Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

This is an adaption of a recipe from my Mum... She always bakes these muffins during harvest, and eating them brings back memories of spending every autumn driving a combine and visiting my family. This year will be the first year since I was 9 years old that I won't be driving a combine. Because Fiora will only be about 5 weeks old when harvest arrives, I will be cooking for the crew instead of driving... not a bad trade-off as I'll have a whole crew of hungry workers that I can use as testers for new recipes!

I've changed the recipe from the original by making it gluten-free, vegan, and by cutting the sugar down to a third. Enjoy the healthy changes!

Makes 24 muffins

1/4 cup vegan margarine <*may substitute regular margarine if not following a vegan diet>
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup light agave nectar
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour <*may substitute 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour and eliminate potato starch completely, if not following a gluten free diet.>
1 cup potato starch <*eliminate if using all purpose wheat flour>
1/2 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
2 cups grated (peeled) zucchini
1/2 cup original flavor almond milk <*may substitute regular whole milk if not following a vegan diet>
1 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

~Crumble Topping:
3/4 cup gluten-free oats
1/8 cup brown rice flour <*may substitute with unbleached all purpose flour if not following a gluten-free diet>
2 tbsp melted vegan margarine
 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine all ingredients (excluding ingredients for Crumble Topping) in a large bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly blended.  Next, in a separate small bowl, combine Crumble Topping ingredients and set aside. Line standard size muffin tin with paper liners and lightly grease with vegan margarine or coconut oil. Next use a 1/4 cup ice-cream scoop** to evenly distribute muffin batter into greased muffin liners. Top with Crumble Topping and place muffins into heated oven to bake for 25 minutes, or until wooden pick comes out clean. Let muffins cool before removing from pan, and once completely cooled, store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Baked muffins may also be frozen for up to a month.

**a good investment if doing lots of baking is a thumb release 1/4 cup ice-cream scoop. The scoop will evenly distribute your batters with relatively no mess.. not to mention you will have perfectly sized, uniform muffins and cupcakes!