Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I implemented “Operation Start Packing” this weekend, and boy oh boy, are my legs sore from all the trips up and down the stairs. Great exercise, yes, and I even wore the dogs out because they kept following me, wondering what I was doing and why the house was being torn apart. Mostly though, they just wanted to play with the bubble wrap.

Wait, that was Sabrina……

But I digress.. the packing process started out innocently enough – taking down pictures, boxing up infrequently used appliances, pot, pans, stemware, etc….

And I somehow ended up packing all my baking pans without realizing it.

I may have to resort to buying a few disposable pans to hold me over for the next few weeks…….

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread – adapted from Food52

  • 2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup bittersweet dark chocolate (at least 70%), chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted ( I used coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 350° F. Grease an 8″ loaf pan and set it aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir in the dark chocolate.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth, then stir in the zucchini. Fold the dry ingredients until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake, rotating at least once half way through baking, until a skewer inserted into the bread comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.

Let cool in the loaf pan for 15 to 20 minutes before inverting out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

musicalnote  The times, they are a-changin’….. musicalnote    …. which means two things:

  1. I’m getting older.
  2. And so are the posse.

Fortunately, “ability to adapt” is my middle name. No, of course it really isn’t, but that would be funny, wouldn’t it? Yes ……. and awkward. 

Anyhoo, I am finally feeling like myself again, now that the semi-migraine I’ve had for two days is gone. Thank god. I woke up with it on Tuesday, and despite multiple doses of Alleve, coffee, and lots of water, I just couldn’t shake it. No matter though, because it’s his-tor-y.

And with that, I give you another piece of good news – Sabrina is officially an employed member of society! Woo-hoo! Technically, her first day was last week (for training and orientation), and yesterday was her first “full day” to actually work. We had to go to the mall the other day to pick up work attire for her, since cut off shorts and Converse high tops were definitely not part of the dress code. Much to her chagrin…. 

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this story – since work, getting older, and dress codes don’t seem to have a point or a common theme. But they do. Since J has been out of town for the past three weeks – and even before that, honestly – I have noticed a huge shift in the dinnertime ritual. The posse have been enjoying their social lives and the last bits of summer, so getting everyone to the table at the same time has been – challenging. There have been multiple evenings where I cook dinner, and everyone eats at different times.


Which isn’t bad, of course, it just requires adapting. And keeping up with changin’ times …

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread – adapted from Starbucks

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Cocoa Spice Mixture: 

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp dutch processed cocoa
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease two 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pans and set aside.

Beat together the butter, oil and sugar with an electric mixer until light and creamy, around 5 minutes. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to get them fully mixed in.

Sift together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla. With your mixer on a low speed, begin adding the contents of each bowl to the butter mixture, alternating between the two until your mixture is fully blended, but not overly whipped. Then split your batter between the two pans. Smooth the tops. Sprinkle the cocoa spice mixture evenly over the top of each pan. Bake until a tester comes clean from the center, about 45 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, ginger and cloves.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bread

I have been sitting here staring at the screen for the past 20 minutes, wondering where to start. The last two months have been a total and complete blur, and today is the first day I haven’t had hit the ground running with a to-do list a mile long.

** deep breath **

In other breaking news, it’s also the first day without any rain in the forecast. We’ve certainly had our share of water-logged days lately – in the month of May alone we had over 18 inches of rain, and so far this month, we’ve had over 6 inches. That’s a lot of days with soggy dogs and paw-print covered floors……

Side note: Alexander could have used his new canoe in the street the other day, as there was so much water in such a short amount of time – it was a real-time lesson for them at how quickly people and cars can get swept away in rushing water…

Edit: It is now pouring….. and has been for quite some time, apparently – judging from the amount of water pooled in the front of the house…..

Today will be a good day to stay inside and bake. Like I ever need a reason to do that…..


Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bread – adapted from Bake or Break

I made a cinnamon/cocoa powder/brown sugar filling and topping for the bread – even though the original recipe didn’t call for it. I guess my creativity was in high gear that day….

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1  1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (I think next time I’ll use oil – to see if it lightens the texture a bit)

    Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9″x 5″ loaf pan with cooking spray.

    In a large bowl, mix flour, oats, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Stir in chocolate chips.

    In a separate bowl, beat together the buttermilk, eggs, and butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined. Batter will be lumpy.

    Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Banana Bread

It’s a total cliche to eat chocolate for breakfast on this day, and yes, I am a victim of it.


I mean seriously, do I ever need an excuse to eat chocolate? I will tell you though, that I eschewed the standard dinner menu of steak, lobster and chocolate souffle-lava cake-something-or-other that is so popular for this special day.

I’ve been told/and heard through various sources that dinner reservations are oh-so-popular today too, and let’s just say that those were never even in the cards. Ever.

Tonight, we are having The Homesick Texan’s Pollo Asado, and for dessert, Tiramisu. Once again, I am crossing cultures and mixing cuisines.


Because I can.

Oh, about this banana bread? Decadent and delectable.

And those words, my friends, ARE total cliches :)

Chocolate Banana Bread – adapted from Dorie Greenspan

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray and set aside.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, beat together the oil, sugars, eggs, bananas, and buttermilk. Add the flour mixture and the chocolate chips, mixing only until they are incorporated. Scrape the batter into the pan.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester from the center comes almost clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding. Invert and cool to room temp right side up.


Old Fashioned Date Nut Bread

So I have a plan….. not an evil plan, mind you, just a plan.

Over the past few days, I have been toying with the idea of making a family cookbook with all of our favorite recipes, and giving copies to the posse when they leave home.  Which, given the mental state Sabrina has been in lately, I hope will be soon.

I’m kidding, I’m kidding – call off the firing squad please….

Seriously though, she has been so moody, ultra sarcastic, and the constant complaining about every.little.thing is starting to wear me down. Right about now, I can hear my mother saying, “Patience and strength, my dear, for you still have to get through Alexander’s mid-teen years….”

Oh lord. 


Anyway, I thought it would be kind of neat and very special to have an actual printed book of our family faves (complete with good pictures!), because even though the information is readily available on the blog, there’s nothing like the feel of a real book.

And besides, maybe it would inspire the kids to participate a little more in the kitchen. One can only hope……

Old Fashioned Date Nut Bread – adapted from King Arthur Flour

This bread is an absolute dead ringer for the date/nut bread of my youth. I can’t wait for Mom and Dad to try it when they come for a visit.

  • 2 cups chopped dates
  • 4 tbs. softened butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs. brandy
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

     Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. Place the dates, butter, baking soda, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Pour the hot coffee into the bowl, stirring to combine. Allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes.

    Add the egg, vanilla, brandy, baking powder, and flour, beating gently until smooth. Stir in the pecans. Pour the batter into the pan, gently tapping the pan on the counter to settle the batter.

    Bake the bread for 45 to 55 minutes, tenting the loaf gently with foil after 30 minutes, to prevent over-browning. Remove the bread from the oven; a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. After 10 minutes, gently turn the bread out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap airtight, and store at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage

Award Winning Zucchini Bread

First things first: I did not win an award for this bread.


However, I did win an award for being the biggest idiot on the planet this morning. I am the proud owner of 5 stitches in my left hand from being careless with our brand new knives. I was slicing a roll for Alexander’s lunch, and instead of putting the roll on the counter, I held it in my hand. Just as I was saying to myself, “This probably isn’t a good idea”, I felt the knife go right through my ring finger. I immediately pulled off my engagement ring, took a close look, and knew where I’d be spending the morning.

At the brand new ER down the road. 

Can’t wait to see the bill for this little adventure.

Award Winning Zucchini Bread – adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large zucchini, grated
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Handful oatmeal, for sprinkling on the top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×5 (or 8×4) loaf pan with nonstick spray. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, zucchini, and vanilla until evenly combined. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined. Avoid overmixing.Spread batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with oatmeal and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing.

Banana Pecan Bread

My father thinks knows is completely sure I’ve lost my mind.

Just so we are clear, this isn’t the first time he’s had that thought. And it won’t be the last, I assure you. 

Here’s the deal: I set a goal for myself last month to get back into my fitness groove – which means a lot of walking and riding. And get this – since October 23, I’ve ridden 167 miles and walked 64.8 miles.

Wow – that’s more than I thought. No wonder my shoes are so worn….

Anyway, I received a text from Dad yesterday that said, “Are you training for a marathon?”


Nope – just enjoying the side benefits to all that activity – which means I have a slice of this bread smothered in peanut butter every morning after my workout. Plus, I have more energy and feel more clear headed, as I do my best thinking while exercising.

I’ve had a lot to think about lately…… like the fact that Christmas is around the corner. 

Commence online shopping!

Banana Pecan Bread – adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

This recipe is touted as “the best” banana bread. And while I’m not qualified to say whether it is or isn’t, I will say it is very good – it has a really nice texture and isn’t overly sweet.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 2 cups mashed bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.Using a hand-held or stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed, about 3 minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the yogurt, mashed bananas and vanilla on medium speed for 1 minute. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon together until combined. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients and pecans into the wet ingredients.Do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 60-65 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf will come out clean when the bread is done. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.