Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread


Two major life events are rapidly approaching and there’s nothing I can do to change their course. So, I’ve been baking instead.

This first, and most imminent, event is my 32nd birthday (tomorrow) and I’m trying to drum up some excitement over it. Sure, I’m looking forward to a girl’s night out to see Eat, Pray, Love followed by stuffing ourselves with pizza margherita’s, but the birthday -that number– not so fun!

The second event takes place a week from Monday when Noah will start kindergarten. There’s a whole lot of emotions welling up over that big day that I won’t even get into!

In an attempt to compose my mixed sentiments over these two events, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Baking and cooking is clearly therapeutic for me, and ‘recipe testing’ can sometimes be code for ‘working through some stuff’.


One of the many projects on my plate this week was to perfect my zucchini bread recipe. Several pounds of zucchini and eight various loaves later, I narrowed my favorite down to two, one of them featured here today and the other, or The Best Zucchini Bread Ever‘, will be has been posted Monday on Simple Bites.

Both recipes are actually fantastic; however, I know I have a bevy of chocolate lovers over here, so that may have influenced my decision to feature a chocolate zucchini bread here.


This dark and deadly loaf is “…too good to be healthy” as one of my ‘tasters’ remarked. But with the inclusion of whole-wheat flour and plenty of zucchini, it’s a lot better for you than a slice of cake.

This, in fact, will probably be my birthday cake, it’s that great. Double chocolate? It’s allll good.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Joy of Baking

  • 1/2 c. cake flour
  • 1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. canola oil
  • 1 cup organic turbinado sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded, raw zucchini
  • 3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in the center of the oven. Grease, or spray with nonstick vegetable spray, a 9x5x3″ loaf pan. Set aside.

Grate the zucchini using a medium sized grater. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until well blended – about 2 minutes. Fold in the grated zucchini. Add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Then fold in the chocolate chips.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55-65 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.

Yields one large loaf.

Yeast 101 Tutorial and Easter Egg Bread

Photo and bread by Lynn Craig

We’ve got a fabulous Yeast 101 tutorial today on Simple Bites for those of you may feel slightly skiddish about working with yeast.

Our post Taming the Yeast: Easter Egg Bread not only gives tips on how to feel confident when working with yeast, but shows, step-by-step, how to execute a lovely festive loaf.

Create this easy, yet impressive Easter Egg Braided Bread and show your friends this Easter

“Look, it has risen indeed!”

Head here for the tutorial and recipe…

Happy Easter, everyone!

Stocking the Cheese Board with Rosemary Pecan Crisps

If you analyzed my diet over the past two weeks, you’d conclude that cheese and dessert had combined to make a new food group. I feel as though they have been the main staples of my diet since the holidays started and am scratching my head trying to remember consuming an actual ordinary meal–massive multi-course dinner parties excluded, of course.

I’m partially blaming Julie for this influx of artery clogging ripened milk products in my diet because she introduced me to these Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps, and once one has the perfect transportation for the cheese from wooden board to lips, there is no stopping the heavy traffic.


Similar to Raincoast Crisps, the deadly addicting, yet expensive cracker that Julie brilliantly patterned her recipe after, these treats, plus a wheel of triple creme Brie are a Girl’s Best Friend. They are delicately flavored with buttermilk & honey, scented with fresh rosemary and contain just enough nuts & fruit to eclipse the rest of the accompaniments on the cheese board.


OK, the crisps are very simple to make–and don’t worry, you’re not going to have to knead bread dough! The batter, which is leavened with baking soda, comes together quickly and two hefty loaves are baked off in a jiff. When cooled, the loaves are sliced and the slices baked again into the crisps you see here; yep, it’s a similar method to making biscotti.

The longest part is probably slicing the loaves, but if you do this while they are very cold or partially frozen, the result will be uniform, thin slices of bread which will produce lovely, lovely crisps.

Do visit Dinner with Julie for her entertaining post on the subject and a few ideas for alternative add-ins.

Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps
via Dinner with Julie

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup flax seed, ground

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar and honey and stir a few strokes. Add the raisins, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed and rosemary and stir just until blended.

Pour the batter into two 8”x4” loaf pans that have been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack.
The cooler the bread, the easier it is to slice really thin. You can leave it until the next day or pop it in the freezer.
Slice the loaves as thin as you can and place the slices in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. (Julie likes to slice and bake one loaf and pop the other in the freezer for another day.)

Reduce the oven heat to 300° F and bake them for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes, until crisp and deep golden.

Cool and store in an airtight container.
Makes about 8 dozen crackers.

