This chocolate zucchini bread recipe was born after editor Christina Chaey asked an existential question in the test kitchen one random Tuesday: “What’s the point of zucchini bread?” Reader, I blinked slowly. What Is the interest of zucchini bread?! Is it a celebration of sweet-tasting, moisture-filled zucchini? A frenetic ploy to cope with the abundant summer supply? An attempt to entice picky eaters to eat their vegetables?
This extra-chocolate version makes a case for all of the above. It’s tall, stately, and generously fills the pan (no one has time for short, chunky quick bread); just the right amount of sweetness, with a warming cinnamon thread; and loaded with chunks of melting chocolate in the crumb. Perhaps even more appealing is the fact that there is no difficult step that requires you to squeeze and strain the liquid from the grated zucchini. Cocoa powder, starchy and intensely absorbent, absorbs all that excess moisture perfectly. Choose thin, tender squashes, they tend to be less watery and have fewer seeds.
A note on cocoa powder: Be sure to use unsweetened Dutch-made cocoa powder (also called “alkalized” or “European-style”) for this recipe. Natural (read: non-alkaline) cocoa powder will not provide the same chocolate flavor and requires a different balance of leavens to lighten up a chocolate cake – I mean a quick bread recipe.