the taste space

Raw Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (Nut-Free)

Posted in Desserts by janet @ the taste space on June 20, 2013

Raw Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (Nut-Free)

As you may have guessed, yes, I am still alive.

I survived my crazy Rideau Lakes cycle.

My focus this year was to pass my exam (which I did!) and then I quickly ramped up to cycle to Kingston. I cycled another 50 km during the week leading up to the weekend and took Thursday and Friday off as rest days. My final pre-event odometer reading was 560 km, 150km within the previous week.

That weekend, though, I cycled over 200 km. Not too shabby. This was my second time on the course, so I know that the hardest part is between Perth and Kingston. This is where most of the hills lie, including the dreaded Westport hill. The nice thing about repeating the course is that I did not feel compelled to conquer the entire course. Been there, done that. Enjoying the ride with a great group of friends was more important.

Our Cobra biker gang consisted of my Dad, Rob and Sue. While Sue and I had already decided we wanted the shorter route from Perth, the boys wanted the full route. However, due to an early rain shower, we all ended up starting from Perth on Saturday. A later start meant the roads would be dry, but more importantly so would our shoes and clothes. I was positively soaked during my training ride, and I simply hate cold, wet shoes.

Turns out we had my ideal cycling weather: overcast and not too hot. We were having a great time and I was positively giddy once we smoked down Westport’s hill. Sue pummelled it at 69 km/h. I had my brakes on and my max was 59 km/h. As we lounged at the gas station at the bottom, other cyclists reminded me that the hardest part would be the next day, tackling that hill in the opposite direction.

The only wrinkle in our day was my slow-leaking flat at around the 80 km mark. My Dad pumped it up and we crossed our fingers, hoping I could make it to Kingston without changing the tube. Lucky me, we made it and found an on-site technician to change my tube for me.

As we stood in line at the maintenance tent, I chatted with the guy in front of me. He did the whole cycle from Ottawa. And yes, do the math, he lapped me. He arrived before me, covering an extra 77km in the 2 hours it took us to start in Perth. His average speed put ours to shame: 35 km/h. Ours was more like 23 km/h, and we probably took way more breaks, HA!

We arrived early enough that we beat the late afternoon sudden rainfall, and with enough time to relax and clean up before having an early dinner. While none of the heated mains were vegan, I picked up cooked carrots, corns and a marinara sauce and then loaded up at the salad bar where I made my own salad with greens, carrots, cabbage, kidney beans and chickpeas with a balsamic dressing. Strawberries for dessert.

The next morning, we met bright and early over my peanut butter oatmeal with fruit. Both my Dad and I snagged a bunch of bananas for the road.

This time, the weather was a beautiful sunny day. The wind was barely moving and any breeze was from us, or when the pentalon would pass us. HA! And the dreaded Westport hill? I was quickly reminded how difficult it was – I remembered it being not that hard. The steep incline comes early but it is short-lived. The hill continues at less steep incline afterwards, for around another 1 km. A quick break at the top had us re-energized to tackle the next set of rolling hills.

We made it to Perth by lunch time when Rob and my Dad waved us goodbye as they cycled the rest of the way home. Sure enough, they covered the last 77 km in 2.5 hours. Their 28 km/h average was impressive at the end of such a weekend. Sue and I were perfectly content to call it a day at Perth. Thankfully, I wasn’t as tired as I feared (judging by my fatigue after my training ride) and even had the gusto collect our luggage and then bake cookies for Rob before he came home. My Mom made her lovely quinoa pilaf again along with roasted asparagus and peppers.

However, now Rob calls me a monkey. I think I ate 5 bananas on Sunday, in addition to my homemade chocolate peanut butter balls. And while I would love to share the delicious chocolate peanut butter balls I brought with me, the photos are still in Ottawa. So, I am sharing these treats that I brought with me on my training run.

After really enjoying the Nut-free Raw Carrot Cake made with coconut flour, I wanted to try something similar but with zucchini and chocolate, instead. So I experimented. Instead of grated carrots, I used grated zucchini. Instead of the cinnamon and nutmeg, I used cocoa powder. Instead of the apple-cashew frosting, I used cacao nibs for easier transport. And I really liked them. Asterisk, though. I would add more cocoa powder next time. I used up the end of my supply so I worked with what I had. Furthermore, while I ate these as cycling treats, they do not travel well at all. They worked for me with a short ride, since I popped them out frozen. Within 2 hours, they are at their perfect consistency: chilled and firm.  Once they became warm, they were mushy and messy. Still delicious but not ideal. Definitely not portable to/from Ottawa and Kingston. Thus, I made new snacks that were uber portable. And once I get the photos from my parents, I will share that delightful recipe with you, too.

Raw Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (Nut-Free)

Raw Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from Amber’s Enlightened Carrot Cake

1 cup pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained (water reserved)
1 pound zucchini, peeled if desired, shredded and patted dry (I used 2 medium zucchinis, in total ~550g)
1 large or 2 small red apples, peeled if desired, cored, and chopped (I used 1.5 medium Gala apples)
1/4 cup date soaking liquid
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp cocoa powder (I would use more next time, but this cleaned me out)
3/4 cup coconut flour
Stevia to taste (optional, did not use)
cacao nibs as a garnish, optional

1. Soak your dates.

2. Use your food processor to grate your zucchini with the grater attachment. Remove and set aside in a large bowl.

3. In your high-speed blender or food processor using the S-blade, combine the drained dates, apple, reserved soaking water, vanilla and salt and blend until smooth (a bit chunky is ok).

