August 14, 2012

A little zucchini puree.

Last night I took the bold step into the world of baking with vegetables. Sure, I've tried beans before, but they're legumes so that's different. Last night the magic ingredient was zucchini.

Chocolate zucchini loaf is a pretty common thing, I've found, but I've never made it myself and have only tried it a few times. It's not something my mom made, probably since I always ate my vegetables as a kid, so I never got a lot of exposure to it until I was a grown up. I'm so grown up.

Sometimes the stars just align and you end up with an abundance of zucchini in your fridge. It's a rare occurrence but not completely unheard of. I had a zucchini and my mom had two, on of which was kindly grown in a neighbour's backyard. What the heck do you do with three zucchinis? My mom requested that I make some chocolate zucchini loaf with it and she didn't have to twist my arm too hard. Moist chocolate loaf with vegetables in it? Sign me up!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon searching for the perfect recipe. Healthy Indulgences has a recipe for it but I just couldn't bring myself to care about my carb intake. I read the other day that you can get away with eating fattier foods when you're on a low carb diet because it all starts to balance out in the end. Well, I'm not on a low carb diet, I just enjoy these recipes, so I decided to forget about the sugar free recipe and just roll with something simpler.

After looking at several websites I finally settled on this recipe. It was actually a toss up between that one and one I found on Canadian Living. I liked that the one I used called for yogurt instead of oil. I even stayed true to the recipe and used the almond milk it called for because I had some in the fridge. The only substitution I made was that I used some unrefined cane sugar instead of the dark brown that it called for and, I guess, that I didn't have any cloves.

When the recipe said that I could use my food processor instead of a grater to deal with the zucchini I decided that would be best. Less knuckles or finger tips in the loaf that way. You think I'm joking, don't you? For some reason the food processor had a hard time chopping the whole zucchini up at once. Maybe it was because the zucchinis were getting a little old and soft or because I over estimated the capacity of the food processor, but all I know if that I ended up with zucchini puree instead of finely chopped pieces. Either way, I don't think it had an effect on the end result.

I did, however, make one mistake in the whole process. Two, if you think about it, but I caught one at the last second. I almost forgot to put the cocoa in the mix. It wasn't until I was combining the dry and wet ingredients and asking myself why everything looked so much lighter than the picture that it dawned on me. I caught that one but I didn't remember to grease the loaf pans until they were already in the oven. I need a sign or something.

I think everything went pretty well. Two beautiful loaves came out of the oven after 43 minutes that then proceeded to deflate a little while they cooled. I used a glass pan for one and a metal one for the other since my two metal pans are different dimensions. The glass pan let go of its loaf nice and easily but the metal pan was a little more belligerent. Karl had to bang it a few times to get it out. Only a little bit of the bottom was left in the pan and that scooped out nicely with a flipper.

It tasted nice but was a little gooey in the middle. I'm going to assume that's because the glass pan loaf was not the loaf I toothpick tested. It was also still warm and went well with a glass of milk.

It's funny how my definition of successful baking involves so many mix ups and small errors. As long as it tastes good, I guess. That's probably why I enjoy baking more than, say, painting my bathroom. I'm much more forgiving about the presentation of things that are going in my belly. Delicious. I'm excited for lunch to eat some chocolate zucchini loaf. Just kidding, I'm excited for my breakfast bar to wear off enough to justify it.

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