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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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Banana Bread

Banana BreadTHE VERDICT:

I know that banana bread isn’t generally that exciting. After all, you can find it in every coffee shop in the city, usually next to the ubiquitous slabs of lemon loaf. But banana bread is a great way to use up overripe bananas, and this batch of bread turned out so well (see perfect golden-brown specimen to the left) that I was inspired to share my recipe for this easy breakfast staple.

When preparing this recipe, don’t worry about getting the amount of banana exact. It will taste fine if you have a little less than a cup of banana and extra banana will only make the bread moister and more flavourful. You can also divide the mixture into muffin cups for banana muffins instead of banana bread—just watch them more carefully, the baking time is a little shorter for muffins.

A loaf will last two adults about 3-4 days depending on how thickly you slice it.

If you want to try it yourself…

THE RECIPE:

Banana Bread (source: my mom–who know where she got it from?)

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup oil

1 cup mashed banana (1-2 very ripe bananas)

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

  • In a bowl: combine salt, flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  • In another bowl: combine sugar, oil and eggs. Beat vigorously until frothy. Add banana and blend thoroughly.
  • Fold into flour mixture until blended.
  • Pour into a greased bread pan.
  • Bake at 325°F for 1 hour until the crust is brown.
  • Remove pan to rack. Let stand 10 minutes. Invert pan.
  • Cut into slices.

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Cranberry-Cornmeal Quick Bread

Cranberry-Cornmeal BreadTHE VERDICT:

First I should probably confess that I am allergic to nuts, which means I have to modify about 50% of the baking recipes I try. This recipe, in particular, called for pecans. I substituted extra dried cranberries for the nuts, but you could easily substitute seeds or other dried fruit if desired.

The other thing I should probably confess is that I screwed up when making this recipe. I combined the dry and wet ingredients before realizing that the melted butter was still sitting in the microwave. While my knowledge of baking chemistry is limited, I have a feeling that adding the melted butter to the already combined batter may have adversely effected the outcome. The bread was a little dry.

But overall, this bread was tasty and I would make it again. Just add a little butter, margarine or jam to make it a little moister and the dryness problem is solved. It kept well for several days stored in a Ziploc bag on the counter. It made a wonderful breakfast with some fresh fruit and a cup (or two) of coffee.

If you want to try it yourself…

THE RECIPE:

Cranberry-Cornmeal Quick Bread (source: www.epicurious.com; original recipe)

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