4. Add the cocoa powder and blend again until combined.

5. Add pureed mixture to the zucchini and stir well with a spoon to combine.

6. Stir in the coconut flour (sift it if it is clumpy), and stir until uniformly combined. Adjust sweetness by adding stevia, if desired. If you have time, set batter aside for 5-10 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the water.

7. Pack batter into muffin tray (I did not line them and it was ok) and place in freezer until frozen. At this point, to remove them from the muffin tray, I gently ran warm water on the other side of the muffin tray. Once slightly melted, the cupcakes popped right out. Wrap tightly or place in air-tight container. Can refrigerate or freeze. Prior to eating, thaw cupcakes at room temperature for at least two hours, then frost.

Makes 14 cupcakes.

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24 Responses

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  1. Johanna GGG said, on June 20, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    wow those look like they are baked but I guess it is just because they are frozen or chilled in the photo

    and that is amazing you had the energy to ride so far after all your studying – onya (as we like to say in Australia) I am most impressed and wish I could do so much cycling (except that really steep hill that I would have got off my bike and walked – definitely)

    • janet @ the taste space said, on June 20, 2013 at 2:39 PM

      Hey Johanna, You are too kind. I definitely had way more energy for the real ride than my practice ride the weekend before. It also helped that there was minimal traffic since we were out in the country. Actually, as I was riding, I kept telling myself: I cycled up that hill last time, so it is ok if I need to walk it (my Dad took a photo of me cycling up it right next to a guy walking it last time, hehe).

      Since it comes near the end of day 2, it is hard enough since I am tired from the previous day…. but I pummeled through it and didn’t have to walk. YOUPEE!!

  2. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table said, on June 20, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    Way to go on the ride!! Bananas are great fuel. Way better than that Gu stuff.

    Chocolate and zucchini are two of my favorite things to combine. I do a baked muffin using cocjit flour but didn’t think to try it raw! I need to find a good sub for dates in raw food. I can’t get into them.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on June 20, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      Thank, Laura. Oh, how I thee adore dates. I can (and have) eaten far too many a few times. I have to limit them just because I love them so much.. haha!
      Hope all is well. :)

  3. Rob said, on June 20, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Yay Monkey! Go Cobras!

  4. Quincy @ Shugurcän said, on June 20, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    I like traditional zucchini muffins a lot but I love the idea for raw ones! Raw desserts leave me feeling so much lighter and more energized after than baked goods do

  5. Eileen said, on June 20, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Yay biking! You win! These muffins sound super interesting. And bananas are totally better than all the processed biking nutrition packets, obviously. :)

    • janet @ the taste space said, on June 20, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      Thanks Eileen. It is true, I forget how great natural fruit can be… however they are pretty bulky for long rides. While this ride had minimal support, I liked that even the gas station that is a common break point were selling bananas (50c each but hey, better than the rest).

  6. Chef Amber Shea said, on June 20, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    Nice! Love your variation; I will have to try it sometime. :)

  7. coconutandberries said, on June 20, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Congrats on the cycle Janet. Oxford, where I live is a city for bikes so I cycle pretty much everywhere but I’m still a terrible cyclist- painfully slow and don’t think I could ever cover such a distance as you.
    These muffins loook great- I’ve had baked choc zucchini muffins but these are quite different. I still need to make Amber’s coconut flour carrot cake…too many recipes too little time..sigh..

    • janet @ the taste space said, on June 21, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      Emma, Trust me, I am a slow cyclist.. and I take a lot fo breaks. One just needs endurance for these type of long distance cycle trips.. and friendly people to ride with to keep you motivated. :)

      I feel the same thing – too many recipes, too little time!

  8. Hannah said, on June 20, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Congratulations!! Is there anything you can’t do? ;)

    • janet @ the taste space said, on June 21, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      Thanks, Hannah. The obvious answer is: I couldn’t do the 356km ride!! Also, I have my doubts about surviving Houston’s summer. GAH!

  9. Joanne said, on June 20, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    Congrats on your ride!! You are such a rockstar.

  10. erika said, on June 21, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Wow, I can’t believe these aren’t baked!! That’s super impressive. I am so intrigued…gonna have to give these a whirl someday!

  11. Kari @ bite-sized thoughts said, on June 22, 2013 at 2:01 AM

    I am yet to make your raw carrot cake and now that recipe has a serious rival in these! I think I’ll have to make both, pronto :P And – congratulations on your ride! That’s a fantastic achievement. I’m also pleased to discover that there’s a Perth in Canada – I live in the Perth of Australia and seeing my city mentioned gave me a slight surprise ;)

  12. Gabby @ the veggie nook said, on June 23, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    I love this variation and just so happen to have some zucchini that need using! Totally buying the rest of the ingredients on the way home to try :) I’ve always been more of a zucchini cakes person over carrot.

  13. […] and fuelled. Even short runs are more demanding. This is a portable snack recipe I promised a while back. I whipped them up with the odds and ends in my mom’s kitchen before we left for our cycle to […]

  14. […] Nut-Free Raw Chocolate Zucchini Muffins […]

  15. […] raw brownie, this was lighter in texture due to the coconut flour (but more fudgy than my raw chocolate zucchini muffin). Plus the frosting just sealed the deal: delicious decadence. I highly recommend this. Although […]


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