. excepted…).
But, we have these new California guidelines that have to be adhered to – painful, to say the least: no more than 35% sugar by weight, no more than 35% of calories from fat, no more than 10% from saturated fat.
So, unlike last time, where I tried on my own to figure out the nutritional content of a recipe, I found a website with a nutrition calculator. What a find. All you do is type in the ingredients and quantities, servings per recipe, and it figures out the total nutritional profile – just like on packaged foods. I still had to calculate the percentages of sugar, fat, etc., based on the total grams – makes me feel like I still know math.
The recipe that I suggested was for Chocolate Zucchini Cake. I love zucchini bread (who are we kidding – it is cake) and this recipe added chocolate and reduced the fat by substituting applesauce. The nutritional content calculator showed that the cake had 39% sugar which exceeds the CA guidelines, and 42% from fat. In trying to adhere to the guidelines more stringently, we are making “muffins” by reducing the sugar. I’m not sure what to do about the fat content, especially since the recipe uses olive oil, which is certainly a “healthier” fat. We could reduce that somewhat as well. It is quite the balance, though, because in decreasing the sugar, the percentage for fat goes up, and vice versa.
Unless you serve grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts topped with shredded zucchini at the bale sale, you are screwed. Of course, you could serve any one of the CA approved processed, packaged treats that meet the guidelines. How healthy, virtuous and appealing!
I made a trial run of the “muffins” today with the girls and they turned out, in a word, AWESOME. Shockingly easy, delicious, moist and flavorful. A total keeper. I don’t know whether I’d make the cake version because the cupcake version is so good. They are plenty sweet enough for me, but a little sprinkle of confectioners sugar or a light glaze would be nice – but would certainly not be in the guidelines!
For the bake sale, if we decide to go forward with this treat, we are going to call them “Healthy Chocolate Muffins” lest the word zucchini cause an elementary school riot (or minimizes sales, in any case). I’ve updated it for sugar.
Healthy Chocolate Muffins with a Secret Ingredient
adapted from Bay Area Parent, February 2009
These do not actually adhere to the CA guidelines. Tough luck.
Makes 24 muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Ghiradelli)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
3/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (using fine grate on a box grater)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with papers.
Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Mix eggs, applesauce and olive oil together in a bowl. Add to the dry ingredients and stir together with a wooden spoon just until combined. Add the zucchini and stir until it is distributed throughout the batter. Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full with the batter. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the top springs back when touched lightly and/or a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out cleanly.
Cool. Serve. Gov. Terminator does not believe these should be frosted.