Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Post-Thanksgiving Baking: Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Hey friends!  Time to recover from my Thanksgiving food coma and start posting again!  Though I'm tired so I'm gonna try to make this quick!  And will try to stop using so many exclamation points!

Now originally, I was planning to do a HUGE post all about Thanksgiving and all of the wonderful things my family cooks.  (Can't remember if I said this in my first blog post, but Thanksgiving is the one day of the year that my mom actually voluntarily cooks!)  And not only dinner, we also have a yummy tradition of yeast pancakes and Canadian bacon on Thanksgiving morning:)

I mean, foodies LOOOOOVE Thanksgiving, right?!  But this was about as far as I got...  I'm using the excuse of, "I had strep throat and a cold and wanted to eat and relax so I forgot to take pictures".  All of which was true.  Which is fine cuz you're supposed to eat and relax and spend time with your family during the holidays!  And I'm sure you all are overloaded with your own Thanksgiving traditions/recipes anyway.  But feel free to ask me if you need great recipes for cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, or pumpkin pie (my T-Day responsibilities)!  And maybe I'll do a post on those later... maybe.

So now to the non-Thanksgiving related recipe.  It was the Monday after Thanksgiving... the Michigan Wolverines had crushed the Ohio State Buckeyes and I was back in DC, on the mend from my illness and working from home.  (Jarrett had to fly out to Texas for work less than 4 hours after our arrival back in DC... boooo.)  And I had quite a few individually packaged applesauces left over from the pumpkin granola.  And I wanted to see if applesauce really was a good substitute for oil in baking.  So that evening, I decided to make the first recipe I could think of that utilized oil (and also one where I had most of the ingredients on hand).  Don't ask why this was the first one that came to mind, but it was.  And it was delicious.  And healthy.  (And I need to stop saying "And" and just get to the darn recipe!)

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
2 cups grated raw zucchini (about 1-2 zucchinis, depending on size)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup applesauce*
1/4 cup granulated white sugar*
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, dusted with a bit of flour to prevent sinking
*You can use vegetable/canola oil in place of the applesauce as the original recipe indicates, but will want to increase the white sugar to ½ cup as I used regular (sweetened) applesauce.

1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10" loaf pan with Pam. Set aside.
2.      In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

You probably don't need to see what a bunch of dry ingredients mixed together look like, but just in case:)

3.     In the bowl of an electric mixer/hand mixer (I just used a whisk, the bread was a tad more dense, but just as delicious), beat the oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract until well blended (about 2 minutes). Fold in the grated zucchini. Add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Then fold in the chocolate chips and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

4.      Bake until the bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. (I used a large loaf pan.  If you’re using a standard size (8 ½” or 9”), you will need to increase the baking time, potentially up to 65 minutes.)  Place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.
*Original recipe can be located here.


Like I said, I've made this numerous times before (both with oil/half cup sugar and applesauce/quarter cup sugar) and it's always a crowd-pleaser!  Particularly for book clubs, in-laws, and co-workers... just sayin';)

And it's gotta be healthy... look how much zucchini went in there!!

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