March 14th, 2012

{recipe & reads} Chocolate Zucchini Loaf and the Naptime Cookbook

Naptime Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

I’ve known Kelsey Banfield, also known as The Naptime Chef, for a couple of years now. Somehow, though, it seems like we’ve been friends forever. Partly it’s because we just plain get along. We also have similarly aged children. But there’s something else: Kelsey’s approach to cooking gives me the warm fuzzies. I can picture her, apron on, cooking and baking her version of classic recipes while her (adorable!) daughter naps.

I guess there’s just something about how Kelsey celebrates and revamps the recipes that she grew up with so that they are relevant recipes that her daughter will grow up with, too, that makes Kelsey feel familiar to me. Like an old friend who’ll always be there with perfect blueberry muffins or a chocolate zucchini loaf when I really need it.

Kelsey just published her first cookbook The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food Into Family Life and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a free advanced copy. There are so many recipes to try, but one, in particular, caught my eye.

I’ve been meaning to develop a chocolate zucchini bread recipe for a while now. I know it’s not really the season, but I recently spied zucchini at my grocery store a couple of weeks in a row. And for a couple of weeks in a row I bought some with the intention of finally getting to it. Instead, the zucchini ended up roasted, in eggs and shredded into Turkish-style pancakes. Until I got my copy of Kelsey’s book. I turned a page and there it was… Chocolate Zucchini Loaf.

Kelsey knows how to work chocolate (her Chocolate Bundt Cake has been a top recipe on Food52 for 2 years!) and this recipe is proof. It is super simple to make, requiring only 20 minutes of prep, and super tasty to eat. You know how some chocolate desserts can end up too heavy and rich? Not this one! This bread is light and moist—just what you want from a zucchini loaf. It is also sweet enough to feel like an indulgence, but not so sweet that you feel bad about it. ‘Cuz who wants to feel bad about a bread made with veggies?!

Major bonus: this bread will fill your house with a heavenly smell.

Give this Chocolate Zucchini Loaf a try (you can even make it in mini loaf pans, perfect for an after school treat!) and, if when you like it, run out and get Kelsey’s new book. You may not know her in person the way I do but, through her recipes, Kelsey will become your friend just the same.

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf
recipe by Kelsey Banfield, from The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food Into Family Life
(One Hungry Mama says that this recipe can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*
Makes 1 loaf

Unsalted butter, as needed
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup full-fat yogurt, stirred well
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups freshly grated zucchini (1 medium to large zucchini)
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed for the pan
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

 1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.

 2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, yogurt and vanilla until everything is incorporated. Mix in the grated zucchini and set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder and stir together with a whisk.

 4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix them together well with a wooden spoon until the flour is no longer visible. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake it for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top of the loaf is set and springs back lightly when touched. Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before releasing it onto a wire rack. Then allow it to cool to room temperature before serving.

*Note: While there is nothing in this recipe that is unsafe for younger children, I recommend it starting at 12 months due to the sugar content. No matter how old your eaters, be sure to share an age appropriate portion. A little of this bread goes a long way for young children.

Photo by Steve Legato courtesy of Running Press

Kelsey’s publisher, Running Press, gifted me a copy of The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food Into Family Life after I made the commitment to do a book review for my pal. Truth be told, I would have happily done the review even if they hadn’t, at my own expense. I was not paid for this post and, other than the book, I did not receive anything in return for writing it. While I don’t usually post promotional content on One Hungry Mama that is not part of a paid sponsorship, I make exceptions for quality work by folks I like and trust. Kelsey is one of those folks.

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