My Grandmother’s Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

zucchni bread

Nannie (my grandmother) made the most wonderful chocolate zucchini loaf.  Sort of a bread, sort of a cake, it’s the perfect afternoon snack. I love the unlikely combination of chocolate and zucchini, and the hint of cinnamon and cloves here makes this recipe so very comforting. And given that the season for overflowing kitchen gardens is almost upon us, I decided to share this decadent recipe with the Dedham Transcript for the June “Cozy, Delicious” article – which you can read here.

recipe card for chocolate zucchini breadAs a kid, I could devour slice after big, thick slice of this rich, fragrant quick bread.  But as an adult I have come to realize that one thin slice carries with it more than enough butter and sugar for an afternoon snack.  I’ve always thought that a bread chock full of bright and healthy summer squash should be healthy. And more than once I’ve convinced myself that since it contains veggies, I can have just one more morsel. But the reality is that Nannie’s recipe, despite it’s reliance on diced zucchini, shows her generation’s characteristic adoration of butter. 

So while I have a nostalgic connection to the original version, I couldn’t resist tinkering a bit with Nannie’s recipe.  And with some whole wheat flour and a bit of apple sauce, I managed to up the fiber content and reduce the fat and sugar.  And the best part is that the flavor is right on.  The texture may be ever so slightly less luxurious, but I actually have enjoyed this healthier chocolate zucchini bread all the more for its heartiness.  It makes a wonderful breakfast, and even works great as a muffin instead of a loaf (just be sure to reduce the baking time if you choose to make muffins – about 25-30 minutes will do).  

zucchini muffins

Healthier Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

Makes 2 loaves or 18 muffins

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup apple sauce

1 egg

4 egg whites

½ cup fat-free buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 large)

3/4 cup chopped walnuts, divided (optional)

1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate or mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, oil and sugar. Beat in the applesauce, egg, egg whites, buttermilk and vanilla. Sift together the flours, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt (Nannie was big on sifting – don’t skip this step). Add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture and beat just to combine. Fold in the zucchini and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, if using. Spread the batter into two greased loaf pans. Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with the remaining walnuts and the chocolate. Bake for 55-60 minutes. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

zucchini and bread

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Published in: on June 13, 2010 at 5:51 pm  Comments (35)  
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35 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I can’t wait to try the newer healthier version…you need to make it for me ya’ know. Also, I really loved seeing Nannie’s handwriting on a recipe card. Brought back lots of great memories. Thanks K.

  2. i make a chocolate loaf which is divine, but your healthier version is WAY better for my thighs..ha ha

    • Well, maybe not WAY better – gotta have those chocolate chips! But perhaps a tiny bit better!

  3. This chocolatey zucchini loaf looks so moist and delectable!

  4. I love zucchini bread–with chocolate it must be even more amazing.

  5. This looks awesome!

  6. What a wonderful combination. This looks and sounds delicious. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  7. aww grandmothers’ recipes are priceless and you’re lucky to have your grandmother’s recipe’s in writing. I love zucchini loafs and with zucchini season fast approaching this recipe is great!

    • Thanks Nadia! I love my grandmother’s recipe cards… all stained and well-loved. It’s so fun to see her handwriting because I totally hear her voice whenevr I’m cooking anyway.

  8. I recently began adding chocolate to my banana bread so it’s only a natural next step to begin adding them to my zucchini bread. I like that this is the healthier version. That way, I won’t feel bad eating three pieces 😉

    • Exactly! I know I’m going to eat three pieces so I prefer not to feel bad about it!

  9. This sounds amazing! Aren’t grandmothers just the best?!

  10. Hmm! This is making me think about adding zucchini to my basic bran muffins…

    • Oooh, what a great idea. I’ve added carrot to bran muffins before, but never zucchini. I’ll hav eto give that a try. Thanks for the idea!

  11. I love creating healthier versions of my favorite recipes, experimenting with different ingredients…
    your version of your grandma’s recipe sound sooo good.
    🙂

  12. I love zucchini bread and am always looking for new recipes using zucchini! The markets are just overflowing with it in the summer…LOVE the addition of chocolate…I mean what don’t I love chocolate in but this sounds so yummy!

  13. Wow, nice loaf…love the idea of been able to see the zucchini 🙂 Yummie!

  14. How lovely, Cozy. 🙂 I really like the handwritten recipe card. Reminds me of the ones my Grandma used. 🙂

    • Thanks Krista. I love these recipe cards – I guard them with my life!

  15. Dear Katie – You can count on it – I am fixing this soon – maybe even for a potluck on Saturday. Will keep you posted.

    Please don’t be mad if I tweak a little, I am missing the gene that allows me to follow instructions to the letter (much to the chagrin of my husband 🙂

    So wonderful is this and so lovely is your Nannie’s handwriting.

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

    • Haha! Well, let mw know what tweaks you make! A recipe can always be improved, right? This is a great pot-luck bread. I love it best with some whipped cream cheese, so if you make the bread, I’d suggest grabbing some cream cheese too!

  16. Yum Chocolate and zucchini I so happen to have some nice zucchini laying around from my garden. This would be a perfect fit. Thanks!

  17. This is such a wonderful combo! And so healthy too! I would love a piece right now for breakfast.

  18. This is so touching! Her handwriting is so lovely and retro with that even cursive flow; I think she would have approved the changes you made to her cake; I love your version because while it is lighter it is also full of flavor so it is a win-win.

  19. I love that you made them in muffins! They are adorable. Your grandma is a genius to mix chocolate and zucchini together! You are right; it’s sort of a cake and sort of a bread

  20. HI Katie, Thanks for sharing Nannie’s recipe index card—I love to see people’s personal writing–if even on a recipe card–speaks so Of a Time.

    This looks like a healthy adaptation without sacrificing flavor!

  21. I have recipe cards…bits of paper and even a napkin with my Nonna’s recipes…boy what a mess they are…stains all over. She was a busy bee in her kitchen. I have been known to tinker with her recipes too;o)
    Thanks for sharing and flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

  22. This looks wonderful. I’ve never tried a zucchini loaf before but the combination with chocolate sounds exciting! It’s great having recipes passed down from your grandmother.
    Thanks for dropping by my blog, giving me the chance to discover yours as well!
    Magda

  23. OK, zucchinis out in my garden…GROW!!! I want to make this cake. I’m sure I will want to take this statement back about mid-summer when my garden is overflowing with zucchini, but for now I’m feeling a little impatient!

  24. Very pretty…. and somewhat healthy. I love the green specks!
    🙂
    Valerie

  25. There’s nothing like an old favourite made healthier – this looks delicious.

  26. Wow, now that does look like the stuff of happy memories. Zucchini bread is good, but chocolate zucchini bread takes the cake! (Ack, sorry for the awful pun, I couldn’t help it!)

  27. It’s dessert with a side of veggies mixed in. You can’t go wrong.

  28. […] I’ve happily tweaked some of Nannie’s recipes, including her Hanukkah Latkes and her Chocolate Zucchini Loaf, the brisket is sacred. I have a few more tricks to try, and as soon as I get it right I promise […]

  29. […] is amazingly versatile.  From ratatouille to chocolate zucchini bread it works in almost everything.  But until my mother-in-law suggested last weekend that zucchini […]


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