Zucchini-Banana Muffins with Dried Fruits, Nuts and Chocolate Chips

Zucchini season is here and, once again, I bought too many. So I’ve decided to use them in some simple  and nutritious muffins. As it frequently happens, I also had some overripe bananas, so I added them to the batter as well. To this basic mixture I added some chopped dried apricots, dates, walnuts and mini chocolate chips. I ended up with the following tasty muffins, that are perfect as a quick snack, light dessert for lunch, or a sweet “breakfast on the go”. Try them and enjoy.

Notes:
* The amount of sugar is fairly low, which I prefer. However, if you’re into sweeter muffins, you can increase the amount to 1½ cups.
* If you’re not into cardamom powder, cinnamon or nutmeg can be used instead.
* The muffins freeze well, in a Ziploc bag, for up to a month. So it makes sense to bake this fairly large amount.
* For another tasty option of using zucchini in baking, check THIS recipe for zucchini-chocolate cake.

Makes: 24
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
2/3 cup mashed very ripe bananas (from about 3 medium)
½ cup thick yogurt, at least 2% fat
2 L eggs
¼ cup oil
1 cup sugar (see notes)
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp cardamom powder (see notes)
1½ cups shredded zucchini (from 3 large), squeezed lightly
2½ cups flour
1 Tbs baking powder
Dash salt
1/3 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line 2 muffin pans with baking paper cups.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, yogurt and oil. Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla and cardamom and mix well. Add the zucchini and mix again.
3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix briefly. Add the dates, dried apricots, chocolate chips and walnuts, and mix briefly with a spatula. Divide the mixture between the baking cups.

4. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin comes out almost clean. Transfer to a rack, to cool to room temperature.

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