Chocolate Zucchini Walnut Bread

I am a reluctant baker. Not quite the introduction one would like to read as they look up your recipe but I have to be honest. Give me a mystery basket of ingredients and tell me to cook something and I will confidently attack the task at hand. Give me something that requires me to bake and you will be met with blank stares and bewilderment. Okay, not completely accurate but close enough.

Every once in a while, some phantom thought will wedge itself in my brain and convince me that my fear of baking is unfounded and I should just go for it. So I do. And it turns out okay, even delicious at times. This recipe came with simple ingredients (a combination I had never tried before), a three-to-four-step process, and resulted in yumminess. I was willing to try it despite my natural instinct to stay away from baking :) If you have never tried the combination of chocolate and zucchini, you are in for a treat. If you have, you need no encouragement to whip up this baby in no time and impress your family and guests.
I used my new (to me) bread maker to make this recipe. But you can just use the oven, if you prefer. I will include both cooking times in the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2-1/2 cups shredded zucchini

BREAD MAKER INSTRUCTIONS

In a small bowl, combine walnuts and chocolate chips; add 2 Tbsp flour and toss well; set aside.

Spray bread pan and kneading blade with nonstick cooking spray

Place ingredients into the bread pan in the following order: eggs, oil, the remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, salt and allspice. Add zucchini, the the floured walnuts and chocolate chips along with any flour remaining in the bowl.

Carefully insert the bread pan into the breadmaker. Plug in the machine and press the Menu button until the Quickbread program is selected. Press Start. When the baking cycle is complete, press Stop. (how ingenious! sorry, I couldn't help myself). This takes about 1.5 hours to complete.

Using oven mitts, remove the bread pan and let the bread cool for a few minutes in the pan. Unplug your machine in the meantime. Once cooled, loosen the sides of the bread using a spatula, and let it cool on a wire rack until completely cooled.

Slice and eat.

OVEN INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease your loaf pans.

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients except the sugar. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar well to combine. Add the oil, orange zest, zucchini. Add the flour mixture. Top with the floured walnuts and chocolate chips. Mix well to combine all ingredients. Spoon evenly into bake pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let it cool for 10 minutes in the pans. Remove and place on wire racks to cool completely before you slice it.


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