This delicious, satisfying chocolate zucchini bread came on the heels of two very unfortunate baking experiments, and a last-minute mishap to boot.
Failure #1: I tried to make a zucchini bread without chocolate chips or cocoa powder. Now I know that it’s possible to make a good spiced zucchini bread, but the recipe I tried did not generate one.
First red flag: it required far too much zucchini.
Second red flag: once the batter was all mixed, there was STILL too much zucchini and the whole mixture just seemed much too gloppy and liquid-y.
It looked good enough once it was baked, though.
Its true nature was revealed when I sliced it open. To my great dismay, it didn’t taste like spice cake it all; instead it tasted like wet zucchini, which was most unpleasant. Understatement.
Failure #2: I took another crack at my peach muffin quest.
I still had some peach puree left so I tried a new recipe. This one included some spices and some lemon zest, which I thought would help amp up the peach flavor. They actually looked pretty good, if somewhat lumpy.
Sadly, not only did they lack peach flavor, they lacked any significant flavor at all. I got a whisper of cinnamon from the top and a whiff of lemon from the zest, but that was it. I pitched them. (I think if I want to make peach muffins, I’ll have to add peach nectar or peach extract, because, as Barb the B&B owner warned me, peaches themselves don’t have a strong enough flavor to carry a muffin on the strength of their puree.)
I was ultimately redeemed by this delightful chocolate chip zucchini bread, and even after reducing the sugar and the chocolate chips and the oil, I still ended up with an exquisite, tasty treat. Hooray! Of course the journey wasn’t without its mishaps.
I started by grating a cup of zucchini. I used my new grater, which makes the pieces smaller and therefore less detectable, and squeezed the moisture out.
Things got rough after that. Truth be told, I was TRYING to make these zucchini banana chocolate chip muffins, and made the terrible mistake of whisking the dry ingredients together before doing an inventory to see if I had everything I needed. The two overripe bananas I was counting on? Gone! I guess they just didn’t look gross enough because the kids ate them. Now I’m not one to deny my children some healthy bananas, but I was most displeased when I had to switch gears, and couldn’t find another recipe with a similar baking powder ratio. I had to pitch the dry ingredients and start again.
I took a deep breath, counted to five, and started again.
I whisked together whole wheat white flour, toasted wheat germ, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon (instead of the 1/2 suggested), nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Notice the new whisk? It’s red, which I like. Other than that, I’m on the fence, as it’s a little wiggly,
In another bowl, I beat the egg. To that I added half a cup of brown sugar (not a full cup of white), and the zucchini. Then instead of using a quarter up of canola oil, I filled half the 1/4 cup with low fat vanilla yogurt and topped it off with the oil. It was probably about half and half.
Since my whisk was wiggly, I used a spatula to mix. Everything blended together nicely. I poured it into the dry ingredients.
This was already an improvement over the previous zucchini experiment, even if it does look a bit like an alien takeover. I mixed just enough to incorporate, then folded in the chocolate chips, opting for half a cup instead of a whole one.
The batter looked pretty good. (It didn’t taste too shabby either.) I poured/glopped/scooped it into a loaf pan and then on a whim decided to sprinkle some demerara sugar across the top. (I suppose I was still haunted by my unfortunate experience with the wet zucchini bread.)
It said to bake for an hour, but mine was done at 40 minutes. Every single time that happens I am grateful to the pastry chef at Sur La Table for telling me to start checking baked goods halfway through the baking time. “Don’t trust anyone else to know your oven,” she said. Sage advice.
It looked good and smelled good. I felt the stirrings of hope. I gave it another ten minutes in the pan, then flipped it onto a rack to finish cooling.
It took a while to taste it. It had to cool, I had plans — a private yoga lesson, actually, on the day before a family trip — and so a few hours went by before I had the opportunity.
This bread has a lovely soft crumb, a hint of spice from the cinnamon and nutmeg, a crunch on the top and just enough chocolate to keep it sweet without being overpowering. The zucchini makes it nice and moist but only as much as you want a bread to be, and not one iota more. Terrific.
At last! A hit.
CHOCOLATE CHIP ZUCCHINI BREAD RECIPE (original)
My version of Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread (adapted from Costa Kitchen)
2/3 + 1/2 cup whole wheat white flour
1/3 cup toasted wheat germ (plus some in the bottom of the 1/2 cup of flour)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup finely shredded zucchini (not peeled)
1/8 cup canola oil
1/8 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1-2 tablespoons Demerara sugar, for sprinkling on top
Grease or spray a 9” x 5” loaf pan and heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grate the zucchini.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat germ, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg. Make a well in the center of the bowl.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg. Add the sugar, zucchini, oil, and yogurt. Stir until thoroughly combined.
Pour the zucchini mixture into the flour bowl and stir until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour/spoon batter into a loaf pan and sprinkle demerara sugar across the top.
Bake for 40-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for ten minutes, then remove and let sit on a wire rack.
Eat! It’s a great excuse to have chocolate for breakfast.