This time of year everyone has extra zucchini threatening to bust out of the produce bin! Although most of our zucchini gets marinated in Italian dressing and grilled, we just can't eat it all. I've already put up 10 cans of zucchini pickles (I most post this some time - they're way better then the cucumber variety), and I have a bag of zucchini fritters in the freezer, so it's time to break out the loaf pan and bake up some zucchini bread.
My usual zucchini bread is a savory version, since L is not a fan of sweet stuff. If I can advert any major disasters and manage to photograph it decently I'll be bringing that one to you later. Once in a while, I like to mix it up a little and see the sweeter side. I often find sweet zucchini bread to be too dry or too dense and I often get bored with the obligatory spices that seem to be overused in all baking: cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Although I like to use these as showcase flavors on their own, I feel like they get lost in a generic "baked good" taste. So instead of going the traditional route, why not use an ingredient that is at its best in in rich dense cakes, and pack it full of chocolate! Sounds better already doesn't it?! Then throw in some coffee to pump up the flavor and one unexpected spice to play a star role. Moist and intensely chocolatey - now that's a sweet zucchini bread I can get into!'
Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Coffee and Cardamom
Cardamon is an acquired taste for some, so if it's not your thing I recommend substituting a tablespoon of spicy Saigon cinnamon instead. A dash of cayenne with the cinnamon will make it a delectable Mexican chocolate cake.
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsp instant espresso granules
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional) **Edit** This amount is appropriate if you freshly grind the cardamom - if not use 1 full tsp
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup really good quality cocoa powder (I like Scharffen-Berger)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup shredded zucchini (summer squash also works well)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
1/2 cup chopped macademia nuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a loaf pan.
Beat the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the oil, sugars, vanilla, espresso, cardamom and salt and mix well. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Toss in zucchini, chocolate and nuts and stir to combine.
Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert to remove. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.