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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Zucchini Bread: Mini Loaves

Zucchini bread mini-loaves
Nothing quite says fall like being able to turn the oven back on. I'm not much of a cool weather fan, so this is a bit of a saving grace. Steaming soups, warm cakes and cookies... I love being able to cook dishes that require cooler weather.

Today I woke up to the cool sound of rain drops and the crisp smell of autumn. This immediately meant that I had to make a heart warming dish. And today that meant zucchini bread.

Now, I have to acknowledge that zucchini "bread" is more like cake. I also have to acknowledge that I can eat more than just one piece. Soooo, with that being said, I've come up with a way healthier version of zucchini "bread." These have about half the oil and half the sugar of a traditional zucchini bread. Think of it more like a morning breakfast zucchini muffin.
To keep up with the bread theme, I decided to go with mini loaf pans instead of a muffin tin.

These, in my opinion are best warm, right out of the oven... but I feel that way about most baked goods. They are just as delicious when cool, however. Dust them with a teeny bit of powdered sugar for a fancy presentation and serve with butter or cream cheese.

Gather all your ingredients from the start to make everything go smoothly. 
• 3 C all purpose flour
• 1/4 C cocoa powder
• 1/4 white sugar
• 1 Tbs cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp nutmeg
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp baking soda

• 3 large eggs
• 1/4 C canola oil (or other flavorless oil)
• 1 Tbs vanilla extract
• 1/4 C brown sugar
• 1 C apple sauce
• 1 banana

• 2 med/lrg zucchini (about 3 - 3 1/2 C) shredded
• 1/2 C dark chocolate chips
• 1/2 C nuts of choice (today I used almonds because I always have a ton in the pantry)
• 1/2 C dried cranberries or raisins

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease your baking pan using a cooking spray. I also cut out small pieces of parchment to line the bottom of the tins. This step is completely optional, I just do it to ensure no sticking.

Greased and lined mini loaf tins.
Combine the first eight ingredients by sifting them together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Sift together dry ingredients.

In a smaller bowl, or food processor, blend together the next six ingredients. I prefer using a food processor because it completely incorporates the banana. For this mixture into the dry mix and whisk until incorporated.
Blend the wet ingredients together with food processor. 

Gently fold in the grated zucchini in three parts. Once this is completely incorporated, fold in the last three ingredients.

Almonds, chocolate chips, dried cranberries
Spoon mixture into greased tins, filling about halfway. Bake for approx. 15 to 18 minutes. Test doneness by using a wooden toothpick. When toothpick comes out clean, the yummy little loaves are done.

Fill half way with batter to allow for rising.
Transfer to cooling rack until cool enough to handle. Plate and dust with confectioners' sugar... and enjoy!

This little notebook stays next to my bed for future ideas... feel free to put in requests!

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