Sunday, August 10, 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Bread


This past week was my son’s 9th birthday and usually this means we (I) are busier than usual.  But I thought I would squeeze in one tiny post (well, not so tiny as it turns out).

About a week or so ago, I made zucchini bread.  I had never tasted zucchini bread in my life.  Zucchini has never been a big performer in my garden (yet!), so the avalanche of summer squash that others experience has yet to materialize at our house.  Far from having too many zucchini and having to devise new ways of using them up, I have the opposite problem….dozens of recipes to try and too few zucchini to make them.

After reading one of Rachel’s posts at Grow a Good Life on zucchini bread, I thought I would give it a go.  I had been having a bit of a brownie craving for the last little while, so of course, I chose to make the chocolate zucchini bread.

The recipe recommended by Rachel can be found HERE.  The other day, Nancy at Cozy Thyme Cottage asked for the recipe I had used and I provided her with the link.  Shortly after, Nancy confirmed that the bread did indeed taste good, but she found it to be crumbly.  This was odd as I had found the bread to be exceptionally easy to slice – it held together perfectly.  Nothing gets to me quite like recommending something to someone and then it not working out for them as expected.

Sometimes when you prepare a recipe, you do little things, just through habit, without even realizing it.  I thought I would detail the changes I made here because I find that even the smallest detail can make a big difference, especially when it comes to baking.

I followed the recipe as printed but also added these extra steps:

(1)   I squeezed the drained zucchini with my hands to remove some of the excess liquid.

(2)   I dissolved the coffee in ½ tsp. of hot water before adding it to the egg mixture.

(3)   I allowed the melted butter to cool before adding it to the egg mixture.

I used dark bread pans – not black, but a dark grey – and greased them with butter.  The colour of the pan can impact how quickly something bakes.  If you used a light coloured bread pan (i.e. aluminum), it would take longer to bake.  And then, of course, everyone’s oven is different.  So the first time I make a recipe, I start to test for doneness before the stated time has expired.  And the best test for cakes is the skewer test, as stated in the recipe.  When you insert a wooden skewer, it should come out relatively clean.  A few crumbs are fine, and even desirable, to help ensure a moist cake.  What you don’t want to see is any sign of raw batter on the skewer.

And lastly, it’s very important to follow the cooling rules:  Let the bread sit in the pan for a full 5 minutes – this allows the bread to cool just a bit so that it doesn’t fall apart when you turn it out.  Then turn the bread out onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before slicing.  This is the key to the perfect texture.  Slicing it too early may cause it to fall apart and create a “doughy” texture.

When I made this bread, I was a little doubtful when it came out of the oven.  It looked like it hadn’t risen that much.  You can see what I mean here:
 
Chocolate Zucchini Bread Cooling
 
I needn’t have worried – the edges are deceiving.  Once it was sliced, the zucchini bread looked perfectly acceptable.

Slice of Zucchini Bread
The dusting of powdered sugar is me trying to be artistic ;)
 
Well, let me tell you – this is not zucchini bread.  It’s zucchini cake.  It’s not too sweet, which I like, has great chocolate flavour, and is super moist.  I took an up-close photo of one slice, just to show how moist it is:
 
Chocolaty Goodness
 
One loaf went to my parents who raved about it.  My husband and kids dug into the other loaf.  As for me, my brownie craving was more than satisfied…..3 pieces later.

Before I sign off, I wanted to show you the birthday cake that I made on Friday for J's family party.  He had asked for a Minion cake.

Minion Cake
 
I love baking cakes and other such desserts but rarely do as dessert is more of an occasional treat, rather than an everyday occurrence at our house.  So when my kids birthdays come around, I really enjoy letting loose & creating something special.  And there is still his "friends" party coming up next weekend.  I'm thinking Pokémon cupcakes....

Till next time…

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

12 comments:

  1. I haven't made chocolate zucchini bread in a while. And yeah it is more like cake than bread at least the one I tried. I have made plain zucchini muffins, but they aren't sinful like the chocolate bread. Mine are whole grain and very low sugar. My MIL who likes zucchini bread won't eat them. They are too healthy and not sweet enough. But I like to have a snack that I can eat without guilt. And your cake is so cute.

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    1. Thanks Daphne. I'm with you on the muffins. I often find store bought muffins to be sickeningly sweet. My kids (and I) love muffins as a snack so the recipes I use usually lean towards lower sugar & fat and I usually sub at least a part of the white flour with whole wheat. The next time I make zucchini bread, I will probably make the plain kind - being less rich, it sounds like it may be a good snack.

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  2. That minion cake is fabulous!! Such cute little minions ...

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  3. Yum! The first batch of chocolate zucchini bread I made this year was a bit on the dry side. I think it depends on how moist your zucchini is too. Even with squeezing the extra moisture out, some loaves feel heavier than others. I am glad you liked it :)

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    1. That's true Rachel - Things like variable moisture content in a key ingredient can definitely throw off a recipe. And I'm not the greatest at doing things by "feel" (my scale is my best friend in the kitchen!).

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  4. Good job on the cake, it's very cute. Looks professional.

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  5. Good job on the Minion cake! I don't remember dissolving the coffee in the water for the choc. zuke bread. We think we like the regular zucchini bread best but it does have quite a bit of sugar! Nancy

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    1. That's the thing - you would think that bread made from zucchini would be healthy, but the sugar and butter really does take it more towards the treat side of the scale.

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  6. Our first zuke just went into a chocolate chip, walnut-infused bread. Madame ONQ knocked it out of the park. The recent Siletz adventure was fueled by this glorious creation. Fingers crossed that you have many more fruitful zukes! Cheers!

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    1. Your bread sounds absolutely delicious! And I do have my fingers crossed ;) Only one zucchini this week and I've just seen the 1st sign of powdery mildew so the odds are not in my favour.

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