Monday, July 28, 2014

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread (and a Healthier version too!)


I've been looking for new ways to use up my abundance of zucchini this summer, and this chocolate bread is one that was on the top of my idea list. I call this "bread" because it's baked in a loaf pan, but who are we kidding? It's cake. It's lusciously dark and dreamy chocolate cake with chocolate chips in it. It actually tastes remarkable similar to the Double Chocolate Muffins from Costco (which, let's face it, those are basically cake too). Isn't it funny how we find so many names for cake just so that we can justify eating it for breakfast . . . or anytime? :) Well, this one is healthier than most so you shouldn't feel too guilty about eating it whenever you have that chocolate craving (which is what I had last night and what drove me to make this).
   This is a zucchini bread recipe with dark cocoa powder and chocolate chips mixed in so that it is decadently dark and chocolatey. But, with a full cup of zucchini per loaf (this recipe makes 2) and the addition of whole ground flaxseed meal you can feel better (if not good) about indulging in this moist treat.
   This is the recipe that I tried first, but when I get another cool night I'm going to try adding more zucchini, reducing the oil and adding applesauce to make it even healthier. I'll let you know how that version turns out. :) ***The recipe for the healthier version is at the end of this post!***

First, put the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl. (You can also add the flaxseed meal now, but I didn't think it add it until later.)

Whisk everything together and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and eggs.

Beat together on medium high speed for a couple minutes until bubbly and light in color.

Add the vanilla and oil

and beat again until combined.

Now we are going to add the dry ingredients. (This is where I decided to add my flaxseed meal.)

Add the dry ingredients a little at a time, stirring as you go, until everything is almost combined.

It will look like thick brownie batter, with some dry ingredients still needing to be mixed in like this:

Now you can fold in the zucchini (sorry the picture is blurry, I got excited that I was almost done and the prospect of eating this cake, so I was rushing things a bit). If you grate the zucchini on the smallest grate, it cooks into the cake/bread better.

Also fold in the chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly into 2 greased, regular sized loaf pans

Bake @ 350F for 50-60 minutes, until the center of the cake is nearly done (when a toothpick is inserted into the center, just a few crumbs stick to the toothpick). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Once it is completely cooled, just slice and eat. I baked my two loaves before I went to bed (eating the first luscious piece of course, to make sure it tasted good) and then I left the rest out until morning.

By the time I got up in the morning, my amazing husband and children had all but devoured one loaf. These two pieces were all that remained. I was just glad I had something to photograph to show you an "after" shot.

I still had one full loaf left, but I wanted to give that one away as a "thank you" to my dear friend Dayna and her family for watching our puppy while we went away on our recent mini vacation.

Now there is nothing wrong with leaving it as it, and eating plain as my family did. It tastes amazing and really needs nothing in the flavor department to improve it. But I thought a dusting a powdered sugar would make the loaf more esthetically pleasing. (aka. make it look pretty)

I was right. :) I like the contrast of the white powdered sugar against the dark zucchini bread. It looked so tempting, it was really difficult for me not to cut into this loaf too! I kept reminding myself that I could eat the other two pieces from the first loaf as soon as I was done taking beauty shots for all of you.

I can't say enough good things about this zucchini bread. If I didn't tell you it was zucchini bread, and I just handed you a slice I guarantee you wouldn't know that it was good for you at all. It's a complete fake-out for those of you who have picky eaters in your life. Thankfully my kids know and love all veggies. They actually saw me harvesting the zucchini out of the garden and were excited by all the prospects of eating it. When I told them I was making double chocolate zucchini bread they were beside themselves with excitement. I mean, they are MY children. (Which explains the vanishing first loaf of bread). :)
Here's the recipe: (As I mentioned earlier, I'm wanting to make this recipe again but making it healthier by reducing the oil, adding more zucchini and some apple sauce. Once I make that version I'll let you know how it goes!) ***Recipe for the Healthier Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread is at the end of this post!***

adapted from Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup ground organic golden flaxseed meal
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups packed grated zucchini, skin on, grated on the smallest grater
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and flaxseed meal in a mixing bowl. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs and sugar until light in color and fluffy. Add in oil and vanilla, and beat again till well combined.  Slowly mix the flour mixture into the egg mixture until almost combined.  Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips. Divide batter into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake in a preheated 350 degree over for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (just a couple crumbs).  Let cool for at least 30 minutes before removing to rack to cool completely. (You can also cool completely in the pan as I did.) Sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional).

Healthier Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
(I'm still tweaking the recipe to make it as healthy as possible, but this is what I have so far. In the future I would like to try using whole wheat pastry flour and a healthier sweetener to amp up the health quotient of this delicious chocolate cake!)
 
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup ground organic golden flaxseed meal
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut oil (warmed enough to liquify)
1/2 cup no sugar organic applesauce* (I used homemade)
2 cups packed grated zucchini, skin on, grated on the smallest grater
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

*You can substitute 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt for either the applesauce or the coconut oil to add some protein to the bread.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and flaxseed meal in a mixing bowl. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs and sugar until light in color and fluffy. Add in coconut oil, applesauce (*or yogurt) and vanilla, and beat again till well combined.  Slowly mix the flour mixture into the egg mixture until almost combined.  Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips. Divide batter into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake in a preheated 350 degree over for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (just a couple crumbs).  Let cool for at least 30 minutes before removing to rack to cool completely. (You can also cool completely in the pan as I did.) Sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional).

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