Zucchinis. A gardener’s bane and a foodie’s dream? Or a gardener’s dream and a foodie’s nightmare?
I like to look at it both ways. I love that a simple plant I barely need to even look at produces food every day. There is always at least one zucchini ready for me every day. On the other hand, that means I need to eat zucchini every day. Which I don’t totally mind….I like zucchini. Raw, dipped in gloriously creamy homemade ranch dressing. Shaved into noodles and tossed in a vinaigrette over greens. Sautéed with butter and salt and pepper. Grated, mixed with beets and turned into little pancakes, dipped in tangy sauce.
You name the recipe, and I’ve probably tried it with zucchini. The one thing I hadn’t tried in a a few years was making my own zucchini bread. Seeing as Hélène had already provided us with a sumptuous spice bread, I needed to make something a little different. It also gave me the opportunity to use my new iPhone app from Michael Ruhlman, Ratio. Basically, the app tells you the basics of a lot of different recipes. how much fat, flour, sugar, eggs, etc. need to be in a pound cake, for instance, to make it a pound cake or the same for pancakes, bread, cakes, muffins, etc. It also tells you the basics of how to mix and what temperature to bake at.
I needed something to help me in the baking department. Although I am skilled in all things kitchen and cooking and can fumble my way through a lot of different baking recipes and even make some of my own, sometimes it’s better to start with a surefire thing and work on it. The ratio app gives you the skills you need to make all your own baking recipes and ensure they have a good chance of coming out the way you hoped they would.
Most of the time I just start a recipe and try it several times until I get it right, tweaking the dry ingredients or adding an egg, more butter, less sugar, etc. Now I can make a skilled guess at the beginning and work from there. If you are in the habit of creating your own recipes from scratch, I highly recommend it. And no, Michael Ruhlman did not pay me to say that.
This chocolate zucchini bread is dense, chocolatey, and full of healthy vegetables. It has a hint of spice and holds up well sliced. I like it for breakfast in the morning with a warm cup of coffee, but my kids will eat it any time of day.
One year ago: Scallops, Polenta and Tomato-Citrus Vinaigrette
Two years ago: Mushroom Risotto
Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Yield: One Loaf
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 75 minutes
1/2 cup brown butter**, cooled
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups zucchini, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 x 4 loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar with the cooled brown butter. Beat in eggs until mixture is smooth. Add vanilla and buttermilk.
3. In a separate small bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Dump the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the zucchini.
4. Bake for 65-75 minutes or until a clean dry toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
5. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out of pan and cool to room temperature . Slice and serve.
**How to make brown butter: In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium high. Allow to come to a boil, but do not stir. Swirl the butter around every minute or so. When the butter begins to foam up and there is a nutty smell and a brown tinge to the butter, remove from heat and cool in refrigerator.
Similarly delicious recipes from other food blogs:
Zucchini and Mozzarella Tart from Stacey Snacks
Courgette and Basil Pesto Gratin from Kitchen Lab
“Fake” Zucchini Souflé from Agoisfoto
Zucchini Whoopie Pies from Not Without Salt
Zucchini and Ricotta Pancakes from Scandi Foodie