Friday, August 19, 2011

Double Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

So here is the last of the recipes for the loaves I made for my friend Marina a while back. (See that blog here) This one it dense and chocolaty, almost like a cake instead of a quick bread. If you are looking for a way to sneak some vegetables into your kid’s diet then this might work. I admit, not the
healthiest way to get vegetables into a child but...hey... it works.
Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
¾ cup flour
¼ cup wheat germ
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
½ cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups shredded, raw zucchini
¾ cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9 X 5 loaf pan with cooking spray. (I actually used a 9 X 5 and a mini loaf pan as I do not like to fill a loaf pan more than about ½ full of batter)
Grate the zucchini using a medium sized grater. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together: flour, wheat germ, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a medium bowl, beat oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. About 2 minutes. Fold in grated zucchini. Add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Do not overmix! Fold in chocolate chips.
Scrape batter into prepared pan (or pans – if you use a teeny one like me so as not to overfill the batter and have the loaf not cook properly. It would probably work in one large pan, I am just paranoid.)
Bake at 350 until bread has risen and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, about 50 – 70 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes then remove bread from the pan and cool completely.

If you have trouble with baking loaves then here are a few tips that might help you out:
• When making quick breads, mix the ingredients only until combined and the flour is just incorporated. Over mixing your batter will cause a tough batter and an equally tough finished product. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE!!! There will be some lumps – DO NOT OVERMIX!!
  • Once baking powder (or cream of tartar) is moistened in a batter it begins to react and create bubbles. When you bake with either, you must get whatever you're making into a preheated oven as quickly as possible before the bubbles begin to disappear.
 • To lower the fat you can substitute some of the oil with an equalamount of almost any fruit puree (applesauce, plum baby food, pumpkin puree, mashed bananas). Do not completely replace the oil though.
 • If you find the outside is done but the inside is still raw - Try lowering the oven temperature and/or putting a loose tent of foil over the top of the bread so it won't burn before the middle has time to catch up. Another cause of "raw center" syndrome could be using a different pan than the recipe calls for. One of the nice things about quick breads is that you can use the same batter to make muffins, mini loaves, jumbo loaves, or rounds. But each size requires different baking times--and some require different baking temperatures. The larger and thicker the loaf, the longer it's going to take to bake. If you're using a different size pan than your recipe calls for, adjust the baking time accordingly and check the bread often.
 • Don’t let the loaf completely cool in the pan. It will stick. Let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge to loosen it, and then invert it out of the pan. Turn it back upright and let it cool completely on a wire rack. If you have problems with the bottom sticking even though you have sprayed it with cooking spray – try placing a sheet of parchment paper in your pan before scraping the batter in. Leave an an inch or two hanging over the edge so you can remove the loaf after it is done. It will pop right out and all you have to do is gently peel off the paper. You have to be careful though – removing the loaf before it is set will cause it crumble and break apart if you remove it too soon. Just be very gentle. If you see signs of it breaking then leave it in the pan another 5 – 10 minutes and then try again.
* Don’t try to slice a warm/hot loaf. It is best to leave it overnight and slice it the next day. If you can’t wait that long then chill it in the fridge until it is completely cool and then let it come back up to room temperature before slicing. A serrated or very sharp knife works best to cut it. (I have tried with a dull knife and it just smooshes it and the slices break apart.)
Quick bread loaves have been the one thing I constantly have issues with. With the new stove my issues are fewer and further between but, nonetheless, are still there. I hope these tips help you if you also have trouble achieving baking perfection with your quick breads.
I think my biggest issue is impatience. I want it to be baked faster, I want to remove it from the pan sooner, I want to cut it NOW. I am learning that when baking loaves, patience is a virtue. 

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