Zucchini Carrot Pumpkin Muffins

Zucchini Carrot Pumpkin Muffins
I had this crazy idea the other day to combine three of my favorite kinds of quick breads. Zucchini bread, carrot cake bread and pumpkin bread. They all have a spiced batter and require fall vegetables for texture and flavor. I started off by using a cup of pumpkin puree, then added a bit of grated carrot to it and a half cup of grated zucchini. I was a bit nervous about how the liquid in the carrot and zucchini would effect the texture of the muffins, but since I was able to squeeze most of it out, it wasn’t a problem. These baked up perfectly and smelled divine! I topped mine off with a bit of whipped cinnamon cream cheese topping, but these are just as tasty without. Nuts or raisins would also be a great addition to this recipe along with pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Enjoy and happy baking!

Zucchini Carrot Pumpkin Muffins
Ingredients:
1½ c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
¼ c. brown sugar
1 c. pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
2 eggs
¼ c. vegetable oil
¼ c. unsweetened applesauce
¼ c. water
¼ c. finely grated carrot, liquid removed
½ c. finely grated zucchini, liquid removed
¾ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Whipped Cinnamon Cream Cheese Topping:
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
¼ c. butter, room temperature
½ c. powdered sugar
¼ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2-3 tbsp. milk

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one standard size muffin pan with liners or grease with baking spray, set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with mixing speed on low, combine sugars, puree, vegetable oil, applesauce, water, and vanilla extract. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined.
3. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and ground cinnamon. With mixing speed on low, gradually add in the dry ingredients, mixing until no flour pockets remain. Remove bowl from stand, gently fold in carrot and zucchini, set aside.
4. Place in oven and bake for 18-22 minutes or until the tops spring back and are golden brown in color. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. While muffins cool, to make the whipped topping, combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Gradually bring up the mixing speed to high, beat until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. The mixture should be very soft and spreadable, this is like frosting, but with less sugar. If more milk is needed to create a smoother consistency, add more and continue beating. Spread onto the tops of the cooled muffins.
Recipe adapted from Libby’s Pumpkin Cranberry Bread | Makes 12 standard size muffins