These are a Tiny Banquet favorite; I've made them probably about ten times now. I made a batch yesterday morning before work because I didn't think my lemon basil from Sunday's farmers' market could survive another day in the refrigerator.
The original recipe is on Epicurious; the muffins are supposed to be used to make little radish sandwiches, but I think they're perfect on their own. I've doubled the original recipe below — if you're making regular-sized muffins you probably want at least a dozen. If you won't eat them all they're very portable and easy to share. I've also edited the instructions for clarity, and replaced the shortening (yuck!) with butter.
You can use other herbs in place of the basil; I've made these with a mix of thyme, sage, and rosemary and also with basil, marjoram, and thyme and both batches were excellent. I'm sure mint and thyme would be good too. Depending on what herbs your're using, reduce the amount to about 1/4 cup, or maybe a bit more if you're using mint.
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more if you need to butter your pan (I use a non-stick silicone pan)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk (see note below)
- 2 cups coarsely grated well-scrubbed zucchini (one medium-size zucchini will give you the right amount)
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Whisk together the flour, the salt, the baking soda, the baking powder and the pepper. In another bowl cream together the butter and the sugar, then beat in the eggs and the buttermilk; continue beating until the mixture is combined well. Stir in the zucchini and the basil. Add the flour mixture to the zucchini mixture, stir the batter until it is just combined, and divide it among 12 well-buttered muffin tins. Bake the muffins in the middle of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Turn the muffins out onto a rack, and let them cool.
Yield: 12 muffins.
Note: I almost always make these with powdered cultured buttermilk, and I think it's a fine substitute. It's good for cornbread and pancakes too.