Ah September, the most bountiful month of the year, you are my favorite one of all.
I literally can’t even think of going into my neighborhood grocery or taking a stroll though the local farmers market without being stopped in my tracks by the fruits of summer’s labor. And I mean literally stopped because there’s no way I’m going to pass up samples of fresh local peaches and perfectly ripe, juicy watermelon. It makes enduring August’s inevitable round of late summer heat waves totally bearable.
Of course you know fruit isn’t the only seasonal bounty out there come harvest time. How dare we even think of leaving out the veggies in our seasonal haul. And if you’re a home gardener, you’re very likely up to your earlobes in everyone’s favorite grow at home varietal: the mighty zucchini.
One of the most obvious recipes that puts zucchini to work is everyone’s favorite. Zucchini bread. And as will happen with classics like this, everyone has their favorite. I did too. Until I tried this one, and now I am not ashamed to say, I’ve totally jumped ship. Sorry mom, your recipe is no longer the favorite child. (Even though I know I still am.)
I can’t take credit for this recipe because a far more talented baker created it well before blogs were even a twinkle in the world wide web’s eye. This recipe comes from another blogger who participates in the Eat Seasonal round of blog posts we’ve been posting monthly for over the past two or more years.
Before blogging (thank you www.com) Letty of Letty’s Kitchen was the Executive Pastry Chef at Deer Valley Resort for more than 30 years. If you’ve yet to visit Deer Valley, you are missing out on some of the most amazing dessert you’ll ever taste. And most of those are desserts Letty created or had a hand in (and a spoon, and a whisk and probably a whole lot of finger that she licked) and were published in the cookbook The Chocolate Snowball: and Other Fabulous Pastries from Deer Valley Bakery featuring some of Letty’s and Deer Valley’s signature sweet eats.
I’ve been a huge fan of Letty’s skills for years and so of course I had to buy her cookbook, and I haven’t stopped baking from it since the day Amazon dropped it on my doorstep. Because these recipes were created for a ski resort, each one has high altitude adaptations for home cooks like me.
This version tastes like a bakery version of zucchini bread, because, well, it’s the recipe of a well trained baker. What I love about this zucchini bread, besides the double dose of chocolate, is the texture of its crumb. Zucchini bread recipes can too often call for too much oil, only to create a slithery, oily mess of a slice of quick bread. In this recipe, less oil is used and cream cheese is added in, to give the bread it’s rich flavor and tender crumb.
The chocolate flavor is delivered in two ways: cocoa powder and chocolate chips. Don’t be tempted to use milk chocolate chips over semi-sweet chocolate chips in this recipe or you’ll miss out on the more pronounced chocolate flavor. I used chocolate chunks in my version for an even bolder chocolate power bite.
Letty suggests using almonds in her version of this recipe. I opted for pecans, but you could use walnuts, macadamia nuts or even pistachios, too. I also upped the amount of zucchini for more seasonal squash flavor. It’s not gonna be fresh from the garden for long, so I’m doubling down on my seasonal bets now for a recipe that is totally #winning.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 1½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 vanilla bean
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- **For high altitude baking, decrease the sugar by 2 tablespoons and reduce the baking powder and baking soda to ¾ teaspoon each.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9½ X 5¼-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time and blend, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as you go. Mix in the canola oil and the vanilla.
- In another bowl or on a piece of parchment paper, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the cream cheese mixture and blend well. Mix in the zucchini, pecans and chocolate morsels and spread into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until the edges of the bread begin to pull away from the edges of the pan. Cool for 30 minutes and then remove from the pan.
As we have for the past few seasons, Becky of The Vintage Mixer has posted her list of what’s in season to eat now and from that list, has amassed a group of us who are posting #eatseasonal recipes today. Some are some are sweet, some are savory and they’re all in season now. They’re all good and they’re all seasonal and are listed below.
Please hop over to their sites, say hi and enjoy their seasonal inspiration.
Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Carrots and Radishes from The Vintage Mixer
Pear and Blackberry Almond Cake from Floating Kitchen
Coconut Curry Cauliflower Rice Bowls from Kitchen Confidante
Harvest Tortilla Soup from Simple Bites
Ratatouille Lasagna from Flavor the Moments
Melon and Raspberry Soda Float from Letty’s Kitchen
Homemade Pumpkin Pasta from Bless This Mess
Peach Muffins with Pecan Streusel from Café Johnsonia
Pear and Fig Tarts with Goat Cheese and Honey from Foodie for Family
Marinated Zucchini with Red Peppers and Garlic from Project Domestication
Thanks everyone for checking out this month’s seasonal eats. I hope they inspire you to get into the kitchen and make something good.
As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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