Little Shack on the Hill

Life happens while renovating!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf- (Breaking the Rules!)

If you've been reading my blog for a while, or have gone back into older posts, you will know that I am a cook. Not a fancy schmancy chef. A cook. I love to cook for huge numbers!  My favourite jobs have been cooking for 75-100 kids at a camp I attended as a kid myself, and cooking in a tree planting camp for 60-80 ravenous and dirty treeplanters.  Both of these jobs required very large batches of EVERYTHING!
Huge pots, pans and bowls. I tend to like to make things in bigger batches at home too. So, when my daughter, Morgan offered me 2 of her lovely zucchinis from her garden at the end of the summer, I scooped them with plans for muffins or loafs.
Just a few of Morgan's zucchinis.


After peeling and grating them I ended up with 6 cups of zucchini.  I like to peel the larger ones as sometimes the skins can be a bit tough.
 I then went online to find a recipe. I found exactly what I was looking for on Once Upon a Chef with Jenn Segal.  A lovely and yummy blog to check out!  Jenn had found her recipe on King Arthur Flour's website, made some changes and posted it as a recipe for 1 loaf. It sounded wonderful and I printed off a copy. The only issue for me was it only made one loaf.  Not enough!  I had enough for 3 loaves.  So, as this is something I did every day in my camp jobs,  I just tripled the recipe. No big deal. BUT...I am also a rule breaker when it comes to recipes.  If the recipe says mix the wet, then mix the dry, I don't.  I do mix all the wet things together first, like the fat, eggs, vanilla....but after that it's time to break some rules.  I usually add the baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, everything but the flour and mix it up. Then I'll throw in the flour and stir it all up. I also NEVER sift.  Another tip for baking in larger batches...use your hands. Forget the spoon or the whisk. Your hands are so much better for mixing things together...and it's way more fun if you are doing it with the kids!
Let's get to the recipe.
I have tripled it here for you to use as a bigger batch (if you consider 3 a bigger batch, which I don't really. Try 12!)  I also added walnuts, as I think chocolate and walnuts are great together. If you only have 2 cups of grated zucchini, just divide the recipe by 3. I also substituted salted butter in place of Jenn's unsalted and then decreased the amount of added salt in the recipe.

CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI LOAVES

1 1/2 cups of margarine or butter
2 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 cup cocoa powder
5 cups of all purpose flour
6 cups of grated zucchini
3 cups of chocolate chips
2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get your 3 pans ready. (8 1/2" x 4 1/2")
Place the butter or margarine in a microwave- safe bowl, large enough to accommodate the liquified margarine/butter. Pop it into the microwave for about 3 minutes.  Mine took exactly 3 minutes and the margarine came right out of the fridge.


While that is melting, measure your brown sugar into another large mixing bowl.



When the margarine/butter is melted, pour it over the sugar and stir it up until it is smooth. 


 Add the eggs and vanilla now ( it's important to add the eggs after the margarine/butter is mixed in just because the hot fat will start to cook the raw eggs.) Mix it all thoroughly. 


Now we get to break some rules. Add the cocoa to the wet bowl and stir it up well.  Don't get too excited though, or you'll end up with cocoa flying outta the bowl and covering you!  Once that is nicely combine, add the salt, baking powder, baking soda and instant coffee. Once again, stir it up. At this point, I am still using the whisk, not my hand.  Now it's time to add the flour. I added all 5 cups at once then used my hand to gently mix it all together. It will get very thick now, and look more like dough than batter.


 Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and mix again with your hand.  Finally, add the 6 cups of zucchini. This will smooth out the batter somewhat, but it will still be thick.


 Make sure it is well combined and then spoon it into your waiting loaf pans. Spread it evenly and then into the oven they go for at least an hour. 


You might want to move them around the oven for more even baking 1/2 way through. I have a convection oven and it took 75 minutes.
You will know they are done when you do the toothpick test...Don't know what that is? Insert a clean toothpick into the centre of your loaf, at least as far into it so as to reach the centre. Pull it back out and if it comes out clean, without any uncooked batter on it, it's done!  You may find melted chocolate on the toothpick so check to be sure it's not unbaked batter. Test it in a coupe of places to make sure it's done. When they are done let cool in the pans on a cookie rack for about 10 minutes. Then you can turn them out of the pans and let them cool off completely.


Don't want to eat them all at once? After they are completely cooled you can wrap them in foil, followed by plastic wrap, or put them into zip locking freezer bags and freeze them for later.
I loved the way the loaves turned out!  I froze 2 for another time and we enjoyed the 1 way to quickly!


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