Saturday, August 13, 2011

Double-Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I got an unexpected delivery of zucchini from my mother-in-law the other day, and I was caught totally off-guard. Is it that time of year already? Not wanting this precious produce to go to waste, I tried something that I've never made before: zucchini bread.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a fan of zucchini bread. Or banana bread. Or anything of that ilk. I don't know if it's the texture or the spices used with them, but they've just never really been my thing.

But if you add chocolate, well, that's a completely different story.

This zucchini bread, based on a Food Network Kitchens recipe, is studded with dark chocolate chips, and also has some cocoa in the batter. The cocoa isn't overwhelming ... it still has a bit of zucchini-bread flavor, but actually has a taste and texture that's more like cake than bread.

And did I mention the chocolate chips?

This bread is tasty on its own, but would be incredible topped with some whipped cream. Or cream cheese. And maybe some more chocolate chips. I deserve a reward. I hit the treadmill today. For 10 whole minutes, too.

Double-Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Makes 2 loaves

2 1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. buttermilk, at room temperature
2 c. shredded, unpeeled zucchini (8 oz.)
6 oz. dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9"x5" loaf pans.

2. Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

3. Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high spped until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

4. While mixing, drizzle in the oil and beat until incorporated. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

5. Add the vanilla to the buttermilk.

6. Slowly mix 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, and then 1/2 the buttermilk mixture. Mix in another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk, and then the last of the flour mixture.

7. Fold zucchini and chocolate chips into the batter.

8. Divide the batter between the two pans.

9. Bake until a toothpick in the center of the bread comes out clean, about 45 minutes for a glass pan and 55 minutes for a metal pan. (I tried one of each.)

10. Cool in pans on rack before removing loaves from pans.

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