At this time of year, you are either trying to give away your zucchini bounty or trying to avoid colleagues, friends, and family trying to pawn off their bounty on you!! Zucchini seems to be one of the plants that thrives in our northern gardens and even with judicial planting there always seems to be too much zucchini around. Well make sure you save some (or accept some) for this delicious chocolate zucchini loaf.
This recipe comes from the Seven Spoons blog via David Lebowitz’s Facebook Page. Over the years, I have tried a lot of Chocolate Zucchini Loaves, but this one is best by far. It is rich, moist and not too sweet. The secret is using olive oil as the fat. The grassiness of the olive oil enhances the zucchini (but not so much that you can’t lie to your kids about their food containing veggies), but it also tames the sweetness. You only need ½ cup (for two loaves), so use your good stuff as it really adds a level of elegance to the finished loaf. If you are not into olive oil, you could use canola or vegetable oil, but your loaf will seem somewhat sweeter.
You want the zucchini to give your loaf a moist texture, not a soggy one. To avoid a soupy loaf mixture, I sprinkle my grated zucchini on half of a clean kitchen towel and then fold it over and press down lightly. This will absorb a lot of the zucchini’s liquid and make it perfect for adding moisture and not wetness to your loaf. You should really do this anytime you are baking with zucchini.
A note on the chocolate in this loaf. You could substitute the chopped chocolate with an equal amount of chocolate chips, however you will be missing something special. When you use chopped dark chocolate, the pieces will be uneven. The large chunks will add a crisp bite to the loaf and the smaller pieces will melt into the loaf giving you morsels of smooth, rich chocolate. So pick up some nice dark chocolate bars and smash those up for this recipe. You will end up a sophisticated loaf that is just as comfortable being served with your morning coffee as it is being served with some sliced berries and whipped crème fraiche as a dinner party dessert!
Chocolate Olive Oil Zucchini Loaf
makes 2 loaves
180 g (1½ cups) whole wheat flour
187 g (1½ cups) all-purpose flour
43 g (½ cup) cocoa powder
5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder
5 ml (1 tsp) baking soda
7.5 ml (1½ tsp) salt
110 g (1 cup) chopped walnuts, toasted
224 g (8 oz) 60 – 75% cocoa chocolate, chopped
108 g (½ cup) olive oil
245 g (1 cup) buttermilk
310 g (1½ cups) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla extract
600 g (4 cups) shredded zucchini
Preheat an oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease two 23cmx13cmx8cm (9”x5”x3”) loaf pans. Use a length of parchment to line the bottom and short sides of the pan leaving a few centimeters overhanging on each side. This will allow you to easily lift the loaf out of the pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the chopped walnuts and chocolate. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil and buttermilk. Add the eggs, sugar and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the zucchini.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stir until just combined, taking care not over mix. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and bake, rotating once, until a cake tester inserted into the loaf comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, about 50 minutes. Cool loaves in their pans on a rack for 20 minutes, then grasp the edges of the parchment and lift the loaves out. Cool completely before slicing. Store at room temperature in an air tight container for up to five days. For longer storage wrap tightly in cling-wrap and freeze.