Tag Archives: chocolate

When the garden gives your zucchini, make Chocolate Zucchini Bread!

12 Aug



One of the joys of having a vegetable garden is that you know exactly what went on in the growing of those veggies. The other joy is getting virtually free food, right from your own back (or side) yard, from space that would otherwise be grass or weeds. This year, I planted about 10 total squash plants.  A mix of crookneck, zucchini, and what I THOUGHT were yellow squash but turned out to be mislabeled croocknecks. Production was going pretty good once the bees started pollinating the flowers, but the plants are all now starting to die and will need ripped out and replaced with a second crop of squash – the butternut variety! But for right now, I still have a bin full of the zucchini and crooknecks, so I decided to whip up another batch of Chocolate Zucchini Bread. The first batch was delicious, and since it was such a hit, I decided to make another batch. Hopefully this round lasts a little longer.

This bread is moist and has a nice crumb without being soggy like some zucchini breads. The chocolate flavor from the cocoa powder is rich and deep without being overpowering. All in all, I’d say this bread is a winner in my book and will probably be made just one more time before I run out of zucchini.  The picture doesn’t do it justice. Seriously. You should make it just so you can see the loveliness that is this bread with your own eyes.


chocolate zucchini bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

makes 2 loaves

adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 4 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour – I use King Arthur brand
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup butter, melted

Place your shredded zucchini in a colander or sieve placed over a bowl and let drain for 30 minutes.

While your zucchini is draining, preheat your over to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans with butter and a little flour to prevent sticking

In a small bowl, add your flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and kosher salt. Whisk together until well blended, with no lumps.
In a large bowl, add your eggs and sugar, whisking until smooth. Add your vanilla extract, whisking until incorporated. Last, add your butter, and whisk until smooth.

Add your shredded and drained zucchini to your wet mixture, stirring to combine. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, stirring to combine completely after each addition.

Spoon the mixture into your 2 loaf pans, evenly divided between the two. Smooth out the tops with the back of your spoon so it’s level.

Place pans in oven for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing. Try not to devour it.

I don’t know how long this bread will last, other than a week since that is all the longer it took for the hubs to devour both loaves. Since it makes 2, you can store one in the freezer for later consumption. Just wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn and store. To thaw, remove from freezer and place in fridge overnight.

The DIY Life: Chocolate Cherry Coconut Granola

6 Aug

Wow. That is a mouthful – Chocolate Cherry Coconut Granola. A mouthful that you want to eat again. And again. And AGAIN! I love granola. Especially in my yogurt. It’s filling, it’s healthy, it reminds me of being a kid. What I don’t like? The high price to purchase it at the grocery store. Blech. I also don’t like having big chunks of the stuff to eat. It makes me feel like a hog shoveling a huge hunk of yogurt covered granola into my face in public. Plus, let’s face it. Your flavor options are limited when it comes to what’s out there. So I decided to concoct my own recipe. This yields a lot of granola, so feel free to cut the recipe in half if you don’t think you will eat it all. My recommendation is to make the whole batch and share it. I gave some to a couple of friends so they could try out the fabulousness that is this recipe. I think this will quickly become one of my favorites when whipping up a batch of granola.

If you are fan of the chunks of granola clustered together, double the amount of oil in the recipe. Don’t have coconut oil on hand? Substitute olive oil, sunflower oil, whatever your heart desires. I chose coconut because it’s good for you and I have a tub on hand. Please just don’t use canola or vegetable oil. Are you a total chocoholic? I find the chocolate flavor of this to be just right for me with the combo of the cocoa powder and dark chocolate almonds, but if you want it REALLY chocolate laden then add another tablespoon of cocoa powder. I wanted the other ingredients to be able to be tasted so I only used 1 tablespoon. It’s totally adaptable!

And since you’ve gone to the trouble of making your own granola, why not make your own Vanilla Bean Yogurt to eat up with it? Mhmmm.

