How Do You Solve A Problem Like Zucchini…

I am in the midst of selling and buying a house so I have not had time in the kitchen to try out recipes. I should be back doing my regular schtick by the end of July. In the interim enjoy some of my reposts. See you soon!

[Note: A version of this post published a few years go has been my most successful blog to date. I get at least one hit on it every day and often more. I’m not sure if it’s the title or the content, but it’s had amazing success. I have updated it with some additional thoughts since I’ve made this recipe dozens of times since first posting it, have definitely perfected it and can provide some additional lessons learned. This is the ideal post for this time of year, especially if you’re like me and have tons of zucchini and are running out of ideas on how to use them. Of all my zucchini recipes, savory or sweet, this is by far my absolutely favorite!]


I love to grow vegetables in my garden. It’s not only fun it’s also very satisfying. And I’ve learned over the years, just like anything else in life, that less is more. So I’ve finally come to terms with having blank space in my garden knowing that as the summer progresses the vegetable plants will fill them in. They’re also much happier and produce more because now they have the room to grow and don’t have to compete with other plants for space and water. What a concept. I wish I’d figured that out a lot sooner.

Zucchini Flowers...

Zucchini Flowers…

And for some reason my gardening prowess seems to be growing zucchini. Once the onslaught begins it never seems to end. I love grilled zucchini and I have a great recipe for Zucchini and Mushroom Gratin (thanks in part to Ina Garten) but I’ve struggled with using zucchini to make zucchini bread. The usual recipes seemed too dry and too bland to me. I was searching for the perfect recipe and happened to stumble upon it last year thanks to Pinterest and my friend Kelly Brown who originally pinned it. It is a recipe for double chocolate zucchini bread and I am not kidding when I say it is to die for! I can’t take credit for the original version of the recipe, it is from King Arthur’s Flour, but I love my version for several reasons. So let’s rate the recipe and talk about some lessons learned by making it several times over the past year.

Recipe Rating: A+ to the moon and back (my highest rating ever)! This is by far the best recipe recipe I’ve found to use zucchini, sweet or savory. It is easy to make and uniquely flavorful. I guarantee if you try this, it will become one of your staple recipes.

My very happy zucchini plant...

My very happy zucchini plant…

Lesson Learned 1 – You don’t need butter and white sugar to make a cake sweet: There is no butter or white sugar in this recipe. The substitutes for them are vegetable oil, honey and chocolate chips. This produces a cake/bread that tastes like a flourless chocolate cake with just the right amount of sweetness without being sickeningly sweet. We are so used to a lot of sugar in recipes that the first time I tasted this I wasn’t sure if I liked it. After a few bites I was hooked and now I prefer it to the sweeter versions of zucchini breads.

Lesson Learned 2 – Zucchini enhances the moistness of the bread: This recipe uses a good quantity of zucchini, two cups patted down (that translates into about two 8-9 inch long zucchinis). As with other types of zucchini breads, you really don’t taste the zucchini but it gives the bread a wonderful moistness. Plus it is a great way to use up a bumper crop of zucchini which I tend to get just about every year.

IMG_9519Lesson Learned 3 – Coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate: The original recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder used as a flavor enhancer. I couldn’t find espresso powder at my local grocery store so I just used plain ole’ brewed coffee as a substitute, 2 tablespoons to be exact. It’s amazing how much more robust coffee makes the flavor of chocolate! Plus we make coffee everyday and don’t drink espresso so I didn’t have to spend money on something that would wind up taking up shelf space in the pantry and only used for a few recipes.

Lesson Learned 4 – Add frozen chocolate chips: When adding ingredients like fruit or baking chips you normally have to coat them in flour so they don’t all fall to the bottom of the bread. If you freeze your chips and then add them at the very end right before pouring the mixture into the pan, they will distribute evenly in the bread without having to flour them.

