Zucchini Nut Muffins

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Will and I may disagree a little on this one. He heard “zucchini” and immediately said “NO”.  But for a muffin with some squash in it, these are pretty dang tasty.

Back in Weslaco, Texas my mom made these little gems often.  I believe the recipe came from a friend in town and my sister and I love them.  In fact, when Laura made the seven-and-a-half hour move to Baylor University these muffins became part of care packages sent her way.  I remember packing them up and more than once making sure the precious cargo got in the hands of a loving, die-hard Baylor couple from the church that would be making the trek up north.  When I went to Baylor a few years later you best be sure plans were made to send me some as well.

Zucchini Nut Muffins have everything right about them – they are just a little sweet, always moist, have a crunch from the nuts and they freeze well.  One batch makes 24 muffins so they are great grab-and-go breakfast options or make an easy brunch offering.

Let’s go back to our college days for just a few minutes: What’s in your care package?  You can fill mine with Zucchini Nut Muffins any day.


Zucchini Nut Muffins

-This recipe makes 24 muffins-
  • 2 c shredded, unpeeled zucchini*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c corn oil
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 c chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts)

Preheat your oven to 400.  Grease two muffin tins or line the cups with baking liners.

*When you shred the zucchini be sure to leave the peel on.  Just wash the produce, chop the stem off and then use a grater to shred it up.  To get 2 cups of shredded zucchini you will need roughly one large or 2-3 small veggies.  Be sure you concentrate just as hard as I am 😉

In a large bowl, combine the shredded zucchini, eggs, oil and vanilla.

Why use corn oil?  Corn oil has a slightly higher smoke point than other oils and is essentially flavorless, both which make it nice for baking. If you don’t have corn oil on hand, reach for the vegetable oil for the same end results.

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Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder.

Add in the nuts and stir until moistened.

It’s completely up to you which nut you use but the most common choices are pecans and walnuts.  More often than not, I’ll go with pecan.  If you have halves on hand, chop them up a bit.  I like to leave some large pieces for texture throughout the muffins so I don’t worry about keeping the sizes of the pieces too even.

Fill the muffin cups about two-thirds full.

Bake for 18 minutes.

Let the muffins sit for a couple minutes in the pan, then move them to a wire rack to cool.

Once cooled, the muffins freeze and reheat very nicely.

What do you think?  Does the squash-in-a-muffin scare you off or are you intrigued?  Mix up a batch and let me know how you like them!


Full Recipe

Zucchini Nut Muffins

  • 2 c shredded, unpeeled zucchini (about 1 large, 2-3 small veggies)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c corn oil
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 c chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts)

Preheat oven to 400.

Grease muffin tins or line with baking liners.

Combine zucchini, eggs, oil and vanilla.

Add remaining ingredients and stir until moistened.

Fill muffin cups ⅔ full.

Bake 18 minutes.

Let cool on rack.

Yields: 24

Breakfast Two Ways: Savory & Sweet

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I love a good breakfast – eggs and bacon, biscuits and gravy, chilaquiles or migas, pancakes, oatmeal, toast with jelly, grits – there are so many options.  Or, even better, brunch.  With brunch you typically get to mix and match several tasty food options… and there’s usually the added bonus of mimosas 🙂 Either way you go, it’s a time to enjoy the best both worlds of savory and sweet foods.

In this post, we’re looking at both options.  For the savory, we have Breakfast Cups.  This recipe originated from a friend back in Weslaco.  It quickly became one of our family favorites for a few reasons – they are quick to make, great for brunches/showers/food gifts, and they freeze really well for a fast breakfast option during the week.  To satisfy a morning sweet tooth we have Quick Cinnamon Rolls. Will loves cinnamon rolls while I am fairly picky about them. These work for both of us and take advantage of packaged crescent roll sheets to bake quickly for a no-fret breakfast option.

What’s your favorite breakfast or brunch treat? Grab a cup of your favorite coffee and try these two out!


Breakfast Cups

  • 1 tube flaky biscuits
  • 2 C shredded cheese (Cheddar, Mont Jack, whatever your preference)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage

Preheat oven to 325.

Cut each biscuit into thirds.  Spray two muffin tins with nonstick spray and place 1/3 of a biscuit into each muffin cup.

*Note:  I like these best with flaky biscuits.  However, at the time of this post, all I had on had was a tube of buttermilk biscuits.  They work fine as well – your end product just won’t be as tall since the buttermilk biscuits won’t “puff” as much as the flaky option.  There were 10 buttermilk biscuits in the tube, flaky has 8 in a tube, so 6 muffin tins ended up with an extra 1/3 biscuit in them.

Brown the breakfast sausage and drain off any excess grease.  You can use any flavor of breakfast sausage here – my go-to is the sage, but I do like the spicy option now and then.

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Remove your pan from the heat and stir in the eggs and shredded cheese.  This mixture will be very thick but you don’t want to cook/scramble the eggs, just get it all mixed up together.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the mixture on top of each biscuit piece.

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Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven, let the tins sit just a minute or two, then pop the Breakfast Cups of out the muffin tin and place on a cooling rack if you are not serving them right away.  If you go straight to a plate when they are right from the oven the bottoms will get a little soggy.

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Breakfast Cups are so versatile – they are awesome straight from the oven, great as they cool down a little, and perfect reheated for 30 seconds straight from the freezer.  I have often made these the night before a brunch or breakfast meeting or froze half the batch for a quick breakfast grab on weekdays.  Try them out!

*Note: when I made both the Breakfast Cups and the Easy Cinnamon Rolls at the same time I set the oven at 350 and started with the Breakfast Cups.  They baked for just over 20 minutes instead of 25 and the cinnamon rolls went closer to 13-14 minutes.


Easy Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 pkg refrigerated crescent roll sheets
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tsp orange juice or milk

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray, or line it with parchment paper.

Unroll the crescent roll sheet but do not separate the strips just yet.  If you can’t find the crescent roll sheets, just use the normal crescent rolls.  You can press the seams together after unrolling the dough and cut them into strips later, or just roll them up like normal crescent rolls.

Brush the dough with the melted butter.

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In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the dough, then sprinkle the chopped pecans over as well.  Gently press the pecans into the dough – you want them to stick a bit but not deflate the crescent dough.

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Tear out each crescent strip, using a paring knife if necessary to cut along the seams.  Roll each strip into a spiral and place it on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly on the pan or a wire rack.

In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, vanilla and enough of the orange juice or milk to make an icing.  You want it to drizzle off the spoon easily but be thick enough to not completely melt when it hits the warm rolls.  Drizzle this over the cinnamon rolls.

Serve warm and enjoy!

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*Note: when I made both the Breakfast Cups and the Easy Cinnamon Rolls at the same time I set the oven at 350 and started with the Breakfast Cups.  They baked for just over 20 minutes instead of 25 and the cinnamon rolls went closer to 14-15 minutes.


Full Recipes

Breakfast Cups

  • 1 tube flaky biscuits
  • 2 C shredded cheese (Cheddar, Mont Jack, whatever your preference)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage

Preheat oven to 325.

Cut each biscuit into thirds.

Grease a two muffin tins and place ⅓ of a biscuit in each cup.

Brown sausage and drain off excess grease.

Remove pan from heat and stir in eggs and cheese – mixture will be thick.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of mixture on top of each biscuit piece.

Bake for 25 minutes.


Easy Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 pkg refrigerated crescent roll sheets
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tsp orange juice or milk

Preheat oven to 375

Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.

Unroll the crescent sheet, do no separate.

Brush dough with melted butter.

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the dough.

Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the dough and gently press them into the dough a bit.

Tear the crescent strips, using a paring knife if necessary, and roll each strip into a spiral.

Place each spiral on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool slightly on pan or wire rack.

In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, vanilla and enough of the orange juice or milk to make an icing of drizzling consistency.

Drizzle over the warm rolls.

Serve warm.