I have always had a love for baking.
Back in high school, I can recall daydreaming about muffins, my favorite treat at the time, regularly, anticipating the end of the day so I could go home and transform my visions into reality. The kitchen, to me, was like a blank canvas that I could decorate with whatever images and aromas I desired. It was a place that I could let go of the day, be myself and get in touch with my creative side- the part of me that I loved but rarely expressed to others.
I certainly cannot say that all of my after-school baking experiments were a success. I must have at least fifty old recipe cards of muffin experiments alone, and even that stack has been refined from the original. What I can say is that those stacks would not exist without the constant encouragement and feedback I received (and still receive) from my mom. She doesn’t have the dietary restrictions that I have, nor does she fully understand my vegetarianism, but she has always been thrilled in the sincerest of ways to try any and every new creation, or dietary suggestion (gluten-free, etc.), that I have made. I cannot even count the times she has responded to a new recipe with wide eyes and the statement “this is the best ever,” or the attempts she has made at convincing me that I possess talents that I never believed I had. I must say she is a stubborn recipe tester, as she NEVER has and probably never will wait until my baked goods are properly cooled to try them and give me a somewhat-accurate rating of the product. However, I can’t blame her. There is nothing better than warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven baked goods (especially when melty chocolate is involved)!
This particular recipe is my new whole-grain, gluten-free and vegan variation of some of my older muffin and quick bread recipes. It employs a deliciously sweet flavor from the maple syrup, and just enough richness from the added chocolate. The greatest suggestion I have for this particular quick bread is to squeeze some of the excess moisture out of the shredded zucchini with paper towels! I experimented with skipping this step in the loaf I made this week, and the center came out slightly gummy and sunken as a result of the excess moisture content. HOWEVER, the taste is still pretty amazing, and I have Melanie to back me up on that!
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend*
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax mixed with 6 tbsp water)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups finely shredded organic zucchini**
- 1/2 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips, plus more for melting to drizzle on top
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x5 -inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
- Mix together ground flax and water in a small bowl and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes to form a gel.
- Beat together coconut oil, maple syrup, flax eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Pour mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir until well-combined. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, and bake for about 1 hour, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan, then remove loaf to cool on a wire rack. Melt some dark chocolate and drizzle on top of the loaf for some extra chocolatey goodness!
- *I used 1 cup of gf oat flour, 1/4 cup buckwheat flour, and 1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch.
- **Be sure to pat the excess moisture out of zucchini paper towels. Too much moisture here yields a gummy, but still very tasty product!
Who inspires you?