Chocolate Hazelnut Zucchini Bread

I try to make at least one zucchini bread every zucchini season. What usually ends up happening is I buy what I think is a lot of zucchini expecting to use some of it for a zucchini bread, but then I get busy and by the end of the week I've eaten all the zucchini and have none left to bake with! This week I decided that it was time to ensure that I got to the zucchini for baking before it was all eaten up. I found a recipe for zucchini bread with walnut oil. I didn't have any walnut oil, but I did have some hazelnut oil leftover from a recipe that I need to use and so this was perfect choice. With some added chopped hazelnuts and dark chocolate chunks studding the batter, this was the a wonderful breakfast treat for the week, and something I would make over and over again. 

IMG_3072.jpg

The recipe is simple, and I made just a few changes to suit my needs. I cut the sugar in half because I prefer my morning treats be less sweet, and then I replaced half of the oil with yogurt to lighten it up, a bit but still maintain moisture and flavor. It baked up beautifully and full of flavor. The hazelnut oil scented the batter just enough, and the addition of chopped hazelnuts really helped this flavor shine. I ended up baking it for only about 40 minutes, as opposed to the 55 minutes originally called for, and was happy with that. Overall a perfect breakfast treat for zucchini season!

IMG_3053.jpg
IMG_3064.jpg
IMG_3071.jpg

Chocolate Hazelnut Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Dishing Up the Dirt
Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) hazelnut oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (84 grams) honey
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (160 grams) coarsely grated zucchini - about 1 medium-sized zucchini
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup coarsly chopped ha
  • Turbinado sugar, for topping (optional)

Directions
Place an oven rack in the middle position of your oven and pre-heat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, beat together the oil and honey. Stir in the eggs, vanilla and zucchini. Mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (being careful to not over-mix) and add the chocolate chips. and hazelnuts. 

Pour the batter into a lightly greased 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with the turbinado sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool the zucchini bread in the pan for about 15 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 10 slices
Approximate Nutrition: 223 calories/slice

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Zucchini Cookies

Two zucchini cookies in a row?? Why not! This round I decided on the chocolate peanut butter combo, and then amped up the chocolate making a double chocolate peanut butter cookie - with zucchini! Trust me, all the zucchini does is add little green flecks to the cookies, and keeps them nice and moist, no zucchini flavor at all! These cookies are dense and hearty and scrumptious! Perfect with my afternoon cup of coffee. Try it with yours!

 
 

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Zucchini Cookies
Adapted from How Sweet Eats
Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups (150 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) butter
  • 3 tablespoons 45 grams) peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly grated zucchini (anywhere from 125-150 grams seems to work)
  • Chocolate chips or chunks

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and peanut butter and place in the microwave at 20-30 second intervals until completely melted, whisking as needed to completely combined. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and whisk to combine. Stir in the grated zucchini. Stir in the dry ingredients until everything is combined and you have a dark chocolate dough (the dough will be very thick, and you might initially think that there is too much flour, but don't worry, it will come together). Fold in the chocolate chips.

Use a 1/2 to 1-inch scoop and scoop the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart from each other. Press down lightly to flatten. The cookies will not spread very much during baking. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the cookies are just set. Let them cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the baking sheet. 

Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Cookies

Round two on the zucchini baking front. A simple and delicious recipe for moderately nutritions cookies that don't seem overly healthy - my favorite kind! Full of veggies AND whole grains it's all around a good idea. A touch of brown sugar for sweetness, a little coconut oil for the requisite fat. These little guys are perfectly sized for a little bite, just a snack. One is usually good for me, but if you need a little extra, eat two! They're soft, but not to the point of falling apart which sometimes can happen. The flour and egg hold them together nicely. Give them a go with that excess zucchini I'm sure your swimming in if you're anything like me. You won't regret it!

Like I stated above, I made these little guys bite sized, but feel free to make them bigger if that's more how you roll. You may need to add a minute or two to the baking time if you do, just use your good judgement. If you're feeling a little more indulgent feel free to increase the amount of brown sugar. I don't like my snacks to be too sweet so I cut back, but everyone is different. As written, these cookies don't spread a whole lot during baking. I pressed them down just a little before putting them in the oven so they'd be a little flatter. But again, however you'd like to roll. 

