Bored with zucchini already? Make this easy chocolate bread first

Seeing zucchini in your dreams? Turn the squash into a chocolate quick bread. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)
Recipe: Spices and mini chips dress up a quick breakfast or dessert treat

By Kathy Morrison

At the community garden where I grow veggies, one of the plots is dominated by a huge zucchini plant, smack in the middle. On Saturday, the owner twisted off four big squash, each the thickness of a baseball bat and about half as long.

If the squash is small, shred it all after trimming the ends.
Seeds should be removed first from bigger squash.
"I'm tired of zucchini already," he sighed, as he tossed the squash onto the table in the common area. The zukes were snapped up by other gardeners who apparently still liked cooking zucchini -- or planned to feed it to their chickens.

It's only July, but if you're already wondering what else to do with your plentiful zukes, I'd like to suggest my favorite recipe, a chocolate zucchini bread that's as comfortable with coffee at breakfast as it is with a bit of whipped cream for dessert.

One key is the spices: Cinnamon, of course, but also ground cloves, which gives the bread a little extra depth. It's also very adaptable: You can leave out the chocolate chips and cocoa, or add some nuts or other mix-ins. I've baked it into muffins on a number of occasions. I also adapted it for a vegan friend, substituting a "flaxseed egg" (1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with 2 1/2 tablespoons water and allowed to rest for 5 minutes) for the egg, agave nectar for the honey, and almond milk for regular milk.

One important instruction will keep the bread from being mushy: Pat dry the zucchini with paper towels after shredding it. Zucchini contains a lot of water, and this will help cut the liquid content.

Note: If you're using a zucchini the size of my fellow gardener's giant zukes, quarter the squash lengthwise and cut out the seeds from the middle before shredding the rest of it. The same goes for any other overgrown summer squash you want to use here, such as crookneck or patty pan.

Chocolate zucchini bread
Makes 1 loaf, about 10 slices


Dry ingredients go into a large bowl.
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (from two to three medium squash)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
1 egg
2 tablespoons honey OR agave nectar
2 tablespoons canola or other neutral vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (regular or dark)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Powdered sugar (optional)

Stir the zucchini shreds into the flour mixture along with
 the milk mixture and chips.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

Pat shredded zucchini dry with paper towels. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, milk, egg, honey or agave, oil and vanilla.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt and cocoa.

Add the zucchini, the milk mixture and the mini chips to the flour. Stir just until moistened (lumps are OK) -- batter will be thick. Scrape batter into loaf pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 33-40 minutes. (You might get some melted chocolate chips on the pick -- that's OK.) Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a rack. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top, if desired.

Test for doneness with a toothpick. This went back
in the oven for a few more minutes.

Regular zucchini bread: Omit the cocoa and chips, but otherwise follow the instructions above.

Mix-ins: For either chocolate or regular zucchini bread, stir in 1/2 cup shredded coconut or 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries or 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts when you add the zucchini. Bake as instructed above.

Muffins: Grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Divide batter between cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes.

Adapted from a recipe in "Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tricks" by David Joachim


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