The Sweet Side of Squash: Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The complete recipe for this bread is now up here.

Savory to Sweet, Dark, and Delicious

Anyone with a garden fully appreciates the squash crop that just keeps on coming. Summer’s most prolific vegetable, zucchini’s abundance continues well into autumn and brings with it many opportunities for creative cookery. Beyond basic grilled squash and its use in a sandwiches or Italian fare, I also recently made zucchini, sweet onion, and corn quesadillas and sautéed squash is a common side dish.

Really, I should post a few more savory squash recipes and then finish the week with a special “and now, zucchini for dessert!” post. Ah, well, it’s not going to happen that way, because it just so happens I made this delightful treat last night—after craving it for the past few weeks—and need to get a picture up here before the remainders go into my freezer.

Or my stomach.

On Baking Chocolate Zucchini Bread (And Why I Only Do it Once a Year) 

Baking chocolate zucchini bread is an indulgence that occurs each year around this time. Why only once a year, you ask? Well, if you are a regular reader you know that I don’t frequently bake, as much as I enjoy both the process and product. (I have a very serious sweet tooth – just check out this chocolate cake with mocha buttercream!) There are just two in my household, I will remind you, so unless it’s a very special occasion or I have the opportunity to share – as I did last night at the quarterly board meeting for my theater company – it’s best not to keep baked goods around the house. I have limited will power, you see, and one of the healthiest things you can do for your diet is to keep your house free of temptation. (More on that topic here, and here.) Else, you find yourself munching on zucchini bread for a snack rather than your usual fruit, veggies, or nuts.

Kind of like I’m doing right now.

Anyway, you should try this sweet bread if you love to bake. (Or find someone who loves to bake, let them make it, and have a piece.) Here’s the how-to, courtesy of Joy of Baking. The adjustments I made include using white whole wheat flour rather than refined white, which is much healthier for you as it’s 100% whole grain. (Bet you can’t tell a difference…) I also added 3/4 cups chopped walnuts, mainly for flavor and texture, but, hey, then you get some heart-healthy fats, too. I also used dark chocolate chunks, which are more yum than semi-sweet (in my opinion), along with a really good cocoa; together, both provide a hefty dose of decadence. In most things cooking and baking, the higher quality ingredients you use, the better the results.Yes, they can be more expensive, but given I bake so infrequently I never cut corners because the final result just isn’t as good.

Oh, and by the way, of course there are many fine recipes out there for regular (non-chocolate) zucchini bread, which is also a lovely tea bread or dessert and another way to serve up the sweeter side of squash. But the addition of rich cocoa and dark chocolate takes the traditional favorite to a whole other plane of zucchini existence. (Yes, I really talk this way.)  While still a quick bread—not a brownie—it fills the need for chocolate in a healthier fashion.

Relatively speaking, that is.

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Dr. P.K. Newby is a nutrition scientist, speaker, and author with expertise in all things food, farm to fork, whether preventing obesity and other chronic diseases through diet or teaching planet-conscious eating. As a health expert and food personality, she brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability to educate and inspire, helping people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Healthy Hedonism (TM) is her philosophy: Because healthy food shouldn’t suck.

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