Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Care packages from my mom were one of my favorite things when I was in college, and it was so exciting to get a slip in my post office box that said I had a package waiting to be picked up.  I'd carry the box back to my dorm room and my roommates would gather around to see what sorts of goodies were inside.

My mom always sent the best care packages with homemade cookies and my favorite snacks, pretty underwear, socks, books, coffee and tea, and other things I can't remember.  Being away from home at that age was really hard for me, especially when the school I attended was the last place I wanted to be, and I so looked forward to those packages from home.

I remember once during my freshman year, a roommate was complaining to her mom about the unhealthy snacks she'd sent her, on which she was blaming the extra pounds on her hips, and asking if she could send her "something healthy like banana bread" instead.  How funny that I still remember that conversation from 17 years ago, and wondering why she thought banana bread was a healthy snack when it's made from flour, sugar and oil, and is not much different from cake.

This was the same roommate, though, who used much more than her share of the room's storage space with the 14 fluffy towels she'd brought with her, since she felt that she needed to use two fresh towels - one for her hair and one for her body - every day of the week after showering.  Needless to say, we did not become the best of friends, given my two-towel-a-week laundry budget and my impatience with her lamenting over her size 4 hips.

Zucchini bread is something I've never posted on this blog before, so when a coworker brought in some extra zucchini from her garden to share, I knew right away that I wanted to make chocolate zucchini bread.  Now, just like banana bread is not a health food, neither is this zucchini bread necessarily healthy just because it has zucchini in it.  So don't be misled into thinking this is actually a good replacement for eating your vegetables, because it is still a chocolate bread.

After bringing in a loaf of the bread, it was gone by lunchtime, and the day after that, more zucchini appeared on my desk - bigger zucchini than I'd ever seen - with a note that said "subtle hint".

And so, I took the not-so-subtle-hint, and baked two more loaves of the chocolate zucchini bread, as well as a big batch of zucchini muffins full of fall spices.  As my boss said, "I'm going to eat the chocolate anyway, so I might as well have some zucchini with it!"  Maybe it's not such a bad way to get your veggies after all...

One Year Ago:   My Weekend of Cake Baking
Two Years AgoA Sandwich Contest, a Dream, and a Disappointment

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

·         ½ cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
·         ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
·         1 ½ cups granulated sugar
·         3 eggs
·         2 teaspoons vanilla
·         2 1/2 packed cups grated zucchini (from about 4-5 small zucchinis)
·         4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
·         1 cup buttermilk
·         2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
·         ¾ cup unsweetened special dark cocoa powder
·         2 teaspoons baking soda
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         1 teaspoon cinnamon
·         ½ cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line 2 loaf pans with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over the sides by a few inches.  Spray with non-stick spray.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar for 3 minutes until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.  With the mixer on low, add the zucchini, melted chocolate and buttermilk, and mix until combined, scraping down the sides.

In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Add by spoonfuls to the wet ingredients, mixing on low just until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Divide batter between the two pans.  Bake for 55-65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then lift the bread out by the parchment paper overhang and cool on wire racks, covered loosely with a clean kitchen towel.  Serve warm or completely cooled.  Store leftovers wrapped tightly or in an airtight container.

Yields 2 loaves.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen