With fall around the corner, I’m trying my best to savor the last few weeks of summer. Though I’ll eventually look forward to apples, squash, and warm, hearty stews, I’ll need a few summer-to-fall meals to help ease me in—meals with a sweet so long! from my favorite summer produce, and a warm, cozy hug from the deep fall flavors ahead.
For my first meal, I’m going to need a little chocolate. But not just any chocolate: Taza chocolate. Fruity and spicy chocolate, that—with a little help from some sweet summer zucchini—will give me just the nudge I need to get me thinking about fall.
After hearing that Taza will be attending the upcoming Boston Local Food Festival, I signed up for a factory tour, and ate more chocolate than I’d care to mention. There were salted almond bars, cinnamon chocolate discs, and chocolate covered cacao nibs. But the flavor that really caught my attention was the spicy Guajillo Chili chocolate. Fascinated by the sensation of heat that warmed the back of my throat, I tasted it again and again. And to be sure I didn’t forget its heat—or its flavor—I grabbed a disc for the road. I was dizzy from the rush of this gritty, spicy chocolate.
Back at home base, I came to realize that this hefty chocolate wasn’t much like candy, at all. It was food. And with a beautiful pile of zucchini in my vegetable drawer—and the notion that fresh, summer flavors will soon become warm, slow-cooked flavors—I decided it was time to fold this beautiful stone ground chocolate into a rich, spicy loaf of zucchini bread.
Before we get to the recipe, I should tell you that zucchini bread tastes nothing like zucchini at all. If you like carrot cake, you’ll like this zucchini bread. It’s tender and hearty with a spicy mix of cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and two kinds of chocolate to keep your palette guessing. The resulting flavors are both sweet and spicy. And though they won’t bring back summer, they will warm your belly with a rich and fiery, summer-to-fall glow!
This zucchini bread is warm and spicy with a moist and tender crumb. Enjoy it as is, or top it with soft cream cheese and coarsely chopped Taza Coffee chocolate.
1 lb zucchini (approx. 2 medium)
1 package (approx. 1/2 cup) Taza Cacao Puro chocolate, coarsely chopped into large chunks
1 package (approx. 1/2 cup) Taza Guajillo Chili chocolate, coarsely chopped into large chunks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
butter, for greasing
1/2 package (approx. 1/4 cup) Taza Coffee chocolate, coarsely chopped, for serving
softened cream cheese, for serving
Preheat oven to 350°.
Grease the bottom and sides of a loaf pan with butter. Set aside.
Coarsely grate the zucchini using the box grater. Collect the grated zucchini into the cheesecloth, gather up the sides, and twist to create a bundle. Place the bundle into a small bowl, and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and nutmeg in a large bowl. Fold in the large chocolate chunks.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, and combine them with the oil, vanilla extract and sugars.
Return to your bundle of shredded zucchini, and begin to twist and squeeze the moisture from the bundle. You will end up with about 1/4 cup of bright green water from the zucchini. Untwist the zucchini bundle and fold the grated zucchini into the wet ingredients.
Using a rubber spatula, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and fold gently until just combined. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Bake on the center rack for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Remove the loaf from the oven and cool on a rack for about 30 minutes. Remove the loaf from its pan, and continue to cool completely before slicing. Serve on its own, or with cream cheese and chopped Taza Coffee chocolate.