Monday, August 29, 2011

Simple and Delicious Family Cooking: Chocolate-Zucchini Bread, Muffins, Cake, or Cupcakes

My friend Heidi has asked me to put up this recipe multiple times, and I'm finally remembering to do so. After all, it's zucchini season, right? What better way to use zucchini than in something chocolate?

This recipe is moist, rich, chocolately, and delicious. You will not taste, or care about, the zucchini. Children will call this chocolate cake. It was originally formulated for a loaf pan, and I make it like that all the time. But it also works well in a muffin tin.

What makes this recipe so great is its versatility. It's such a moist "bread" that you can easily cut it like pound cake, top it with sprinkled mini chocolate chips, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream, and serve it like cake. Similarly, if you want something more dessert-like than muffins, you can sprinkle mini chocolate chips on the top of each muffin before baking, or dust them with powdered sugar once baked and cool, and serve them as cupcakes.

Of course you can also just conceive of and serve this recipe as "bread" or "muffins," for a yummy snack or extra-special breakfast. Yum!

Chocolate-Zucchini Bread (Muffins, Cake, or Cupcakes)
makes 1 standard loaf or 12 muffins/cupcakes


2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini

1 cup all-purpose white flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
3/4 cup mini (or regular) semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees for a loaf pan or 375 degrees for a muffin tin. Grease a standard-sized loaf pan or a 12-cup muffin tin, or line the tin with cupcake papers.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, oil, two types of sugar, vanilla, and grated zucchini. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Combine until fully incorporated, but do not overmix. Add chocolate chips if using. (Or save them to sprinkle on later.)

Pour batter into loaf pan or fill muffin cups. If desired, sprinkle chocolate chips on the top of the raw muffin batter in each cup.

Bake the loaf pan approximately 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. For muffins/cupcakes, bake about 14 to 18 minutes, checking often, until toothpick comes out clean or mostly so. (Do NOT overbake!)

Cool in loaf pan for at least 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing bread from pan to cool completely. For muffins/cupcakes, let sit in the pan for 10 minutes to cool before removing if you did not use cupcake papers. If you lined the tin with papers, you can remove them immediately. Either way, let them cool completely on wire rack after removal.

Once cool, you can dress up your "cake" or "cupcakes" as suggested above, if desired.

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