Friday, April 18, 2014

Baking in Switzerland: Carrot Zucchini Muffins

I love baking - it's in my genes. My mother is a fabulous baker, known for her cookies. My brother makes his own bread from scratch. My sister and I are always plying our partners and co-workers with baked goods. We can't help ourselves! At least if we share, we aren't stuck eating two dozen cookies ourselves, right?

Two weeks ago I made a batch of Martha Stewart's Healthy Morning Muffins. Martha is my go-to for simple, delicious recipes. She never lets me down, and this was no exception. These muffins are packed with banana, carrots and raisins, low in fat and super tasty.

As always, I made a few adjustments. I only had two carrots, so I substituted 1/2 of the carrots for shredded zucchini, making them a bit more like zucchini bread. Add a smear of Swiss butter.... yum. 

Matt loved them so much, I made them again this week for his breakfasts.

Like everything food related, baking in Switzerland required some research and adjustments. It's amazing what ingredients I assumed would be easily available here. This recipe requires both baking soda and baking powder, which are considered "old fashioned" leavening agents in Europe and are therefore less readily available. It took me several weeks and lots of google searching and asking friends to eventually figure out that in Switzerland (and Europe):

Baking Soda = Natron or Bicarbonate de Sodium
Baking Powder = Backpulver or Poudre a Lever

They come in these little packets, which seems silly when I'm used to large boxes of Arm and Hammer, but they're also quite handy - and easier to fit in my tiny Swiss cupboard. I do miss my large boxes of multi-purpose baking soda. I like using "green" cleaning products and baking soda was one of my staples for scrubbing tubs, unclogging drains and removing smells. That, and white vinegar, another difficult to find item. There are dozens of flavored salad vinegars, but no plain, white vinegar (that I have found, at least).

Last fun fact about baking in Switzerland: raisins are better here. Plumper and moister (and, for the record, I am uncomfortable using both those words to describe anything).

I'm off to make another batch for our first visitors from the US. That's right, a stay at Sleachmour B&B includes breakfast, free of charge. What a deal!

Carrot Zucchini Muffins
Based on Martha Stewart's Healthy Morning Muffins

Makes 12

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup skim milk
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 small zucchini, shredded
1 medium ripe banana, mashed


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg*, and salt until there are no lumps. Stir in oats and raisins. Add oil, egg, milk, carrots, and banana and stir until blended.

Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes. Serve muffins warm or at room temperature.


  1. Great post! The muffins look yummy. Maybe if I added chocolate chips I could get your Dad to eat some ;)

  2. Breakfast free of charge?! Can't wait! ;-)