Tag Archives: bread

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

This is a great treat to wake up to or snack on at lunch.  It can get your kids and husbands to eat their vegetables without even knowing it.  I decided to make this when my boss gave us all club sized zucchini’s from her garden.  I didn’t even use half of the zucchini with two batches of this bread.  That’s some healthy soil right there.image

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 cup Diet Coke
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded zucchini (not packed)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.

In a bowl, mix together your dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chips.  The whole wheat flour is an acquired taste, so if you prefer, use white. I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to accentuate the mini bread loaves I ended up with.image

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla extract, butter, Diet Coke, milk and zucchini.  The recipe I found on skinnytaste.com reccommended apple sauce, which would make this bread much sweeter and super moist, but we didn’t have any in the cabinet or fridge.  I took Caroline’s earlier suggestion of Diet Coke in cake batter in place of the wet ingredients.  I minimized the wet ingredients, but added milk for a thicker, heartier dough.  You can also grate the zucchini directly into the dry ingredients bowl, as it will sit directly on top instead of sinking to the bottom of the wet ingredient bowl so you can see how much you have grated.  I used a simple hand cheese grater, which was perfect for the huge size of the zucchini.
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Combine your wet ingredient bowl into the dry ingredient bowl and stir until just mixed.  You will see the beautiful green of the zucchini radiating against the dark chocolate chips.  Scrumptious.

Crisco/butter either a 9″ x 5″  bread loaf pan or for my second batch I used 4 mini aluminum loaf pans for an individual touch I could give away at work.  These come with cute plastic covers, but will need a lot of attention with the Crisco/butter in each crease. 
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Pour the batter in your pan.

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Bake for 50-60 minutes at 325 degrees Farenheit. image
If you are using the mini pans, cook for approximately 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
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The zucchini adds a nice texture to the bread, but the taste really comes from the chocolate chips, wheat flour and brown sugar.  I personally didn’t notice a difference in taste when using Diet Coke in place of the “wet ingredients” but in the future will use apple sauce for bread as it will add more moisture.  The Diet Coke would be great in a box cake mix in place of the eggs, oil and water. The wheat flour adds a healthy flavor and slight grain texture that may or may not put you off, so as mentioned, white flour will suffice.   Like my boss did, your husband and kids may ask you if there is really zucchini in the bread.

Add a little butter to your warm slice of bread for moisture, or eat directly from the pan. Either way this chocolatey, thick and flavorful bread is quite appetizing.

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Filed under Breakfast, Food

Croque-Monsieur Bites

As a non-meat eater, I didn’t want to poison anyone with raw meat at Eileen’s bridal shower, not personally knowing how to cook it, so I decided on a recipe in which I could buy meat from the deli to satisfy everyone.  I first came across this recipe on Omaha Beach in France before travelling to Normandy American Cemetary and Memorial, of course getting the Croque Madame with egg instead of the deli meat. It was an immediate melt-in-your-mouth must-try-again encounter, in which I found on Epicurious and spiced it up a bit to have a more appetizer appeal.

To make this you should purchase:

  • 1 stick salted butter, softened
  • 8 slices pain de mie or firm white bread, I purchased Challah bread
  • 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, 16 thin slices with rind removed
  • 8 (1-ounce) slices smoked ham

I sliced my cheese rather thick because the deli did not have any pre-sliced Gruyère cheese.  Sharp white cheddar cheese will also work if you are looking to save yourself from slicing your hand off.    For the appetizer version of these, I cut the Challah pre-sliced pieces in half and brushed on a decent helping of melted butter. I also left off the Dijon mustard, as this recipe didn’t call for any, but it is in the usual Croque Monsieur and would have added  a nice tang to each bite.  Slab on a teaspoon or so of the Dijon mustard atop the butter if you are using it.  image

Next, take your pre-cut slices of Gruyère cheese (or sharp white cheddar), thick or thin depending on your desire, and place it directly onto the buttered and mustarded bread.  Take a piece of ham for each slice and fold in half to fit properly (we ran out of ham so had to take only a half a piece but if you are using as much cheese as I did, the more ham the better).  Throw in a preheated broiler or toaster oven for 5 min or until the cheese browns and forms a nice crunchy crust. Enjoy.

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A typical Croques Monsier is a sandwich, full slices of bread, and topped with another slice of bread instead of the open-faced bites that I made.  You should douse the top layer of bread in butter to keep it from burning and to get a nice crunchy, buttery texture.  Halfway through, flip the sandwich and place a slice of cheese on top of each sandwich, letting it melt down the edges like a bowl of french onion soup.

For the vegetarian twist on this sandwich, I use the Croque Madame recipe, which calls for all the same ingredients (including the ham but you can leave this off) but you also place a fried egg (however you like to cook them) inside the sandwich and when the sandwich is finished cooking drizzle a Béchamel sauce on top before serving.  Delicious.

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Filed under Appetizers, Food, Lunch/Dinner

Bakery Crescent

A co-worker knows of this scrum-deli-iscous hole-in-the-wall place and brought this bread in for everyone to try. We’ve all been hooked ever since. This place, Bakery Crescent, is located at 270 E Algonquin in Arlington Heights. It is a little Japanese Bakery with odd hours that are worth the occasional dip out of work at lunch to pick up a fresh, plump, carb relish.

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This particular bread has fluffed up, easily torn, circular pieces to just grab and go.  They are topped with an amazing sugar-almond topping that you hope to get with each bite.  Inside you will find a cream center. Not sweet like a Twinkie, but just the right amount of sweet, light, rather fattening wallop allowing some moistness to the bread.  It isn’t overpowering which makes it such a find.  I ate half the loaf on my way home the first time trying it.

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Filed under Breakfast, Food, Snacks