 
 

Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Cookies
Adapted from Little Dairy on the Prairie
Ingredients

  • 1 heaping cup zucchini, grated; approximately 1 medium, or 1/2 a large (I used 190 grams)
  • 1/3 cup (60 grams) coconut oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (40 grams) old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup (80 grams) oat flour
  • 1 cup (120 grams) wheat flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chunks (I used 35 grams, but you could certainly use more)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together egg, oil and vanilla. Add brown sugar and mix again. Add zucchini and mix until everything is well combined. 

Add oats, oat flour, whole wheat flour flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg to a mixing bowl. Mix until mostly combined, then add the chocolate and mix until everything is combined and there are no more pockets of flour. 

Using a cookie scoop, drop 1½ inch pieces of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Transfer to the over and bake for 14-15 minutes.

Yields: 21 cookies

Zucchini Cardamom Bread

Every year when I see the mounds of zucchini at the farmers market I have good intentions about using it in plenty of baked goods over the weeks. I've found in the past however, I end up just roasting it all up and eating it before it makes its way into anything sweet. This year I told myself that I had to do some baking. And then when I was at the zucchini stall I picked up how much zucchini I thought I would want for the week, and then I bought twice as much! No going back, no choice but to bake!

One of the first things I set out to make was a nice zucchini bread. When I saw a recipe for cardamom zucchini bread (with chocolate!) it sounded like a delightful twist on a traditional bread so I went for it. The cardamom adds a lovely floral note to the bread. The 1 teaspoon called for in this recipe is definitely a hefty amount of cardamom, so if you're not a huge cardamom fan, or you're not sure if you like cardamom, you can always add half the amount to start and see how it goes. But I recommend giving it a try. The cardamom mixed with the dark chocolate chunks is a wonderful combination!

This recipe has a good 1.5-2 cups zucchini (doesn't have to be exact), and is sweetened with a touch of honey. I'm always looking to cut back on the amount of sugar in my diet, so I halved the amount of honey in this recipe and thought it turned out just fine. I didn't find it compromised the quality of the finished product, but if you're not sure if the 1/4 cup of honey will be enough, go ahead and use 1/2 cup honey.

I also swapped out 1/2 cup of the flour for 1/2 cup oat flour because I love oats in my bread, and love how healthy they are. If you don't have any oat flour you can use all wheat flour. Finally, I replaced some of the oil in the original recipe with Greek yogurt. I always have Greek yogurt on hand, and I love baking with it. You can use sour cream instead, or you can just use the full 1/2 cup of oil instead and skip the yogurt. I made all these little changes for myself based on what I like, but you can certainly make it your own based on what you like. It may change the final product slightly, but in the end I'm sure whatever you come up with will be perfectly edible! 

 
 

Zucchini Cardamom Bread
Adapted from Dishing up the Dirt
Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (85 grams) honey
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (about 1 medium-sized zucchini, or 1/2 of a large zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) oat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dark chocolate (I used 40 grams)
  • A few hefty pinches of turbinado sugar for topping

Directions
Place an oven rack in the middle position of your oven and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, yogurt, honey eggs and vanilla, Stir in the zucchini. Mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (being careful to not over-mix) adding in the chocolate partway through the mixing. 

Pour the batter into a lightly greased 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with the turbinado sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Cool the zucchini bread in the pan for about 15 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yields: 1 loaf

Mocha Zucchini Muffins

First things first, Happy Easter!

Christ the Lord is risen today.
All creation join to say. 
Raise you joys and triumphs high.
Sing ye heaven and earth reply. 

Love's redeeming work is done.
Fought the fight, the battle won.
Death in vain forbids him rise.
Christ has opened paradise.

What a glorious day! When I think about all I have in Christ I am continually blown away by what I have been given, not because of anything I have done, I can take credit in no way for my salvation, I believe because God first chose me. How humbling is this truth. 

I this beautiful day, full of celebration and new birth I was inspired to create something new and delicious out of something old. I've had a bag of shredded zucchini floating around in my freezer since last summer. I keep meaning to do something with it, but I always say "next time". Well, not this time! I found a new zucchini muffin recipe, adjusted it for what I wanted, and finished off last years produce, finally! This was the perfect way to do it too. A light and healthy whole grain muffin, lightly sweetened and filled with one of my favorite treats; chocolate covered espresso beans!!

When I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. I didn't have a go-to zucchini muffin but this one looked promising, and I was right. It's just rich enough to make it special, but not too rich to make it feel overly indulgent. The original recipe calls for a streusel on top which would be marvelous, but I skipped it this time out of laziness, but did chop up a handful of dark chocolate espresso beans for pizzaz. And chocolate. Come on. 

