Identity Crisis, er, Crises

July 9, 2008

This chocolate-zucchini bread—something I’ve been wanting to try (both baking and, I’m kind of nervous to admit in a place like this, tasting) for quite some time—has a bit of an identity crisis. It’s not sure if it’s a loaf cake or a quick bread, for one. And then there’s the matter of whether it qualifies as breakfast, despite its strong measure of chocolate. But can you really call it dessert, when it’s shot through with tendrils of zucchini? Also, it’s homey and humble looking, but it’s flavor is complex. And, perhaps best of all, it looks and tastes like a decadent indulgence, but the recipe calls for not even one pat of butter.

And you know, this identity crisis just gives me one more reason to love this bread. Because I kind of feel its pain. I’m in a weird gap right now: done with school, but studying (for the bar exam) harder than ever; graduated from law school but months from my start date at the law firm; wishing summer would last forever, but feeling quite sure that July 2008 will be one of the worst months of my life. So, me and this bread are kindred spirits, I suppose.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

All of my limbo will resolve itself soon enough (the exam is three weeks from yesterday and today, in fact; three weeks, readers; and don’t ask if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, because I really don’t know). But, long after the bar exam, this bread will remain an enigma, and I’m glad for it. And, around here at least, zucchinis are only just now showing up in farmers’ markets and in CSA boxes—promising to stick around as summer settles in. So I’ll be able to munch on this bread even after the bar exam, when, I’m guessing, it, and everything else, will taste decidedly more delicious.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Eating Well

Printable Recipe

1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch-process
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 cups sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 ounce bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 heaping cup grated zucchini (1 small to medium)
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray.

Whisk white whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

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.

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.

20 Responses to “Identity Crisis, er, Crises”

  1. Emily Says:

    I’m so happy to see this recipe! I made a really poor excuse for zucchini bread last week (it fit the category of an in-limbo bread, but it wasn’t satisfying as either breakfast or dessert). And chocolate, yes please!

  2. Kymber Says:

    I accidentally grew some very large zucchini, so I’m going home tonight and making this recipe.

    I can’t wait, it looks yummy! Thanks!🙂

  3. Ali Says:

    I don’t see an identity crisis at all. I had it for breakfast and it was delicious and could easily have it for lunch and dinner too!!

  4. Pam Says:

    Nice job! I love zucchini bread and chocolate so I am sure this bread is tasty.

  5. Lauren Says:

    I’m also a law student with a love of baking. I’ve been following your blog for a few months and have been in awe of how you balance all of your fabulous cooking and posting with the bar exam studying. Keep it up and we’ll be cheering you on!


  6. Emily: Oooh, bolstering your quick bread repertoire are you? Not just banana, but zucchini too! Lucky Jon.

    Kymber: I can think of a million uses for a bumper crop of zucchini (another one coming soon, in fact) but this bread is among the best.

    Ali: Glad you liked it!

    Pam: I think I’m going to be a zucchini bread lover from here on out, too.

    Lauren: Thank you! You know, this blog and the cooking keeps me balanced I think, even if it’s another thing on my plate (ha!).

  7. eggsonsunday Says:

    Kristin – zucchini bread is one of my favorite quick breads; my mom used to make it all summer with our bumper crops of zucchini. I love the addition of cocoa (and the use of whole wheat flour) – can’t wait to try this!

  8. Y Says:

    Bread.. cake.. as long as it tastes great, I’m sure no one minds what it’s called !😀

  9. Maya Says:

    This would be good any time of the day – a bit more posh than the regular zucchini bread .

  10. gkbloodsugar Says:

    A classic twist; one of the great alternative favourites.
    It looks amazing!

  11. Molly Says:

    My friends and I were just talking yesterday about what to do with an upcoming harvest of homegrown zucchini– this is it! Great timing, thank you!


  12. Amy: I suppose I have to try regular zucchini bread now? Seems like everyone else grew up eating it!

    Y: Good point!

    Maya: Precisely. I’ve been sticking to breakfast with it, but I think it’d also be wonderful throughout the day.

    gkbloodsugar: Thanks!

    Molly: Apparently everyone else has ready access to a harvest of homegrown zucchini. Not fair! But at least you’ll think of me while you make the bread, I hope. Miss you!

  13. Kymber Says:

    I would just like to report that I made this and both my sister and mother loved it. And considering it’s a “healthier” version the love from my sister is a huge compliment.

    Can’t wait for that other zucchini recipe.😀

  14. steven Says:

    my mom always called it zucchini cake, and she would frost it with chocolate icing.. it was quiet good in the 80’s.. i’m sure it still would be.

  15. Jessica Says:

    Hi! Recipe looks great – do you think I could substitute normal flour (all purpose baking) for the two types of flour listed here? I’m new to making breads so I’m unsure. Thanks!

  16. djtokyo Says:

    This is a great recipe, and having the zucchini in there certainly leavens the usual chocolate-induced guilt. Your writing style and photos are very inviting, too. Good luck on the bar exam!


  17. Kymber: That’s great! Thanks for such a quick report. More zucchini recipes, coming right up …

    steven: Um, chocolate frosting? Man, that sounds good. I think that would elevate it decidedly into the cake category.

    Jessica: You could definitely substitute all-purpose flour. If you are interesting in trying new flours,though, but don’t to go all out, you could do 1/2 AP flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour. Good luck!

    djtokyo: Yes, the zucchini makes it seem so virtuous. I have the same take on carrot cake. Thanks for commenting!

  18. Nancy Says:

    With a recipe like this I don’t think I’ll have to ask my kids to “eat there zucchini” ever again! Can’t wait to try it — I’m definitely going to give the half whole wheat, half white flour a try.


  19. Nancy: Let us know how it goes!

  20. trudy Says:

    Can’t get my DH to eat zucchini. But zucchini bread is fine. Used the Craig Clairboure recipe from my NY Times Cookbook but can’t wait to make it with chocolate. Thanks


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