18 September 2015

I don't intend to stop

The night we returned from our honeymoon, I pulled a mini loaf of zucchini bread I'd stashed in the freezer before we'd left for the wedding festivities. To be honest, I was already thinking about it on the plane ride back when I realized we would not be having Adriatic seafood the next day or for that matter until we planned another trip. The next best option seemed to be to brainstorm uses for the rest of summer's bounty and strategically deal with the available seafood here. But back to the zucchini bread. My freezer is so small I do not have the ability to forget what's in there. And a loaf of this, which defrosts beautifully overnight on the counter, was there, ready to be sliced, toasted and schmeared the next morning.
I've made this bread several times over the summer... (why did I wait to share it ?!) and it's a keeper. I first saw it on Food52 made with orange and rosemary, flavors I would never pass up. And while that was a wonderful rendition, it's the vanilla, cinnamon and chocolate combination that I always seem to have more at my fingertips. I really like it this way so that's what I'll share here. As far as technique, you'll want to mix till just combined, like a muffin. This isn't a fussy, mixer-based, buttery desert cake but rather on the rustic side and hits the marks of being tender-crumbed, not too sweet, able to withstand a bit of whole grain flour, and willing to be studded with some chocolate for image and taste enhancement. To make matters even more attractive, this leoparded zucchini loaf's olive oil base is cut with a bit of plain yogurt. I keep seeing zucchini at the market even now, and somehow we have not stopped roasting it, shredding it into meatballs, and baking it up into this bread. And as far as this Indian Summer is going, I don't intend to stop until I no longer see the zucchini. 

Zucchini bread with whole wheat and chocolate
Makes 2 hefty mini loaves or 1 regular loaf
Inspired by Food52 

Notes: Measure your zucchini on the scant side so it doesn't overly saturate the bread. That said, depending on the moisture of your zucchini, you may have to bake your loaf or mini loaves longer ...mine have gone from 45-60 mins even for tall mini loaves. Do not fret, just test with a skewer and a finger pressing into the top and use your judgement. Don't be afraid to let it go till the top is a nice golden. It should spring back to the touch of a finger, and a skewer come out clean ; ) The loaves keep a day or two wrapped in plastic at room temp or frozen for a bit longer. Defrost on the counter and rewarm individual slices if desired. 

1 1/4  cups (157 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (30 grams) whole wheat four
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate

1/4 cup (50 grams) olive oil
1/4 cup (58 grams) plain whole milk yogurt (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla
Zest of half a small lemon or orange
1 1/2 large (75 grams) eggs (room temp)
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp (165 grams) natural cane sugar
1 cup shredded zucchini

Butter and dust barely with flour, two 5x3 inch loaf pans or 1 larger loaf pan and tap out excess. Turn the oven to 350 degrees F.

Shred and squeeze the zucchini in a paper towel briefly to remove a little moisture. 

In a medium bowl, whisk to combine flours, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and soda, and half the chocolate. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs then add the sugar and whisk again. Add the yogurt, oil, vanilla and zest and whisk to blend smoothly. Stir in the zucchini.

Add the flour mix gently to the wet mixture, in two additions, folding to combine. Mix until no streaks of flour remain but do not try to smooth batter. Add in a little more chocolate and pour evenly into the pans. Sprinkle top with remaining chocolate and a pinch of sugar if desired.

Bake on the middle rack for 40-60 minutes. Test with a wood skewer. It should come out clean, be golden on top and bounce back to the finger. Cool on a rack then unfold and cool completely. 

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