The final product came out as beautiful as I had hoped. Flecked with green from the zucchini, and chocolate from the espresso beans. I added some espresso powder for a little extra mocha flavor, and probably could have added more (I think I'll try 1/2 teaspoon next time!). They turned out light and satisfying. A perfect zucchini muffin. 

 
 


Mocha Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from The Almond Eater
Ingredients

  • 1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons (12-25 grams) brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) milk
  • 2 tablespoons (37 grams) maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/4 cup chocolate covered espresso beans, roughly chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners, set aside

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and espresso powder in a bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and then add olive oil, milk, syrup and vanilla. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients. Add the zucchini, and stir until combined. 

Transfer the batter to the prepared muffin tin. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven, wait a few minutes for the muffins to cool before removing them from the tin.

Yields: 6 muffins

Zucchini Slice with Bacon Sausage

We're going to continue on the zucchini theme for a little while yet. I for one am not yet ready to embrace all things pumpkin and spice. The trees are still green, the sun is still warm, and most importantly, it's still summer! I'm going to hang on to every last second as long as I can. Today I have for you another somewhat different way to use up some zucchini you might have hanging around; it's my take on the zucchini slice, something I'd never heard of before I stumbled across it over at The Clever Carrot. Apparently it's an Australian thing, but other than that I know nothing about it. If someone out there would like to enlighten me feel free! 

I thought the recipe looked intriguing, full of zucchini and eggs with a relatively little amount of flour, like a cross between a savory quick bread and a frittata. And that's really how it turned out! I'd say the texture was more like a frittata, but a little less egg-y due to the flour. It'd be a great thing to have on hand for a quick and filling breakfast, or a light lunch. Easy to whip together and open to endless variations. A fun late summer project, and a great way to use up some zucchini and eat well all at the same time!

The original recipe called for some bacon, but when I went to the butcher, my eye's were drawn to a new sausage that was in the case, bacon sausage!! I thought this would be a fun place to try it so I went with the sausage instead of the actual bacon. I also added some red pepper along with the onion and topped it with a wonderful dry sheep's milk cheese that I picked up at the farmer's market last week. Feta would be a wonderful substitute, or creamy goat cheese for that matter. I also used 100% whole wheat flour in mine, which is probably why my slice does not look as beautiful and light as the pictures at The Clever Carrot looked, but don't let that stop you from trying out this fun recipe. 

 
 

Zucchini Slice with Bacon Sausage
Adapted from The Clever Carrot
Ingredients

  • 3 cups grated zucchini, well drained
  • 1/4 medium red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 bacon sausage, or alternatively 3 slices of bacon
  • 5 eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons bacon fat
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Crumbled sheep or goat's milk cheese

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 F.Line an 8x8 square pan with parchment paper for easy removal. Coat with cooking spray (even when lined with parchment, the eggs can sometimes stick).

Using a box grater, shred the zucchini. Line a bowl with a clean kitchen towel and place the zucchini inside. Twist it up to close, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set the zucchini aside until ready to use.

In a large non-stick skillet, sauté the onion and red pepper until softened and just starting to take on some color, 10-15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a large bowl. Add the bacon fat. Season with black pepper and whisk well to combine. Toss in the sautéed onion and pepper, and the reserved zucchini. Crumble in the cooked bacon sausage (or bacon).  Mix well to combine everything. 

To the bowl, add the flour and baking powder. Continue to mix until it looks like pancake batter. Pour into your lined baking pan. Sprinkle the sheep or goat cheese over the top.

Bake until the filling is set, about 40-50 minutes. The top and bottom should be deep golden brown. Rotate the pan halfway through cooking time for even browning.

Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Gratin of Zucchini, Rice and Corn with Cheese

I was browsing through my Instagram feed earlier last week when I came across a photo for a zucchini rice casserole that for whatever reason just called to me. I went online to find the recipe and was happy to see that it was a very simple and a very healthy recipe. So when I went to the farmer's market on Saturday I picked up two large zucchini so I could whip this dish up over the weekend. I am a huge zucchini fan and usually end up just slicing it up into rounds or spears and grilling it. I liked that this dish gave me something else that I could do with zucchini if I am feeling ambitious. Not that it's a difficult dish by any means, but it's slightly more involved than slicing and grilling!

