Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night


Yup- a legitimate holiday. OK, not so much a holiday (unless you're the one unloading a couple tons of squash), but more of a festive, wacky observation. Some folks call this Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day, but it really is best to do this under the cover of darkness. After all, it only takes a couple of gardeners sneaking around the neighborhood with a wagon full of green goodness before a person can end up with a pretty big pile of zucchini.

bread or cake

On the other hand, zucchini is very easy to put away for a rainy day. Spend a day working up some nice casseroles for the freezer. Or this super yummy bread. There are hundreds of recipes for Chocolate Zucchini Bread, all of them more or less similar. This recipe comes from Joy of Baking and is a bread-cake hybrid. Jump on the link to get the recipe and when you come back, check out my Chocolate Butter.

Before we do that I want to make a couple of comments about how I make this bread recipe. First of all, you've probably noticed how dark this bread looks.

reg -v- dark

I love dark chocolate beyond good reason so I used the Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa powder for this recipe. No one in my house loves dark chocolate like I do, so I'm doomed to eat this entire loaf by myself. There's alot of debate in the "real cook" circles about whether or not dutch-processed and natural cocoa powder are interchangeable. I've never noticed significant differences when baking with one or the other but that just may indicate an undiscriminating palate. Dark chocolate is one of those things that you love or hate and I'll be honest with you-- using the Special Dark cocoa powder for this recipe almost puts it over the top. It is pretty rich.  Probably best to stick with the regular if sharing.

Sub a bit of wheat germ

The second comment is that I use less than a cup of flour and substitute wheat germ for the rest. It works out to about 3/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup wheat germ but I'm never quite that definite about it. I just short the cup a bit and top it off with wheat germ.


So now for the Chocolate Butter. This stuff is pretty heady eating and is not for the faint of heart. My food preferences tend to run outside of mainstream at times but this stuff is to be administered in small doses.

There are a couple of ways to make this but they are both pretty easy. The first version is based on a 1:1 ratio. I make small batches because there's no reason to have too much available at once.

Butter and Chocolate

Here I've used 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips. Melt the butter in the microwave and then add the chips. The heat from the butter will melt the chips (you can give it a nuke bump if needed).


Sticking with  the 1:1 ratio, you would use 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup chips, 1 cup butter with 1 cup chips (which even for me seems pretty excessive). Using this method, the butter firms up a good bit in the 'frig because of the chips and needs to sit out a room temp for a bit to soften up.

Remember that is you store your chips in the freezer, let them thaw out to room temperature before you try to melt them. You can melt chocolate with things like shortening or oil but any water (which you will get as condensation from frozen chips) will cause the chocolate to get gritty and it won't melt to a nice smooth texture. Just sharing my learning experiences.

The next method doesn't firm up so much in the 'frig.

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp sugar

Whip the ingredients to fluffy and wa-la! Chocolate Butter.

Store in the refrigerator.

What's that you say? You still have more zucchini?

Stop back on Friday and we'll get rid of some more of your squash.

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