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
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.