Of course, I couldn't leave the recipe alone so I decided to add my own twist and add in some freshly picked sweet corn that I also picked up at the farmer's market. I think zucchini + corn is one of the best late summer combos so I couldn't pass it up. I think it was a brilliant addition to the gratin! The tender zucchini mixed with the juicy and sweet corn is fantastic along with some salty parmesan and a couple little pats of butter. Fresh, healthy and delicious, this is a great late-summer winner!

On the blog where I got the recipe she used brown rice in this gratin as opposed to the white rice which is what the original recipe that she used called for. I went with the brown rice as well and parboiled it for 8 minutes as she said. I found that in the finished dish the rice was not quite tender so I would recommend upping the length of the parboil to 10-12 minutes, or alternatively, baking the casserole longer overall. I ended up baking it for 35 minutes and there was still quite a bit of liquid left over when I dug in. This extra liquid did not detract from the delicious flavors, but if you are looking for a finished product with less moisture I would bake it longer and/or add less liquid prior to baking.

 
 

Gratin of Zucchini, Rice and Corn with Cheese
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds zucchini or other summer squash
  • 2 ears corn
  • 1/2 cup short grain brown rice 
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • about 2 1/2 cups warm zucchini juices
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Shred the zucchini in a food processor or with a box grater, toss with a heaping teaspoon of salt and drain in a colander. Reserving the juices. Meanwhile drop the rice into boiling salted water, bring rapidly back to a boil for 10-12 minutes; drain and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400'.

Cut the kernels off of the ears of corn. In a large oven-proof frying pan melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the corn, salt and pepper and cook over medium high heat until starting to brown. Remove corn from pan and set aside. 

Return the frying pan to heat. Add the 2 tablespoon olive oil and cook the onions with a little salt for 15-20 minutes, or longer, until tender and translucent and starting to brown. Stir in the grated and dried zucchini and the garlic. Let sit without stirring for a few minutes to start browning some of the zucchini. Then, toss for about 5 minutes until the zucchini is almost tender. Add the corn back to the pan. Sprinkle in the flour, stir over moderate heat for a minute and remove from the heat. 

Gradually stir in the 2-2 1/2 cups warm liquid (zucchini juices). Put the pan over moderately high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring. Remove from the heat again, stir in the blanched rice, 1/2 cup of the grated parmesan and 1 tablespoon butter. Taste carefully for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. 

Transfer frying pan to oven. Bake until the gratin is bubbling, top is browned and appears most of the liquid has absorbed, approximately 35-40 minutes, sprinkling with additional parmesan in the last 5 minutes if desired.

Zucchini Greek Yogurt Muffins

It's that time of year again, zucchini season. The summer squash are exploding from every stand at the farmer's market, dark green, light green, yellow. Every year I hear people groaning about their excess of summer squash but to be honest I've never felt like I had too much of this mild vegetable. I honestly think I could eat grilled zucchini all day, every day of August. It is so good. A little olive oil, a pinch or two of salt, +/- some chili powder or smoked paprika, I never get tired of this simple preparation. And then there's summer squash's sweeter side, the magic of zucchini bread and muffins. 

I whipped up these muffins last weekend to keep in my freezer all week, easy to pull out for a mid-morning snack or to tide me over in the late afternoon before dinner. They ended up being the perfect choice. Nothing flashy, mildly flavored, not overly sweet. A true snack. Each one is on the smaller side, good for a quick bite when you need something fast! 

These muffins are full of wholesome ingredients, the zucchini obviously, whole grain oats,  whole wheat flour, and Greek yogurt. Naturally sweetened for the most part with a little honey (plus just a bit of brown sugar), and lightly spiced with cinnamon. They may not win any beauty contests, but they will give you something tasty and nutritions to sink your teeth into when that craving strikes. 

 
 

Greek Yogurt Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from Running with Spoons
Ingredients

  • 1 cup (120 g) whole wheat or spelt flour
  • 1 cup (80 g) old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (225 g) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (80g) honey
  • 2 tbsp (25 g) brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (115 g) shredded zucchini, squeezed of excess liquid

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350F (176C) and prepare a muffin pan by lining the cavities with paper liners or greasing them with oil or cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg until it becomes slightly frothy. Whisk in the yogurt, honey, sugar, and vanilla, mixing until well combined. Fold in the shredded zucchini.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing gently until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, if using.

Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, filling them almost to the top.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins begin to turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for ~15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store them in an airtight container 

Yields: 12 small muffins