This recipe is simple to make and is so killer delicious you won’t believe what you are tasting. Try it and let me know what you think. Also, I am always on the lookout for zucchini recipes so please if you have a favorite, share it and I will try to make it. I am determined to use all of the zucchini my garden produces and so variety is key to getting that accomplished! Enjoy this one!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 TBS. brewed coffee (or 1/2 tsp. espresso powder)

1/3 cup baking cocoa

1 2/3 cup flour

2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini, gently pressed

1 cup frozen chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate chips)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, lightly grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Grate two 8-9 inch zucchinis. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, honey, oil, brown sugar, vanilla and coffee until smooth.

3. In a separate bowl combine the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and flour whisking until well combined. (if using espresso powder add it to the dry ingredients). Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Do not over mix.

4. Stir in the zucchini until combined. Add the frozen chocolate chips.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

6. Bake the bread for 65-75 minutes. Test for doneness (a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean save for perhaps a light smear of chocolate from the melted chips).

7. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes before taking it out of the pan.

8. Cool completely before slicing (although slightly warm is delectable as well). Store well wrapped at room temperature.

 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Serving suggestion: with strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream...

Serving suggestion: with strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream…

 

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Zucchini…

(Please check out my more recent post regarding this recipe and the lessons I’ve learned after a year of making it several times – just click here and enjoy!)

I love to grow vegetables in my garden. It’s not only fun it’s very satisfying. And I’ve learned over the years, just like anything else, that less is more. So I’ve finally come to terms with having blank space in my garden knowing that as the summer progresses the vegetable plants will fill them in. They’re also much happier because now they have the room to grow and don’t have to compete with other plants for space and water. What a concept. I wish I had figured that out a lot sooner.

A zucchini from my garden...

A zucchini from my garden…

And for some reason my gardening prowess seems to be growing zucchini. Once the onslaught begins it never seems to end. I love grilled zucchini and I have a great recipe for zucchini gratin (thanks to Ina Garten) but I’ve struggled with using zucchini to make zucchini bread. The usual recipes seemed too dry and too bland to me. I was searching for the perfect recipe and happened to stumble upon it last year thanks to Pinterest and my friend Kelly Brown who posted it. It is a recipe for double chocolate zucchini bread and I am not kidding when I say it is to die for! I can’t take credit for the recipe, it is from King Arthur’s Flour, but I love it for several reasons. First, there is no white sugar in the recipe – honey is the substitute for that. Second it uses a good quantity of zucchini, two cups patted down that translates into about two 8-9 inch long zucchinis. Third it uses coffee as a flavor enhancer  (technically the recipe calls for espresso powder but I have been challenged in finding that so I just substitute plain ole’ brewed coffee) and it is amazing how much more robust coffee makes the chocolate flavor. Fourth, it is so simple to make and it so killer delicious you won’t believe what you are tasting.

So enough is enough – here is the recipe. I will write the recipe as originally printed and note adjustments I made to it that work for me in high altitude. I guarantee you will enjoy this one!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

2 large eggs

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 tsp. espresso powder (I used a Tbs. of brewed coffee and got the same effect)

1/3 cup baking cocoa

1 2/3 cup flour

2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini, gently pressed

1 cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate chips)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, lightly grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan (I used the 9 inch loaf pan and struggle to think that the amount of batter you get in this recipe would fit in an 8 inch pan. It doesn’t rise all that much, but there is a lot of batter).

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, honey, oil, sugar and vanilla until smooth. (I added the brewed coffee to this mixture).

3. Add the salt, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa and flour mixing until well combined.

4. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

6. Bake the bread for 65-75 minutes. (the first time I did this I way overcooked the bread. I think because I was using a bigger pan and it takes less time. So now I only bake mine for 45 minutes and it turns out perfectly. If you use the smaller pan you may have to bake it longer because the batter will be less spread out. You may have to play with the cooking times the first few times you make this recipe. Don’t get frustrated if it is not perfect the first time. I guarantee it is worth figuring out how it will work for you and your oven). Test for doneness (a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean save for perhaps a light smear of chocolate from the melted chips).

7. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes before taking it out of the pan.

8. Cool completely before slicing (although slightly warm is delectable as well). Store well wrapped at room temperature.

One more thing to note: I am always on the lookout for zucchini recipes so feel free to share. Enjoy making this one – it is divine!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread