Unusual recipes

Chocolate Cranberry Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Cranberry Zucchini Muffins

These Chocolate Cranberry Zucchini Muffins let you get away with chocolate for breakfast! Great for using up surplus zucchini. The cranberries are tart and a perfect contrast to the chocolate.

These absolutely gorgeous Chocolate Cranberry Zucchini Muffins are from a new cookbook that I’m really enjoying right now. It’s called The Cranberry Cookbook, and it’s by none other than Sally Vargas, one of our Our Site contributors!

The pages of this cookbook are full of ideas for incorporating cranberries into every meal of the day.

Didn’t think you needed that many cranberry recipes? Think again! As usual, Sally has hit it out of the park and given us a collection of recipes that are sure to become favorites.

  • Get the book! The Cranberry Cookbook by Sally Pasley Vargas

Most of us probably associate cranberries with Thanksgiving dinner, but Sally makes a convincing argument for giving cranberries some year-round attention.

The frozen and dried varieties are easily available any month of the year, she reminds us, and you can use them in savory recipes just as easily as sweet recipes.

To prove her point, she includes recipes in her cookbook for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and for every season.

Here’s a sampling: Cranberry-Chocolate Babka, Grilled Beef Kebabs with Cranberry Barbecue Sauce, Turkey Sliders, Pickled Cranberries, Dark Chocolate Gelato with Bourbon-Infused Cranberries, and Cranberry Lime Ricky.

And, of course, these Chocolate Cranberry Zucchini Muffins.

As I flipped through Sally’s book, I kept returning again and again to these Chocolate Cranberry Zucchini Muffins. They looked so rich and decadent — the kind of muffin that walks the line between breakfast and dessert. And so pretty!

I’m happy to say that they hold up to their promise. The zucchini keeps the muffins incredibly moist and rich, and the cocoa makes them feel like a real treat.

I was surprised by the whole cranberries called for in the recipe — I’m used to seeing dried fruit in muffin recipes like this. But they were perfect. They melted into jammy pockets during baking and made the perfect contrast to the richness of the muffin.

Oh, and don’t skip the pistachios on top! They add just the right amount of texture and crunch to every bite.

Convinced that you need more cranberries in your life? I hope so! Check out Sally’s book and make sure your pantry is stocked!

  • Get the book! The Cranberry Cookbook by Sally Pasley Vargas

Chocolate Cranberry Zucchini Muffins Recipe

From Sally Vargas: "These muffins prove that any time of day is a good time for chocolate. Use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin cups to achieve beautiful rounded tops. Almond flour gives them a rich flavor and moist texture; it is simply finely ground almonds, which you could make yourself in a food processor. To give these muffins sparkle and color, sprinkle them with coarse sugar and a few pinches of chopped pistachios."

Sally also mentions that if you have trouble finding frozen cranberries at the store, frozen raspberries would make a good substitute.

If your grated zucchini seems very wet, use your hands to squeeze out the excess.

Recipe reprinted with permission from The Cranberry Cookbook © 2017 by Sally Pasley Vargas. Reproduced by permission of Globe Pequot, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield. All rights reserved.


  • 1 cup (150g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (110g) almond flour
  • 1/3 cup (28g) unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (113g) honey
  • 1/4 cup (50g) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated zucchini (3 to 4 medium zucchini; see Recipe Note)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sugar, such as turbinado sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green pistachios
  • 12-cup muffin tin


1 Adjust a rack to the middle position of the oven, and heat oven to 400F.

2 Prepare the muffin tin: Generously butter the cups and rims of a standard 12-cup muffin tin, or line the tin with paper cupcake liners. Have on hand a 21/2-inch ice-cream scoop.

3 Combine the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

4 Add the wet ingredients: Make a large well in the center of the bowl and break the eggs into it. Add the honey, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat with a fork to mix thoroughly. With a spatula, stir until the flour is well incorporated.

5 Stir in the zucchini and cranberries.

6 Scoop into the muffin cups: Using the ice cream scoop, fill each muffin cup, rounded side up, with about 1/3 cup batter.

Sprinkle the muffins with the turbinado sugar and pistachios, and set the tin on a baking sheet.

7 Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs.

8 Set the muffin tin on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool on the rack.

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