Monday, February 14, 2011

Chocolate-Zucchini Mini Cupcakes


Here's my idea of some good, clean fun...sneaking zucchini into the Valentine's Day cupcakes I made for my daughter's school party (when you have kids, fun isn't what it used to be). Between holidays and the kids' birthdays, it seems like there's a party every week. So I get a little frustrated with the amount of sweets that are consumed at school (don't even get me started on school lunches in general, I'll get way too worked up). 

So adding zucchini makes me feel better (even if the mini cupcakes are so small that each kid probably gets only 1/2 teaspoon). It also amuses me to know it's in there (and know they don't know it). But the zucchini isn't there purely for my own entertainment, it also helps keep the cupcakes moist.
(Yield: approx. 60)

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (about 2 1/2 medium)
6 oz. mini semisweet chocolate chips

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.      Preheat oven to 325° F.  Line 60 mini muffin tin cups with liners.
2.      Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl; set aside.
3.      Beat sugar, butter and oil in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.
4.      Mix in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions each. Mix in grated zucchini and chocolate chips. Pour batter into cupcake liners, about 3/4 full.
5.      Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Cool completely in pan before frosting.
6.      Beat the cream cheese and butter using with electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in sugar and vanilla extract. Can be made a day ahead (cover and chill; bring to room temperature before using).  Spread or pipe frosting onto cupcakes. 

adapted from Bon Appétit, November 1995
mixing in the secret ingredient (shh)
When a batter is thick enough (like this one), I like to use a ziploc bag
to pipe it into the cupcake liners (just snip off one of the corners).
filling the cups
cupcakes baked (don't worry about the stray zucchini
peaking out, the frosting will cover that right up.
packed and ready for the kids (tee hee hee)

As you can see, I kind of took the easy way out and used colorful sprinkles. I just didn't have time this weekend to get much more detailed than that. But since I didn't have a blog last year, here are the Valentine cookies I made last February (using the same sugar cookie & icing recipe I used for my Christmas cookies).

I decorated these.
The ones on the left were decorated by my daughter
Maddie (then 4 1/2). Not bad, I actually think
they show promise (t
hen again, I am her Mom).

A word to all you single people out there who feel crappy on Valentine's Day because the whole world is talking about how in love they are and making you feel like something is wrong with you because you're not paired up. I would just like to say that I view Valentine's Day as another opportunity to make cookies or cupcakes, but aside from that, I think being told when to express your love is basically B.S. A Hallmark holiday if ever there was one. Married or single, I've always felt that way. Just thought I'd put it out there. So don't let the greeting card companies win and have a happy day (in spite of the over sized bouquet the woman next to you at work just had delivered to her desk).


Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat) said...

You win this round, Uber Mom! Evelyn and Andy's classrooms got my standard vanilla cupcakes. Just wait until I perfect those black bean brownies, then we'll see who's being sneakier with the "healthy" treats!

:) This is fun!

Susan said...

I don't think I can beat those super brownies you're developing! That will be quite a coup. I did have these already planned...great(and sneaky) minds do think alike.

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