An alarming crunching sound interrupted our late-night dinner preparations. We ran to the window, half expecting to see ruby red slippers pinned under a house. Instead, we discovered a battered and bruised car thrown into reverse. It began to zig and zag away from the parked car it had just launched a good six feet through impact. As if performing the role of a movie extra, the Urban Farmer exclaimed “He’s trying to get away!” and pointed to the ensuing action. The dog barked and jumped in a confused mix of excitement and alarm.
The neighbors flocked to the street immediately, like ripples in a puddle pierced by a droplet of rain. One brave soul waved his arms at the drunk driver, beseeching him to stop. Whether it was the presence of witnesses or the absence of all motor skills, the man swerved onto the sidewalk, hit a planter and a tree, and the getaway was over. Amidst a sea of obscenities and cigarette smoke, the neighbors managed to sequester the vapid and staggering man until the police arrived. Like the nosy neighbor I am, I watched the event unfurl from my third-floor window, my BLT growing colder as I pieced together the incoming evidence.
These neighbors of mine are far from perfect. A lot of them are loud. One is far too nosy and negative for her own good. They yell. They fight. They publicly air more grievances and dysfunction than I would ever care to display. However, I have neighbors who save treats for my dog, look out for our cat, wave to me from their cars, greet me at the local coffee spot and fill me with an unexpected sense of home and comfort. When it comes down to being neighbors, to defending another member of the block and looking out for the safety of the street, I prefer these folks to the quiet types who remain hidden behind closed doors.
This sentiment had been there, had been growing in me for quite some time, but it wasn’t until the accident that I began to appreciate what had been under my nose. Much like my neighbors, this chocolate bread is more than meets the eye. The lurking zucchini is easy to miss until someone or something points out the wholesome goodness waiting to surprise you.
‘Tis the time of year when zucchinis bombard us, so make this loaf and maybe make some to share with your neighbors too.
Double Chocolate Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread
yield: 2 loaves
3 cups shredded zucchini (locally grown/organic)
2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
1 cups natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch process)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs (organic/cage-free)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup organic raw cane sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips (Guittard’s Extra Dark Chips)
Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 9×5 loaf pans with parchment. Set aside.
Place the shredded zucchini on a couple paper towels to absorb some (but not all) moisture. Press a paper towel on top as well. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, yogurt, sugar, and vanilla together until completely combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and lightly whisk until combined.
Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the zucchini.
Pour/spoon batter into prepared baking pan. Top with dark chocolate chips.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool completely. Store leftover bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Make ahead tip: Bread freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.