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Granola

4 cups quick cooking oats

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil

1-2 cups unsweetened organic coconut flakes (depending on how much you like coconut)

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 5oz bag cherry craisins

2 1/2 cups Blue Diamond dark chocolate almonds, pulsed a couple times in the food processor

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. In a large bowl, add your oats, brown sugar, coconut, coconut oil, salt and cocoa powder. Stir to combine and no lumps remain. Pour your mixture onto your prepped baking sheet and place in your preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour, stirring oat mixture about every 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes. Add mixture to a large bowl, then add almonds and cherry craisins. Stir to combine.

Once mixture has completely cooled, store in mason jars or other air tight containers and enjoy! Stored this way it should last you awhile. Exactly how long I have no idea because it doesn’t last long enough to go stale. This is fantastic on my Vanilla Bean Yogurt. I had a friend who enjoyed it on some vanilla bean ice cream as well. Or, you can just eat it straight out of the container. Whatever your heart desires! 

Campin’ in the Kitchen – Campfire Biscuit S’mores

2 Jul

Have I ever mentioned my love of s’mores? No? Well, I love me some s’mores, in all their melty chocolate, gooey marshmallow messy goodness. They go hand in hand with campfires and camping…and even the upcoming 4th of July holiday! But why should we only enjoy them in certain situations? And why should we have to enjoy them only outdoors??? We shouldn’t. So now when I have a hankerin’ for a s’more, I think this will be my indoor twist. I found it in my Food & Wine magazine. I’m not going to lie. This is the first recipe I’ve seen in the magazine that made me want to make it. Don’t get me wrong – the photos are beautiful, they have great articles on where to go when you’re in a certain place, but for me, their recipes are not up my alley. But s’mores? Those are something I can get behind. There was actually a whole great article called “Campfire Cuisine” that featured a host of camping friendly recipes to help make the experience a little more gourmet. Without breaking the bank on ingredients or causing you to have to purchase hard to find items. If you get a chance, check it out.

This recipe is my adaptation, and will provide dessert for 2. I was on the fence about the jam (the original recipe called for raspberry) but it takes your standard s’more to the next level. Try to use homemade jam if at all possible. I cheated and used store bought marshmallows, but will be whipping up a batch of homemade  to try out so everything in the recipe is from scratch good.

Next time I have a cookout, I may make a bunch of these up as dessert. Everyone can grill or roast their own marshmallows and I’ll provide the biscuits.

Campfire Biscuit S’mores

adapted from Food & Wine June 2012

¾ cup Quick Biscuit Mix (recipe below)

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ cup water

½ cup chocolate chips

1 tablespoon butter

4 tablespoons strawberry jam (homemade is best)

4 marshmallows

Marshmallow fork

In a small bowl, combine the biscuit mix, sugar, water and chocolate chips. The batter should be thicker than a pancake batter.

Preheat a skillet and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, spread it around the pan and reduce flame to medium-low. Scoop the batter into the pan in 4 mounds, spreading it out in a circle to form little pancake like biscuits, 3-4 inches in diameter. Cook for 2 minutes and flip. Top 2 of the biscuits with strawberry jam.

Meanwhile, add 2 marshmallows to your marshmallow fork and warm them over an open flame (I used my stove burner), letting them bubble and crisp up on the outside. Place the 2 marshmallows on top of one of the jam topped biscuits and repeat the process for the other. (alternately, you can put them on top of the biscuits and under the broiler to toast more evenly for gooey deliciousness!)

Once you’ve added your toasted marshmallows, place the jamless biscuits on top of the marshmallows, creating a sandwich. Plate up and serve, eating immediately!

Quick Biscuit Mix

Adapted from Food & Wine June 2012

1 cup self rising flour (I mixed up my own batch)

3 tablespoons whole milk powder

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

Place all ingredients in a small bowl. Using your hands, work the oil into the flour until combined (it will resemble bisquick). Use for the s’more recipe above, or store for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.