DIY: Pita Bread


This post was originally published on May 4, 2007

On these beautiful spring days, it’s tough deciding how to spend the mornings: head outside and weed among the daffodils or throw on an apron and get floury in the kitchen? Here’s a quick bread recipe that lets you do both–Pita! With a relatively rapid rising time (30 minutes) you can have the satisfaction of having your hands in both dough and dirt in the same morning.
Just be sure to use that nail brush in between!


Pita bread is something my family has been making for as long as I can remember. They are so fun to make and puff up nicely, leaving a hollow center to fill with grilled chicken, veggies or whatever you desire. They are pretty amazing just warm from the oven with a drizzle of olive oil.


Here’s my favorite hummus recipe, in case you need an accompaniment for your pitas!

Wimbush Family Pita Bread
1 tablespoon yeast
1 ¼ cup warm water

1 teaspoon salt
3- 3 ½ cups flour
Dissolve yeast in water for about 5 minutes in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add salt and 1 ½ cups flour and with the dough hook, beat to make a batter. Add additional flour until a rough, shaggy mass is formed. Knead 8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into six pieces for large pitas or ten for smaller. I make all sorts of sizes to suit different snacks and meals. Form dough into balls, then flatten with a rolling pin into ¼ inch thick discs. Try and keep an even thickness as this is what helps them ‘puff’. Let rest on the floured surface 30-40 minutes until slightly puffed.
Preheat oven to 425F.
With a large spatula, flip the rounds of dough upside down on to a b
aking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes until light golden. Stick around for the first five minutes of baking when the pitas perform their magic and puff up from flat pancakes to proud, four inch high pitas. These store for up to two days well wrapped or frozen for three weeks.

WFD? Chorizo & Black Bean Soup with Corn Bread


Lately I’ve been reminding myself of what I probably will be like as an 85 year-old woman.
I shuffle around the place dressed in a faded jogging suit, its pockets and sleeves stuffed with Kleenex, and smelling like Vic’s Vapor Rub. I’m perpetually cold, and wear two pairs of socks, even when I go to bed (which is around 8:30).
I can’t concentrate for two minutes on anything; guaranteed time-wasters like Twitter or Facebook hold no interest for me and I find myself wishing I had a good knitting project.
The kicker, though, amid all this depressing evidence, is that I re-used a teabag today. Ugh.

In my defense, our household has been sick for almost two weeks with colds & the flu and it tends to suck the life right out of you after a while. Not to be down or anything, but you should know it’s not always all rainbows and sunshine around here. There are Kleenex boxes stashed at one meter intervals around the house and my stomach muscles ache from coughing. I’m at the point where I have to complain to someone and it may as well be you! Sorry.


It’s strange to not have an appetite, especially for me, still the family has to eat and so we’ve been enjoying our fair share of comfort food.
Take this hearty soup and batter bread, for example. The chorizo give off enough heat to clear the sinuses a bit and the bold flavors of cilantro, lime and garlic can awaken even the most desensitized taste buds. There’s no doubt a good soup does wonders for the soul; I’m even cheering up just writing about it.
Oh, and it’s high time I shared my favorite corn bread recipe. Moist and rich, it’s a cinch to make and always comes out like a dream. We eat ours drenched in honey.

Chorizo & Black Bean Soup
Serves 2

1 chorizo sausage (about 150g)

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 green onions
1 clove garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon whole cumin

2 cups cooked black beans

1 large fresh tomato, chopped

2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup corn

garnish: fresh cilantro, lime wedges, sour cream

In a small, heavy skillet set over medium heat, gently toast the cumin until the aromas begin to be released and seeds are lightly colored. Set aside to cool, then grind to a powder in a mortar and pestle.

Slice chorizo lengthwise and lay the flat, cut side down on your cutting board. Slice entire sausage in 1/4 inch pieces. Heat a heavy, medium sized pot and add chorizo. Cook for about five minutes, until the pieces start to color a bit. Remove from pan and reserve.

Slice white parts of onions, reserving the green for later, and add to the pot along with olive oil, garlic, and cumin. Saute gently, combining everything well together. Add black beans, tomato, stock, and corn to the pot and mix well.

Simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Ladle into bowls, add chorizo pieces, and squeeze some lime over. Slice green onions and toss over the soup. Top with fresh cilantro and serve with sour cream.

Corn Bread
Serves 6

1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

3 teaspoon baking powder

3 eggs, well beaten

1 cup milk

1/4 cup cream

1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Butter an 8-1/2 x 11-inch baking pan. Sift the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and baking powder into a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Beat eggs and milk together until well mixed, add to cornmeal mixture and combine well. Beat in the cream, and lastly, the butter.

Pour batter into the buttered pan and bake for 18-20 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Slice into triangles and serve warm.