I recently got sucked into a bake-off challenge via Facebook that involves quick breads and bribery. It started innocently enough: a status update from my cousin Lisa about how “everyone has their price”, and her’s is banana bread. Being someone who recognizes the occasional need to bribe people, I asked what a loaf of bread might be worth. A place to stay on the weekend when I’m in Chicago? What about a kidney? Could I get a kidney if the need arose? These are important details when in the midst of bargaining.
Soon after Jo, the friend who paid the original banana bread bribe, informed me that I was not allowed to bribe Lisa – clearly she felt her power diminishing. Within no time the comment thread involved a bake off, with me shipping bread to Chicago where my cousin will choose the final winner.
Sadly the challenge took a back seat for a few weeks while I prepared for a certification exam, but as soon as I put down my no. 2 pencil I started thinking about the best way to beat Jo’s famous banana bread. While I have a great banana bread recipe thanks to Ruth, I want to play to my strengths – one of which is creativity. I had made chocolate zucchini bread as a child, and, while it was tasty, it was dry and a bit flat, but I could fix that with a little creativity.
I started by pulling the zucchini bread recipe from the Joy of Baking that looked remarkably similar to the recipe I used in middle school. I then made changes to the ingredients with the aim of making the final product more moist and brightening the flavor. What came out is a rich chocolate-cinnamon bread with more fiber and less fat than the original thanks to substituting apple sauce for the oil. Satisfied with these results, I baked another loaf over the weekend and I’ll be putting it in the post during my lunch break today. I’ll let you know when I win (*wink*).
By the way, these adorable, printable recipe cards can be found at Messy Vegetarian Cook. It is a fun modern set of 4 recipe cards that come as a PDF form that you can type your recipe on. Print on good card stock and voila!
Chocolate Zucchini Bread
2 cups shredded raw zucchini (about 1 large zucchini)
4 squares unsweetened bakers chocolate
1.25 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (105 grams) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a single 9x5x3 loaf pan.
2) Begin with your prep items: Shred your zucchini. Chop the chocolate squares and melt them in the microwave using 30 second intervals. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
3) Stir together both sugars, apple sauce, eggs, and vanilla. Add zucchini and melted chocolate and mix well.
4) Stir in flour mixture in 2 batches, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5) Pour batter into the prepared loaf and sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 1 hour.
6) Let cool 10 minutes in pan (or until you can handle the pan) then turn out on to a cooling rack. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.