Everyday baking: the not-so-fancy stuff

Real talk: I don’t have time to make complicated recipes every time I bake. Most of the time I bake things for friends or for a quick dessert, preferably things that can be made in one pan (because who really has time to do all of those dishes?). Today, I have two recipes for you that fall into the category of make-ahead, easy, and tasty: double chocolate zucchini bread from the kitchn and a version of the thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies from Take a Megabite.

I ended up giving away most of the zucchini bread, but if you wrap slices in plastic wrap and freeze them in freezer safe bags, they make a delicious treat (might I recommend reheating them in the microwave and serving with ice cream over them? Because I definitely ate that for dessert last night). I froze the cookie dough in balls on a plate and then put the balls of dough in a bag in the freezer. To bake, simply preheat the oven and slightly press the balls down with the bottom of a glass. They will come out nice and chewy, since they started from frozen dough! These also taste great with ice cream, by the way.

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On the topic of being real, welcome to my countertop space (because there are dishes drying on the only other square foot of counter space I have).
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Zucchini, chocolate chips, vanilla, baking powder, on a cutting board on top of a frying pan on top of the stove. Classy.
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That’s more like it. Chocolate makes everything better.
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The finished product. Slicing is always a dangerous game because you KNOW a lot of it just ends up getting eaten. “Oh, that tiny piece fell off? Better eat it now because zucchini bread.”

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I made this bread to bring to a friend, mostly because I couldn’t justify making Smitten Kitchen’s double chocolate banana bread one more time (I make it at least once a month), and also because I have never really made zucchini bread before. I was very pleased with the result: the zucchini practically melts into the cake, making a fluffy, chocolatey cake that you can easily justify eating multiple slices of because it’s healthy, right? Totally. Although if you want a fudgier chocolate bread I would go in the direction of the banana bread linked to above.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 2 C coarsely grated zucchini, skin and all
  • 1 1/3 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Butter a loaf pan and dust with cocoa powder (a fun trick for chocolate desserts–this avoids the white dusting of flour that would otherwise occur if you buttered and floured the pan).

Preheat oven to 350˚

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time until combined. Stir in cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt, and baking powder, then fold in the zucchini. Add flour and chocolate chips, stirring until just incorporated.

Spoon batter into the pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before turning out from the pan. Enjoy!

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Toasting almonds on the stove! Smells yummy.
Browned butter with all of its browned bits.
Browned butter with all of its browned bits.
Ingredients line-up.
Ingredients line-up.
Throw it all together and MIX.
Throw it all together and MIX.
Hello, cookie dough.
Hello, cookie dough.
When you give a mouse a cookie, he's probably going to ask for some ice cream and for you to throw the cookie in the microwave for like 15 seconds until it gets nice and soft.
When you give a mouse a cookie, he’s probably going to ask for some ice cream and for you to throw the cookie in the microwave for like 15 seconds until it gets nice and soft.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 12 T unsalted butter
  • 1 C packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 C plus 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 9 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C almonds, toasted (in the oven at 350˚ for 10 minutes or in a pan until brown and fragrant) and chopped

Preheat the oven to 325˚ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often until the butter foams and browns, being careful not to burn it. This should take about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool a bit.

In a stand mixer, beat both sugars and the butter until combined. Add egg, yolk, and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, beating until combined. On low speed, mix in the almonds and chocolate chips.

Make 2T balls of dough, and place on baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, or until set around the edges. Enjoy warm with ice cream, or just in dough form, or cold, or any way because cookies are great.

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