Make this delicious chocolate zucchini loaf from The Naptime Chef Cookbook and I’m pretty sure you won’t have any trouble convincing your kids to eat their vegetables.
As most of you know, I am always searching for nutritious and delicious meals to prepare for my family. I enjoy cooking and spending time in the kitchen, but with an energetic toddler running around, my time these days is much more limited. How do parents get healthy meals on the table while keeping up with their children’s busy schedules? Enter Kelsey Banfield and her incredible blog and now cookbook, The Naptime Chef. True to its name, Kelsey’s book shares time-saving strategies for busy parents who want to still cook wonderful meals and not sacrifice taste, menus or their sanity! She explains how to prepare recipes during downtime (like naps), and shares tips on how to assemble portions earlier in the day so that when mealtime rolls around, all you need to do is put on a few finishing touches and voilà, the perfect meal is served.
Chocolate Zucchini Loaf
(Excerpted from The Naptime Chef Cookbook)
Naptime Stopwatch: 25 minutes prep time, 80 minutes bake time
This unlikely combination of vegetables and chocolate straddles the line between health food and dessert. The loaf rises to a beautifully crackly top and is as moist as a dense cake. I like to bake it in the afternoon so Daphne can have a warm slice for a snack when she wakes up. Sometimes we even have it for dessert in the summer with a scoop of ice cream.
Makes 1 loaf
Unsalted butter, as needed
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup full-fat yogurt, stirred well
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups freshly grated zucchini (1 medium to-large zucchini)
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed for the pan
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, yogurt, and vanilla until everything is incorporated. Mix in the grated zucchini and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and stir them together with a whisk.
4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix them well with a wooden spoon until the flour is no longer visible. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake it for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top of the loaf is set and springs back lightly when touched. Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before releasing it onto a wire rack. Then allow it to cool to room temperature before serving.
Make-Ahead Tips: To freeze some for winter, wrap each loaf in a double layer of plastic wrap and an outer layer of aluminum foil. For an especially decadent treat, eat a slice straight from the freezer.
Serving Ideas: The loaf also transports well. It is great for potlucks or taking to new parents. Sometimes I pack a few slices in our beach bag for an afternoon seaside treat.
Photo by Steve Legato.