It’s that time of year again. The garden I planted in the spring, that seemed so roomy and easy in which to get around, is now a jungle. And in that jungle are my two zucchini plants. Two, because you can’t plant just one. If you did and it didn’t make it, then you’d have no bright green zucchini to grace the table at the end of summer. So here I am with two healthy, and prolific, zucchini plants.
Zucchini is a member of the curcubit family. In other words – it’s related to cucumbers, melons, and pumpkins. Nutritionally it’s a good source of vitamin C, as well as a source of manganese, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s also fat-free and low in calories. But what I like about it is that it’s so versatile. It has a very mild flavor, so it’s easy to add to salads, side dishes, and breads where it tends to absorb and complement stronger flavors in the recipe. You can eat it raw, sautéed, or baked. Sometimes I slice it thick and grill it, seasoning with a little olive oil, garlic, and pepper for a savory side dish.
But when production starts to outpace my family’s consumption of this fruit, I typically turn to shredding it and freezing it. While I’m at it, a loaf or two of zucchini bread makes it on to our menu for the week. This year I wanted to try something different with my usual recipe, adding a bit of dark chocolate and other goodies. When I looked around our pantry for interesting items to add I found dried cherries (which I love) and quickly decided they would add a sweet but tangy burst of flavor to the bread. Plus, cherries are full of antioxidants and fiber. To make it a little healthier I used white whole wheat flour for part of the flour, added almonds, and kept the amount of oil at a reasonable amount. The recipe makes two loaves.
I still have plenty of zucchini in my garden, which we’ll use in a variety of ways. Since this zucchini bread recipe has quickly become a favorite I’m sure I’ll be making a couple more loaves for my family and to share. Do you have a favorite recipe that calls for zucchini? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
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Zucchini bread takes on a new twist with dark chocolate chunks and dried cherries, making it a delicious breakfast bread or dessert bread.
30 minPrep Time
50 minCook Time
1 hr, 20 Total Time
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1/3 c. canola oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1.5 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
- 3 c. shredded zucchini
- 1 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. slivered almonds, finely chopped
- 1/3 c. dark chocolate chunks
- 3/4 c. chopped dried cherries
- 2 tbsp. sliced almonds
- 1 tsp. turbinado sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 2 - 9 in. bread pans by spraying the inside of the pan with non-stick pan spray and sprinkling with a small amount of flour.
- Crack the two eggs in a large bowl. Add in the granulated sugar, brown sugar, canola oil, and vanilla. Beat well.
- Melt the baking chocolate. I usually use my microwave, checking it every 20 to 30 seconds and stirring as needed. You could also melt it using a double boiler. Add the melted chocolate to the egg batter and stir it in.
- Measure out the 3 c. of shredded zucchini and mix it in to the chocolate egg batter.
- In a separate bowl put together the white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and the 2 tbsp. finely chopped almonds.
- Pour mixed dry ingredients into the chocolate egg batter and blend till moistened.
- Chop the dark chocolate and dried cherries. I like to use a dark chocolate bar (the darker the better) and chop it into chunks of varying sizes. With the cherries it worked best to chop them just slightly. If cut too small they tended to disappear in the bread. Fold in the dark chocolate chunks and dried cherries.
- Pour the batter in the two prepared bread pans, evenly dividing between the two. Sprinkle the tops with slivered almonds and turbinado sugar.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean with no batter sticking to it.
- Cool on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes and remove from pan.