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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chocolate-Nut Zucchini Loaf Bread

Chocolate-Nut Zucchini Loaf Bread
If you’re working with large zucchini, cut them in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds before weighing. Macerating the grated zucchini—tossing it with sugar and letting it sit—helps draw out excess moisture to avoid the soggy, dense texture that often plagues zucchini bread.

Serves 8.

4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more for the pan
9-1/2 oz. (2 cups plus 2 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pan
3/4 lb. zucchini (about 3 small), stem ends trimmed
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/3 cup strongly brewed coffee, cold or at room temperature
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt or buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 oz. finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (1/3 cup)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (2 oz.)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
Butter a 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch metal loaf pan and dust with flour; tap out any excess.

Using the large grating disk on a food processor, pass the zucchini vertically through the feed tube to grate. (If the zucchini is too wide to fit, slice in half lengthwise.)
Discard any remaining ungrated portions wedged on top of the disk.
Transfer the grated zucchini to a colander or sieve set over a bowl.
Sprinkle 1 Tbs. of the sugar over the grated zucchini and toss to distribute.
Sprinkle another 1 Tbs. sugar over the zucchini and toss again.
Set aside for 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
Pour the butter into a medium bowl and let cool slightly, 5 to 10 minutes.
Whisk the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, coffee, yogurt or buttermilk, and eggs into the butter.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, chocolate, walnuts, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Squeeze the zucchini by the fistful to thoroughly wring out excess liquid.
Add the zucchini to the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
Pour over the flour mixture and, using a large wooden spoon, stir until just blended.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Loosen the edges with a knife and release the bread, turning it upright onto the rack until completely cooled.

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