I’m not a big sweets and confections eater, but I have such a fondness for chocolate, dark chocolate in particular, that I would venture to say it is one of my ultimate food-related weaknesses. Wave a dark chocolate bar at me and chances are you’d get me to do you a small favor. If it’s a big favor, then something with at least 60% cacao of a brand that is hard to pronounce would be wonderful. I’m joking, of course. In all seriousness though, I think there is a chance I would be able to have people do me favors with this particular recipe.
It’s becoming quite difficult to be a conscious eater and a baker at the same time! The gorgeousness and the lovely chocolatey smell of this bread screams, “EAT ME! EAT ME NOW!” And the tiny gooey bits of chocolate in the middle of the bread are a wonderful surprise as you bite your way to your next slice.
There are three things I absolutely love about this quick bread:
1. The presence of three forms of chocolate (cocoa powder, melted dark chocolate, dark chocolate chunks)
2. Hearty whole wheat goodness
3. That vegetable called zucchini
Okay, the whole wheat part is totally optional, but since we’re on sort of a “healthy alternatives” roll, add to that I used homemade unsweetened applesauce for this recipe. It seems like I went all out with this one, doesn’t it? Right after I finished photographing the bread for the blog, all my brothers came pouring through the door from school. We sat at the snack table and I passed around slices of bread to them, anticipation building over whether they would tell me they like it or not. I guess the fact that I’ll have moments like these to share with my family is really one of the reasons why I love baking for them.
I really like zucchinis. I like eating it; I like saying it; but you won’t really see it when you slice into this gorgeous loaf except for the occasional light green speck. One of my little brothers feels uncomfortable having vegetables in his pastries but I didn’t tell him about it until he swallowed his first slice, and with gusto I might add. After that he didn’t much care whether there were zucchinis or not.
The decision to go for whole wheat was easy. But if you can’t find the time to buy it, all-purpose flour is okay. There are two kinds of whole wheat flour typically used: Whole wheat pastry flour is basically the same as all-purpose flour and can be used interchangeably with it. The only difference is that the whole wheat kind provides healthier, vitamin-filled carbs while the all-purpose kind, being already processed, is more “empty” in nutrients. Personally I find that pastries made with whole wheat pastry flour have a more decadent texture to them, albeit it’s a bit more expensive if you use whole wheat all the time.
Whole wheat pastry flour is used for pastries that require baking soda and powder as leavening agents. Bob’s Red Mill flours has one labeled simply whole wheat flour, used for pastries that require yeast, although they also have white whole wheat flour used for everyday, all-purpose functions that involve either baking powder and yeast (I would recommend getting this all-purpose whole wheat flour). Whole wheat flour used for yeast breads is usually a lot coarser in nature. I have read somewhere it can be ground on a food processor to make it finer in case you need whole wheat pastry flour in a pinch. Typically, bakers combine whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour to balance the texture of their bread.
Triple Chocolate Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread
adapted from The Kitchen Sink Recipes | Makes one 8 x 3 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or 2 cups all-purpose flour)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch-processed
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg + 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
14 grams (or 1/2 ounce) bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 heaping cup grated zucchini (1 small to medium)
28 grams (or 1 ounce) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray (or use parchment paper).
2. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
3. Whisk eggs, sugar, applesauce, sour cream, oil, vanilla and melted chocolate in another large bowl until blended. Add to the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in zucchini and chopped chocolate. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the tops.
4. Bake the loaves 55 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto rack and cool completely.
The pleasantly gooey chocolate specks is absolutely my favourite part about this loaf. Although because my tongue is highly-sensitive to sweets, I feel like I should cut down the sugar to half a cup the next time I make this. Everybody else says it tastes just right though (even my trainer at the gym). We’ll just see how the less sugar version turns out because I’ve received requests to make this scrumptious loaf again.
I actually ended up making two loaves without meaning to because I grated a cup more of zucchini, but I sure am glad I did. The first loaf disappeared within an hour! We kept the second loaf in the fridge and brought it as a snack to our trip to the beach. They still taste great days after being kept in the fridge, and after being subjected to an hour long plane-ride in my mother’s giant yellow beach bag. Mmmm. I’m still reveling from the memory of eating this!