Sunday, August 29, 2010

Upgrade: Chocolate Zucchini Bread

We were finally able to crawl out of the dark ages recently and upgrade our entire computer and internet system: new laptop, new printer, and new wireless, high-speed internet connection. I now know how Dorothy must have felt when she stepped out of her little black-and-white home and into the colorful wonders of Munchkin Land in Oz. The only thing missing was an adorably gruff greeting from the Lollipop Guild.

To celebrate my new ability to upload photos to this site in seconds rather than minutes (you have no idea how much time and frustration I have sacrificed to get these mediocre pictures up for your viewing…um…pleasure?), I thought I’d do a simple upgrade to a recipe. It was time again (again!) to make zucchini bread, so I took it to another level with the addition of cocoa and chocolate chips. Not only have I used up some of those prolific squash, but I’ve brought it into the realm of (modest) celebration with chocolate in the mix. No matter how great my new computer set-up might be, that’s probably as close to multitasking as I’m going to get.

I started with the zucchini buttermilk bread I posted last summer and made a few simple substitutions. The big one was the swap of some of the all-purpose flour for cocoa powder. I really wasn’t sure how much would be prudent here, but I think my (somewhat educated) guess was right, as the bread was plenty chocolaty without getting bitter. I replaced some of the sugar with dark brown sugar to enrich the bread a bit more. In fact, I added a little extra brown sugar to counteract some of the bitterness of the cocoa. I also substituted miniature chocolate chips, which are subtly present as little bursts of chocolate in the final product, for the pecans. As far as the spices go, I kept only the cinnamon, since I like it with chocolate.

Overall, this recipe upgrade was successful. The bread is moist and chocolaty. You can still see the occasional fleck of green zucchini skin, but the zucchini mostly contributes to the moistness of the bread. Okay, at this point you may be asking, as I did: with barely discernable vegetable and clear and present chocolate, how is this now not just cake. This is a good question, and I’ll have to think on that some more, sampling plenty of the product along the way. In the meantime I’ll have to give the answer, “Because I said so.” It’s my upgrade after all.

Chocolate Zucchini Quick Bread

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup white granulated sugar
¾ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup canola oil or vegetable oil
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup miniature chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir well with a whisk to combine. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and brown sugar. Stir together to combine and break up any lumps of brown sugar. Set aside.

2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl (I use a heavy-duty stand mixer with the paddle attachment at medium speed) about 4 minutes. They will start to get thick and paler in color. Gradually add the sugar mixture and beat until well-blended.

3. Stir in the oil, buttermilk, and zucchini. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix at low speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir gently with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, being sure to scrape up any dry ingredients from the bottom of the bowl that may not have been incorporated previously.

4. Grease or spray with cooking spray 2 8 x 4-inch bread pans. Spoon half the batter into each pan.

5. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes. When the bread is done, a wooden skewer or pick inserted in the center will come out with just a few crumbs sticking to it, not a glob of wet batter.

6. Cool the bread in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 2 loaves, or at least 20 slices.

Another recipe like this one: Zucchini Buttermilk Bread with Pecans

One year ago: Broccoli and Chickpea Salad with Mustard-Pepper Dressing

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