What’s the difference between a muffin and a cupcake? Frosting! This weekend we had both a birthday party and wedding to attend, and for our gluten and dairy-free family, events are always BYOD (bring your own dessert). Other than fruit, the odds are low that we’ll find anything on the dessert table that is safe for us. Unfortunately, many dairy-free recipes replace butter with shortening, which is often loaded with trans-fats and chemicals. I just can’t do it. I like to go light on sugar, avoid anything artificial, but not take away from the end product as far as taste and texture. I’ve taken Silvana‘s recipe for pineapple carrot muffins from Cooking for Isaiah and adapted it to work for us, omitting the oil, decreasing the sugar, adding spices, and substituting zucchini for carrot. You might wonder if your kids will balk at zucchini and pineapple in a cupcake, but everything melts right in. My little one, who isn’t typically picky, did complain when she saw me making them… once out of the oven though, she tried one bite and said, “I changed my mind, these are SO GOOD!”

Zucchini muffin cupcakes

Muffin cupcakes

1 c. gluten-free flour (with xanthan gum)
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
2/3 c. light brown sugar
½ c. finely diced or crushed pineapple
1 c. shredded zucchini

Grease or spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray, and set aside. Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, applesauce, and brown sugar. Add vanilla.  Add zucchini and pineapple. Add the flour mixture to wet ingredients, stir just until combined. Divide among the muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Eat as is (muffins) or frost with a smidgen of powdered sugar mixed with water (and cream cheese if not dairy-free). I intended to share another picture of them with icing, but they were eaten so quickly that by the time I remembered, they were gone. That speaks for itself.

Share your family’s healthy dessert ideas below.  To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook. Peruse past blogs and keep current with new blogs at Stephanie.hvparent.com.