Orange Zucchini Muffins

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Ingredients:
1 cup shredded zucchini
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs or 1/3 cup applesauce (not both!)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup cooking oil (use nut oil like walnut or hazelnut if you have it – otherwise canola will do just fine)
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla (use alcohol-free vanilla if you can, as it imparts a smoother, sweeter, richer flavor)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:
1. Squeeze zucchini until dry; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
2. In another bowl, whisk the eggs or applesauce, brown sugar, oil, orange juice, orange peel, and vanilla.
3. Stir wet ingredients into dry mix, taking care not to over mix – stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Over mixing will make for tougher muffins.
4. Fold in cranberries and zucchini.
5. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. (TIP: use a cookie scoop for easy, mess-free paper cup filling. I’ve found that the large ones deposit the perfect amount of batter for standard muffin tins)
6. Combine sugar and remaining nutmeg, and sprinkle on top of the batter.
7. Bake at 350 deg F for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Cool for five minutes before removing from the pan, and serve warm.

Notes:

    Muffins made with apple sauce instead of eggs will have a better flavor, but take longer to bake – keep checking for doneness every two minutes.
    This recipe makes 10-12 muffins, but can easily be doubled.
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