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Chocolatey Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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Back when I made the super-fantastic Double Chocolate Banana Bread, I also made a loaf of chocolate zucchini bread, hoping it would turn out as good as the banana bread.  It was a huge, miserable disappointment.  Dry, and hardly any chocolate flavor.  I didn’t mention this on that post, but out of the blue, reader Caren K. mentioned she had a chocolate zucchini bread recipe that was to die for.  Of course I had to ask her for it, and she thankfully obliged.

This bread totally met my expectations!  As you can see in the pictures, I barely had half a loaf to photograph the next day because we couldn’t help but dig in, and dig in some more, while it was cooling the night before.  It is so incredibly moist, to the point of being fudgy, and I love the hint of cinnamon – it really adds some warmth and mystery to the bread.  You don’t taste the instant coffee, and I suspect it is there to enhance the chocolate flavor.  If so, I think it does its job well, as this bread is perfectly chocolatey!

Chocolatey Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2 cups grated zucchini, measured after draining
1 ¼ cups (5 ¼ oz) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (3/4 oz) unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup (5.25 oz) sugar
1 large egg
6 tablespoons melted butter
¼ heaping teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Mini semisweet chocolate chips for top, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray the bottom of an 8×4 loaf pan with oil; set aside. (I have an excellent nonstick pan, so you might want to spray the sides too, or use Miracle Pan Release if your baked goods tend to stick to yours.)

Grate zucchini and place in a colander in the sink to drain while you continue with the recipe. After it has drained, squeeze it to get out the extra liquid before measuring. Don’t pack the cups too much or your bread might be a little soggy the second day.

Whisk together the flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined. In a separate larger bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg until smooth. Add the melted butter, instant coffee granules, and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined. Add the shredded zucchini into the sugar mixture, then add the flour mixture in small sections, stirring to combine after each addition.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely on a rack.  If desired, sprinkle some mini chocolate chips over the top while it cools. The heat from the loaf will make them soften and melt a little and stick well to it.

Recipe source: Caren K.

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Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins (healthy!)

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Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

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I’m so excited to share this recipe with you! I’m very proud of this creation because, like with the Banana Peanut Butter Bites (shared on my weight-loss blog), it’s all my own–I didn’t even do an internet search for recipe inspiration before throwing it together. This is very unlike me because baking is an exact science and if you don’t get the liquid to dry ratio right, you can end up with a dense, dry, or mushy result. I think I’ve finally been baking long enough that making my own recipes is becoming intuitive. This makes me happy.

I made this recipe with two goals in mind. I wanted it to be as healthy as possible while still being as tasty as possible. I’ve found with baking, the healthier you make a recipe, the more unpalatable the taste. Muffins, however, seem to be a lot easier to healthify without getting too healthy-tasting.

These muffins are low-fat, cholesterol-free, naturally sweetened, and are still moist and delicious.  The only concession I made for taste/texture over health was using more all-purpose flour than whole wheat because it yields a nicer, less dense & dry, crumb. The ripe mashed banana keeps the muffins moist without a lot of added fat and I chose to use agave nectar to sweeten them, since it’s natural and the flavor is so mild that it wouldn’t compete with the chocolate & banana flavor like honey or maple syrup might.  I also left out the egg since I had success with it before, and actually liked the texture better than when I had tried it with the egg, giving an added bonus of making the recipe cholesterol-free.

You could certainly turn this recipe fat-free and use more whole wheat flour, and I have done both (I have made three batches of these so far, each with a different amount of fat and liked the one here best). It results in a more rustic, dense muffin but we had no problem eating them up in less than a week. They are great in the morning with a steaming cup of coffee and I find that one muffin, especially with coffee or milk, keeps me satisfied for hours.

Let me know if you try these and what changes you made. I’d love your feedback!

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture
Dutch process cocoa gives these muffins their deep dark color & chocolate flavor. You can find it online and in specialty stores, or you can get Hershey’s Dark cocoa powder at most supermarkets.

Dry ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:
1 cup mashed overripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon banana extract

And just for fun:
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips + 2 tablespoons for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. Sift dry ingredients together into a medium bowl and stir to mix. Whisk wet ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir dry into wet just until moistened, then fold in 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips. Divide batter between prepared muffin cups and sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon chocolate chips in the very center of each muffin (chips will spread out as the muffins bake and rise). Bake about 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of one. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container (I use a large Ziploc bag). These freeze very well–I like to take one out of the freezer before my shower in the morning and by the time I’m done getting ready for work & am ready to eat, it has thawed. If you are in a hurry, about 15-30 seconds in the microwave will thaw and warm your muffin for you.

Makes 12 muffins.

Nutritional Information (per muffin): 171 calories; 5 g fat; 33 carb; 3 g fiber; 3 g protein

Recipe by Veronica Miller

These are from the fat-free batch with 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup white. They were more dry and dense, but still yummy.

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