Zucchini bread cookies

Getting back from vacation and trying to wind down, it's amazing how quickly I get the urge to head back into the kitchen to bake a little something sweet. The craving to cook and eat are forces to be reckoned with. I've been cooking non-stop since we got home from California since we missed simple, lighter home-cooked meals, and it only took a few days before dessert came back into play again.
I've got vegetables on my mind and I've been thinking about zucchini bread after seeing them on blogs recently.  It made me remember how surprisingly good it is and how I've not tasted it enough. Since I didn't think we could handle a big loaf of zucchini bread right now coming off of vacation, I thought a small batch of zucchini bread cookies would be just the thing to try.  And what do you know! Just like zucchini bread, these cookies took me by surprise - as in being really surprisingly good.
I tweaked the original recipe a bit by substituting half the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour. I went light on the cinnamon since I prefer it in moderation.  As far as spices go, I suspect a little touch of nutmeg would go very well with the cinnamon here if you want even more depth. I was generous with the toasted walnuts but omitted the cream cheese filling and kept these as simple cookies rather than sandwich cookies.  Together with oats and the zucchini, I think these pass for fairly healthy cookies to munch on - even right after a vacation! I even managed to restrain myself from adding chocolate chips and I'm glad I did because these cookies were full of flavor.
I didn't tell my son about the zucchini in these cookies.  In fact, I called them "muffin cookies" because they do indeed taste like a muffin, or the muffin top! He saw me taking pictures of the shredded zucchini and I made no bones about it but he's an 8-year old boy and just doesn't pay very close attention to what mom's cooking and doing. I knew we had a winner when I held out a bite to him and he took a larger bite and kept going - even with the walnuts! These cookies are really moist, with just enough sweetness. They're aromatic with the cinnamon and toasted walnuts, and I love the texture contributed by the oats. You don't taste the zucchini but it's worked its magic in there somehow.
These cookies made me think of those delicious banana bread cookies I've made in the past.  In both cases, taking a classic for a little spin turned out to be very rewarding. These zucchini bread cookies are something I'm glad I tried and I'll be making again.


Just a few baking notes before proceeding to the actual recipe.  I wrung out some of the liquid in the grated zucchini before adding it to the cookie dough. The recipe didn't specify it so I don't think it's a mandatory step but since there's so much water in zucchini, I decided to remove some of it in case the cookies turn out too wet.  I wouldn't go crazy getting every bit of moisture out but I'm glad I took the extra step since the cookies came out very moist even with some of the water removed.
Don't be alarmed if the cookie dough looks a little like a crab cake mixture! It'll be wet and the dough needs some time in the refrigerator to firm up enough to handle and scoop.

I made my cookies by scooping out heaping small ice-cream scoops of batter, about 2 tablespoons worth per cookie.  They only needed about 12-13 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven to be done.  The edges should be golden brown and the overall final product is a moist cookie that tastes very much like a yummy muffin.

Recipe:

Zucchini Bread Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe for Zucchini Nut Bread Cookie Sandwiches

- Approximately 2 dozen - 

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or you could use all-purpose)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (you could use up to 1 1/4 teaspoon; or add 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup finely grated zucchini (I wrung out some of the liquid from the zucchini)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped into small pieces

Whisk flours, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl to combine.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until just pale and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla to combine.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture.  Mix in the zucchini, oats, and walnuts until just incorporated.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl to give it a final stir, then chill the dough for at least an hour until firm enough to scoop.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop dough, about 2-tablespoons full, onto the baking sheet leaving 2 inches of space between the cookies.  Bake until edges are golden brown, about 12-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time.  Let cool on a wire rack.  

These cookies are very moist so I like to store them between layers of parchment or wax paper to prevent sticking.  Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container, at room temperature, for about 3 days.










47 comments:

  1. Monica, this is such a FANTASTIC idea!!! I love how pretty this cookie look and love that it tasted like a muffin top. I'm going to eliminate rolled oats. Should I just sub it for more flour? I'm not much of a cookie maker so I thought I'd ask. :) Thank you for sharing this with us. Pinning!

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    1. I thought so, too, Anne, but I can't take credit for it. The geniuses at MSL thought it up. Sorry you don't like oats? I wish I knew exactly what to do (I won't even pretend to know what I'm talking about!) but I think it should work subbing with flour. The cookies are very moist so you'll need to replace it with some sort of dry or it will really be wet and fall apart on you. It tastes like a muffin and like a traditional coffee cake - really good! I hope you try it and let me know if you used more flour and how it goes down. Thank u, Anne!

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    2. Thanks Monica. I will sub oats for more flour and see what happens. :) Have a great weekend!

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  2. really, really love the idea of turning quick breads into cookies; what could be better? it's portable, it's not as intimidating to kids...in short, it's perfect. we're definitely trying this here. My little one was raving about the zucchini bread i made a few weeks ago (and like your little guy, she didn't notice the vegetables in there and i saw no reason to mess with a good thing), so i know she'd love these.

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    1. Thanks, Shannon! My guy ate it and ate it these last 3 days heartily (I still haven't told him)! haha. I love making these smaller portion cookies like with the banana bread. Plus, they still so moist for days.

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  3. These look delicious! I also love the thought of taking my favorite quick bread recipe and turning it into a cookie! Brilliant! Thank you for sharing. I love zucchini bread and we have a huge zucchini plant growing in our garden!

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    1. I'm jealous of all the home gardens and people with too much fresh home-grown vegetables! These are really good to stock in the cookie drawer for a somewhat wholesome snack.

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  4. They do look great Monica - welcome back and enjoy those yummy looking, soft, sweet beautiful cookies :)

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    1. Thanks, Tricia. I appreciate your comments.

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  5. I have never thought of making cookies with zucchini. They look wonderful! After seeing these cookie I really want to make some. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Dawn. I did it with banana bread and we loved it and I've made it a couple of times. When I saw this, I had to try it. I like being able to make a small batch. They taste really good and are very moist.

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  6. Such a great idea! Never would have thought of this. I love zucchini bread, so I know I would adore these. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. It really works well as a cookie - so moist! Thanks, Marie.

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  7. I love to use zucchini in baking, love it in cakes, but never tried it in a cookie !

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    1. I hadn't done it (baked with zucchini in ages)...this was a great reminder of how good it is.

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  8. What a brilliant idea, Monica! Love to use zucchini in the baking, but never thought of using them in making cookies. Totally love the idea.

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    1. I thought it was brilliant when I saw it on Martha's site, too, Angie! These quick breads seem great in cookie form - pick up and go!

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  9. What a great way to use up zucchini instead of bread! I bet kids totally love them ;)

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    1. Totally...call them "muffin cookies" and good to go.

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  10. I sure wish I grew zucchini this year, definitely going to give this a try now!

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    1. You have such a bounty in your garden! I hear zucchini grows rampant but I wouldn't know...no green thumb here.

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  11. Really, this is such a fantastic idea, and seriously I have never used zucchini is baking. Thanks a ton for the recipe. I will definitely make it, pinning.

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    1. You really can't taste the zucchini but I think the magic is it imparts a lot of moisture and a bit of sweetness and blends with a bit of spices...

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  12. Yum!! I'm always a fan of zucchini in desserts, ever since zucchini bread won me over. You're right about wringing out the excess liquid from the zucchini; I do the same when making zucchini bread, since zucchini is so moist to begin with! What a wonderful recipe, I'll have to try it sometime (:

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    1. Yes, I was thinking about how surprisingly good zucchini bread turned out to be when I was making this.

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  13. I've made Zucchini muffin once and I really enjoyed them, and cookies?? Give me some! Love that they are "veggies" in the cookies. :)

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    1. I think they probably all taste equally as good - so moist! The zucchini does does make a healthier cookie, right? ; )

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  14. These would be the perfect sweet treats to have on hand for midday snacking! Especially since I could convince myself they're pretty much health food. :P

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    1. That's exactly what I did - had it as a midday snack. Really good as breakfast too, frankly. : )

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  15. I love the idea of having these for breakfast. And without guilt, since they have zucchini in them :)

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    1. Definitely qualifies for the breakfast category. Just like a muffin or coffee cake. : )

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  16. Zucchini bread cookies?!? Brilliantly yummy!!

    Pinned!

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  17. I love your incorporation of veggies in these cookies! Bet they were fantastic!
    Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com

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    1. Thank you, Shashi. I loved these little cookies.

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  18. These cookies sound and look great Monica...I love the idea of incorporating zucchini in it...and yes, some crunchiness with walnut is just perfect.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe and have a lovely week :D

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    1. Thanks, Juliana. Enjoy your week, too.

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  19. What a fantastic idea! Need to make this soon!

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    1. Thanks, Asmita. Hope you enjoy it.

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  20. I love how you incorporated zucchini in this cookie! It looks so soft and delicious! :)
    Tina at www.tinaschic.com

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    1. They are definitely soft and super moist. Very warm and tasty, too. : )

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  21. Perfect for after vacation! I'll need these in a few days :)

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    1. Yes, good post-vacation treat...a good way to ease back into it. haha

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  22. Such a cool idea to have zucchini in cookies. I actually have never tried zucchini bread, but I am due to make it for my dad at some point. I might be on board with it...not sure. :)

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    1. Don't be hesitant about zucchini baked goods. I swear you cannot taste the zucchini but it adds this moisture, bit of sweetness, and sort of substance to things. These cookies just taste like a morning, slightly spiced, walnut muffin. I recommend them! : )

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