Aug 10, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

chocolate zucchini bread 1

It’s the time of year where zucchini start winding up on your doorstep – or in my case, my desk at work.  I only grow herbs in my garden – but I know that people who grow zucchini wind up with more of it than they know what to do with.  I am always happy to take any extra – just one less thing to buy at the market!   I always make my favorite summer meal – summer pasta bolognese – whenever I get a fresh summer zucchini.  But I decided that its been too long since I made any sort of quick bread so this chocolate zucchini version was in order.   Especially since I was already grating the zucchini in my food processor for dinner – it made sense to grate some for this recipe as well. 

chocolate zucchini bread 2


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. espresso powder, optional
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease an 8 1/2” by 4 1/2” loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl combine the eggs, honey, oil, brown sugar and vanilla.  Beat until smooth. 

3. Add the salt, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa and flour, stirring just until combined.

4. Fold in the chocolate chips and the shredded zucchini.  Pour into the loaf pan.

5. Bake for 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick(tester) comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Source: King Arthur Flour

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Aug 8, 2012

Key lime Bars

key lime bars 1

When its hot – and this summer has been HOT – I crave citrusy desserts.  I’ve been meaning to make key lime bars forever.  And I don’t know what has taken me so long to finally make them.  They are so refreshing and the perfect summer dessert.  The crunchy toasted coconut on top – gives these the perfect tropical crunch.  Get yourself a margarita or pina colada and you will be all set for a perfect summer evening.  

key lime bars 3

yep – you really need to make these now!  Enjoy!

key lime bars 2


For the crust:

  • 5 oz. animal crackers
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • pinch table salt
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the filling:

  • 2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lime zest
  • pinch table salt
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (key or regular limes)


  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a 8 inch square baking dish with a foil sling and spray foil with baking spray.

2. In a food processor, pulse animal crackers until broken down – about 10 1-second pulses.  Add brown sugar and salt and continue to process – about 12 1-second pulses.  Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse to combine.   Press crumbs firmly into bottom of prepared pan.  Bake until golden brown – 18 to 20 minutes.  Cool on wire rack while making filling.  Do not turn off oven.

3. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, zest, and salt with a rubber spatula until softened and combined.   Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk until incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain.  Whisk in egg yolk and lime juice until incorporated.

4. Pour filling into crust and bake until set and edges begin to pull away from sides of the pan – about 15 to 20 minutes.   Cool on wire rack fro 1 hour then refrigerate until chilled – at least 2 hours.

5. Remove bars from pan and cut into 16 squares.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut and serve.

Source: Cooks Illustrated

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Aug 6, 2012

Brownie bites

brownie bites 1

Whenever I make a dessert for work or a large gathering I always try to make something that is all ready to grab-n-go – no cutting or scooping involved.   That is what I loved about these brownie bites – there were the perfect size and very people pleasing.  Who doesn’t love a bite of brownie – topped with chocolate ganache and toffee bits or sprinkles (or walnuts or coconut, etc. etc.)

brownie bites 2


For the brownies:
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
5 1/3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the ganache:
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

For topping:
Toffee bits, sprinkles, chopped nuts, coconut, etc..


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan.  Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the unsweetened chocolate and butter.  Cook and stir over medium-low heat just until melted and smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat. 

3. Add the sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt, and whisk until combined.  Stir in the flour until just incorporated.  Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into each mini muffin cup. 

4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until completely set.  Allow to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes.  Remove brownies from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make the ganache: heat the whipping cream in a small saucepan over medium heat just until it simmers; remove from the heat.  Add the bittersweet chocolate to the heated cream, let stand for 30 seconds, then whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is well blended.

6. Gently dip the top of each brownie in the ganache and then sprinkle with toppings.  Allow the glaze to set completely before serving.

Source: Annie’s Eats

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