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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Chip Zucchini BreadTHE VERDICT:

This is probably one of my most successful recipes. I have baked it for gifts, brought it along to potluck brunches and served it at tea parties, and I always get compliments on it. I have shared this recipe with others in a one-on-one manner for years, so when I baked it for breakfast this week, I thought it was about time I shared it on Tonight’s Dinner.

I love this bread because it is as easy to make as banana bread, but doesn’t have the same run-of-the-mill feeling to it. It is a perfect blend of healthy food (zucchini) and tasty indulgence (chocolate chips) all accented with a yummy hint of cinnamon.

A couple of things to try: Use parchment paper to line the pan instead of butter and it will lift right out after you let it cool in the pan a bit. Substitute 1 cup of flour for a cup of whole wheat flour to up the fibre.

If you want to try it yourself…

THE RECIPE:

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread (source: some magazine I read a long time ago)

3 zucchini, shredded (about 5 cups)
1 ½ tsp. salt, divided
3 cups & 2 Tbsp. flour, divided
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

  • In a large colander: toss zucchini with 1 tsp. salt. Place a smaller plate over the zucchini. Weigh down with a heavy can. Set aside 30 minutes to release liquid.
  • Position oven rack to lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350⁰F.
  • Butter and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl: combine 3 cups flour, cinnamon, soda, powder and remaining salt.
  • In another bowl: combine sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.
  • Toss chocolate chips in remaining flour.
  • Pat zucchini dry between paper towels.
  • Stir sugar mixture and zucchini into flour mixture until combined. Add chocolate chips.
  • Transfer to pan. Bake 1.5 hours or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool on rack 30 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on rack.

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Dried CherriesTHE VERDICT:

These cookies make my mouth happy. It was like the favourite cookie of my childhood decided to grow up and get even more irresistibly delicious. Adding to the indulgence level, we discovered Callebaut chocolate chips in the bulk aisle of our favourite Save-On Foods and decided to use them instead of regular chips.

I should probably note that we used our stand mixer and not a food processor to prepare the dough, so you may have different results than we did if you follow the recipe to the letter. We also do not have two racks in our oven (it involves a long, frustrating story about the people who used to own our condo before us and their fish pond), so I simply baked them on a rack in the centre of the oven. They turned out fine without all the silly switching around that the recipe calls for. The only tragedy resulted when I forgot to set the timer for the first batch. I’m blaming “mommy brain” for the immolation of the first dozen cookies. Once I’d had my first taste of an unburnt cookie, I realized just how tragic a loss they were.

Overall, I would say this is by far the best cookie recipe I have tried in ages.

If you want to try it yourself…

THE RECIPE:

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries (source: www.epicurious.com; original recipe)

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Chocolate Chip Cranberry Granola Bars & Sparkling Iced Tea

Granola Bar and Sparkling Iced TeaTHE VERDICT:

Both of these recipes make for a tasty afternoon snack though the beverage is a much healthier option if you are counting calories. The granola bars are amazing, but they are a problematic snack. The original recipe should be prepared in a 9 x 9 cake pan and then cut into 16 pieces, leaving you with a miniscule portion size that packs a whopping 157 calories without filling you up. Because we cut larger, more filling bars, I’ve doubled the original recipe, so that we can eat these as snacks all week long. We won’t make this recipe often as it is not the healthiest choice (though it is still preferable to the heavily processed granola bars available at the grocery store), and in the future we may try to make healthier substitutions for some of the ingredients (e.g. pumpkin seeds instead of chocolate chips).

The iced tea is extremely refreshing and I am looking forward to making several variations of this recipe over the warm summer months. The original recipe only serves two and is designed to be served shortly after making it, so I altered things a little bit. I just made a jug of extremely strong cranberry-raspberry tea and then diluted it with club soda whenever I made a glass. This would be a great drink to serve at a summer barbecue.

THE RECIPES:

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Granola Bars (source: Spark Recipes; original recipe)

Sparkling Iced Tea (www.canadianfamily.ca; original recipe)

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