Baking Club! Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

So, we’ve done it. We started a baking club! Well, ok I started a baking club, but what is a club without members? It’s just me baking up a storm in my kitchen – attempting to find reasons for a dessert celebration…. without further ado, here are our members:
Nicole – Chicago
Emily – San Francisco
Sarah – Norfolk
Eric – Norfolk
Elisa – San Francisco
and me – San Francisco

What is this club you ask? Well, we are baking “something” once a month and for now posting them on my blog – until we find a better way to do this! And we find a name for ourselves (suggestions welcome). For now we are the Baking Club. If you want to join send me a message! Each month one member will choose a recipe, then we take a picture, write a blurb and post them here. I am very excited to see the variety that this experimental club provides. I also love the idea that we are all connected by baking especially since we are spread coast to coast.

This month’s recipe was chosen by Nicole (Chicago) whom I have known since college. She is known by many as the Pie Queen and has a knack for crafts, sewing projects, and flower arranging as well as some other lovely characteristics. She picked Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread from Paula Dean as our first recipe.

Nicole

This recipe was my suggestion (courtesy of Paula Deen), as our CSA was providing us with so much zucchini, I was about to turn green. I was looking for any new ways to use it up. The recipe went together well, although I was a little surprised at the order in which the elements were added. I think this might be my first time to make anything that the chocolate chips were not the very last ingredient. The batter was very colorful, though. I may have overmixed a tiny bit and didn’t get quite as much rise as I had hoped. I made one loaf, because I only have one loaf pan, and made the rest into muffins. I also didn’t garnish with whipped cream and zucchini ribbons – this would have been lovely, especially as a little frosting for the muffins. But, I used up all my zucchini in the bread and hadn’t the energy for whipped cream! Husband approved, and I concur. The colorful batter translates into tasty flavor combinations! If I make this again (which lets hope is a while, I’m all zucchini-ed out) I think I will add some butter or cream to the batter. After all, butter is my signature ingredient (and I thought it was Paula’s, too…)



Emily

Since I lack loaf pans—I really ought to buy some loaf pans—I decided to make chocolate chip zucchini muffins. I made a few simple alterations to the original recipe: whole wheat flour for some of the all-purpose flour; no nuts; touch more chocolate (who doesn’t want more chocolate?). Thanks to my friends Angela and Justin who just bought a house with a lovely orange tree in the back yard. (Your orange yielded a great juicy zest!)


I give this recipe a B-. I think the search for a staple zucchini bread recipe continues… They were a tiny bit on the dry side, and the muffin (sans chocolate chip) lacked real flavor, sweetness, character. That said, if I were to try this one again, I would use olive oil instead of canola, add 1/2 a cup of brown sugar, bump up the spices, cut back on the orange zest, and leave out the chocolate chips.


‘Course, there aren’t any left, so it must have been ok…


Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins (Altered Recipe)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 eggs

2 cups white sugar

1 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups grated zucchini

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon orange zest

Directions

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin(s).

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, spices and baking soda.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add sugar, and continue beating until well blended. Stir in oil, vanilla, zucchini, pecans, chocolate chips, and orange zest. Stir in sifted ingredients. Pour into prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool 2-3 minutes in pan. Remove muffins from pans and cool completely.

Yields 1 ½ dozen muffins.




Elisa

Nutmeg at my mother’s house did not come from a tin, but rather from seeds that were grated to release just the right amount called for by the recipe. Back then, I thought more about the funny look of the seed than about the taste…until a friend mentioned she didn’t care for the spice. I realized then that I didn’t care for it either. I also don’t care for orange zest. So when I read the ingredients for the Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread, I was naturally suspicious.


The ingredients for this recipe are interesting. Zucchini has such a mild taste. Paired with chocolate, orange zest and nutmeg, its flavor is lost. I love chocolate anything. Add nuts, and I am happy. Orange zest and nutmeg take that joy away. I would make this bread again but I would omit the zest and nutmeg. I would have enjoyed the bread more without these two ingredients. I am also not convinced about the combination of chocolate, nuts, and zucchini. It strikes me as deceptive. A sneaky way to add vegetables to one’s diet. I would be interested in a savory bread that allowed the zucchini taste to come through.






Sarah & Eric – The Dynamic Baking Duo

The dynamic baking duo, commonly known as Sarah and Eric, gave up watching definitely legal downloaded episodes of True Blood and a live Royals game respectively to tackle the chocolate chip zucchini bread. The consensus is that it was worth it for the process but not necessarily for the end product. We had grand plans for this little Paula Dean recipe. We started by using half applesauce half olive oil to reduce the fat with the intention of upping that fat factor with a butter, cinnamon, brown sugar crumble. However, seeing how much sugar went into the batter we opted to 86 the buttery crumble. We also left out the pecans due to Eric’s general distaste for all kinds of nuts (that’s what she said). The other favorite part of the process was the smell while baking. It smelled exactly like mulled cider! The mulled cider smell also made us wonder how it would taste with apples. However, the end result was just ok. There seemed to be too many components. All that we tasted was chocolate and orange, and the zucchini seemed completely unnecessary (imagine that in a Paula Dean recipe). Overall, it is a moist bread with pretty mainstream flavors but our vote is less orange and/or chocolate and more brown sugar crumble.




The Lovely Lady Baker

I had the lovely opportunity to hear some of the comments about this bread before I made it so I was not expecting much. It seems to be a general consensus the the bread was mediocre – surprising that Paula Dean can do mediocre. I feel like this recipe could be the start of a really great zucchini bread. I did make a few changes to the original based on some research I did… The first research required me tasting a muffin from the coffee shop – which used walnuts not pecans. The second bit of research I did came by accident while reading the blurbs that everyone sent, and the last was just me rummaging around on the internet looking for some interesting zucchini bread recipes to compare this one to. I find the latter part most fun. I try to visit fellow blogger sites and usually get a lot of good ideas.


This recipe seemed to have way too much sugar for my taste and also a lot of oil. I cut the sugar back to 1 1/3 C and used 2/3 C olive oil instead of Canola. I increased the cinnamon to 1 tsp and used some fancy organic bulk chocolate chips. I kept the zucchini amount the same and shredded it fairly large – skins on. Since most people said the orange was a bit overpowering I only zested about a third of my orange into the mix. I made 4 mini loaves and added the rest to my regular size loaf pan. I should have reduced the baking time by at least 5 minutes but you forget these things when multitasking. They turned out super cute! I only added the nuts to the tops of the loaves and scattered approximately 1 T per loaf. I prefer nuts and quick bread this way. They get really crispy and delicious and it produces a nice texture. We ate this for breakfast and it seems fine as a breakfast dish (I’ll definitely never serve it with whipped cream and zucchini ribbons). I think the only things I might do differently next time are nix the orange, add 1 C more shredded zucchini, maybe use some melted butter, and really go overboard by adding coco powder to the dry ingredients. yum!





THANKS EVERYONE FOR PARTICIPATING IN OUR FIRST CHALLENGE!


If you were completely inspired reading this post and want to join our club, send me an email. flourbakery at gmail dot com. Anyone is welcome and trust me no experience needed! Happy Baking!



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One thought on “Baking Club! Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

  1. And the winner is……… The Dynamic Duo!! Solely because they made a reference to The Office. The LLB is also a winner because I actually got to eat a loaf.

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