Yes, even in New Hampshire soil in the summer, the ubiquitous zucchini (sometimes called zucchini squash) abounds! A friend and neighbor brought me a few from her garden. I thanked her and set them aside, thinking about the reputation of this homely vegetable. In upstate New York where I am originally from, it used to be that people would see their neighbors coming to their door with an armful of zucchini and run and hide. Every summer, there were stands loaded with free zucchini at the end of every driveway…and there are even some bad jokes about this ugly-duckling vegetable. Nevertheless, times have changed and this easily-grown and ho-hum vegetable has been turning heads in some surprisingly delicious ways for a long time. One of my favorites is zucchini bread and I recently happened upon a recipe online that includes chocolate. Ahh, chocolate…the elixir of the gods, even in zucchini bread. This recipe is adapted from www.joyofbaking.com, and I’ve given it some additional touches that make it more nutritious and delicious.
Zucchini Chocolate Nut Bread
350 degree oven with rack in the middle; grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan and set aside
1 1/2 cup shredded raw zucchini (medium grater)
1 cup King Arthur flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Green & Black’s Cocoa Powder that is made from organic Fairtrade cocoa beans that can be purchased at Hannaford Supermarket www.hannaford.com in Hampstead, New Hampshire or at A Market in Manchester, New Hampshire www.amarketnaturalfoods.com
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup oil (I used La Tourangelle (California Gourmet Oils) Roasted Walnut Oil that is a flavorful, distinctive, and nutritious alternative. You can probably find this oil (I also have almond oil made by them) at specialty food stores, but I found mine at Homegoods, 4 Orchard View Drive in Londonderry, NH www.homegoods.com. These oils are a great find!
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs (Tulip Tree Farm on Main Street, Hampstead)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips)
1 cup walnuts (I buy organic in bulk at Hannaford’s in Hampstead and A Market in Manchester)
In a large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice (set aside)
Beat oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla in an electric mixer until well-blended; fold in grated zucchini; add flour mixture, beating until just combined; fold in chocolate chps and nuts; put in greased loaf pan and bake approximately one hour, until a toothpick comes out clean; set on wire rack to cool (I lay on side).
I’ve only made this once and shared it with the friend who gave me the zucchini from her garden. It was so delicious that she has given me even more zucchini. Stay tuned for some more dessert recipes with the zucchini who has turned into a beautiful swan of a vegetable.