Yes, I’ve still got zucchini (someone needs to tell my garden it’s almost November…) and what better way to celebrate that than with a loaf of zucchini bread? Well, I can think of one – make it chocolate. Okay, dark chocolate. Oh yeah. I’m so there.
You know, I’ve mentioned a lot over the past few years about dark chocolate, usually in a jokey way, but there are a couple of really good things that have come from our love affair with the dark stuff- one, it has helped our whole family to appreciate things with less sugar, which I never thought would happen. But after a couple of years of regularly eating a small piece of dark chocolate after each meal, we don’t even like the overly sweet milk “chocolate” candy we used to (I have to put it in quotations, because really, I can hardly taste the chocolate in that type of candy anymore!).
And two, since we like things less sweet now, it’s spurred me on to add less sugar to all kinds of things including cookies (like Flourless Coconut Almond Bars), breads (Orange Rhubarb Muffins contain only 1/3 cup), and cakes (Mini Chocolate Truffle Cakes call for a few tablespoons) as well as condiments like Ketchup sweetened with honey and lowering the sugar in our Addictive Tomato Chutney recipe. And if I can substitute refined sugar with honey or maple syrup I’m even happier, as it is a more real food. I also like adding honey because it’s naturally sweeter than refined sugar and so I can usually cut the sweetener in half when substituting honey.
Of course, it doesn’t work with all things and calls for some recipe testing for sure, but it works wonderfully in things like this dark chocolate zucchini bread that we don’t want to be too sweet anyway (fyi: using honey in baked goods causes them to brown faster, though, so the cooking time needs to be adjusted as well). And when I’m adding other sweet things like the chocolate chips here or dried fruit, you hardly notice that the sugar has been lessened, which I love.
The other thing I love about this bread is how easy it is: prep the pans, shred the zucchini, put it and the wet ingredients in a bowl to mix, add the dry ingredients, mix and pour into the prepped pans. Fifteen minutes work and two loaves of chocolatey goodness are cooking in the oven. Who said baking had to be hard?
And if you don’t have zucchini? Cry. Kidding. I’ve put 4 loaves of this in the freezer which will be good for the next couple of months and I won’t make it again until we have garden zucchini next year. You of course can buy zucchini any time of the year, but we try to eat seasonally, viewing each season’s specific recipes as something to look forward to – kind of like our great-grandmothers did.
Oh, I also subbed 1-1/4 cup of the flour with oat flour, leaving just 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour, just because. I’m pretty sure it would work with all oat flour, making the loaves gluten-free, but I’m not 100% until I do another test (if you try it before I do, let us know!).
- 3 c. shredded zucchini
- 1 c. honey
- ⅔ c. melted coconut oil or butter (or oil like light olive or sunflower)
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 2¼ c. whole wheat pastry flour (can use spelt or 1¼ c. oat flour)
- ¾ c. cocoa powder + extra for dusting pans
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 c. dark chocolate or semi sweet chocolate chips, divided
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-inch loaf pans and lightly coat with cocoa powder (I recommend adding a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom and up the long sides, coating that with the cocoa, as the very middle bottoms tend to stick, even with the coating).
- To the bowl of a large mixer, add the zucchini and next four ingredients. Stir well.
- Add the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate chips, mixing until you have a smooth batter.
- Fold in ⅔ c. of the chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly and making sure that the chocolate pieces are evenly dispersed (they tend to fall to the bottom of the bowl). Sprinkle the remaining ⅓ c. chocolate chips evenly between the two loaves.
- Bake for 40-43 minutes until puffed and centers look done (you can do a toothpick test, but the chocolate pieces will be melty, so be aware that it won't come out completely clean).
- Cool 5-10 minutes in the pans, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
Sometimes carrots can be subbed for zucchini, but I’ve never heard of chocolate carrot bread…hmm, think it would be good?
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