Chocolate and zucchini are an inspired combo in Judy's bread
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 09:53
TONTOGANY - Judy Robinson was torn between two of her favorite dishes, when it came time to decide which recipe to share for the Cook's Corner.
|Judy Robinson with her chocolate zucchini bread. (Photos: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
There was her sweet onion casserole, an old favorite of their family's.
Ah, but what about her chocolate zucchini bread?
Robinson's good friend Janice Kaiser, herself the subject of a Cook's Corner for her strawberry-pretzel salad earlier this year, voted for the latter.
"She has a recipe for chocolate zucchini bread that is wonderful. I make this all the time when zucchini is ready in my garden," Kaiser said.
"It makes two loaves, and freezes very well."
So Robinson mixed up a batch of the bread and sent one loaf to the Sentinel-Tribune for taste-testing.
The "reviews" were unanimously favorable. By that I mean, there was nothing left of the loaf but crumbs by lunchtime.
"It's good with your coffee for breakfast," Kaiser noted.
Of course, it's also a heck of a good dessert. Robinson said that's how she usually serves it at home.
"My granddaughters were here over the weekend - ages 6 and 8 - and they gobbled it up."
No need to tell the young ones zucchini is an ingredient. There isn't any way you can taste it in the flavor. The zucchini simply makes for a nice, moist bread.
Robinson said she's had the recipe for chocolate zucchini bread for 10 years or more.
"I got it out of Taste of Home magazine," a source she loves because invariably, the recipes are "so nice. You can go right to your cupboard and get everything you need." None of the ingredients are exotic or hard to find.
Robinson describes herself as the kind of cook who doesn't mind modifying a recipe.
"As they say, a recipe is just a guide. If I don't have something I try to substitute, or leave it out."
The chocolate zucchini bread recipe calls for vegetable oil, "but I've been using canola oil. I can't tell the difference."
In addition, "I did not peel the zucchini. I have a Salad Shooter and I run it through that."
For best results, she limits herself to using a smaller zucchini.
While it's getting late in the season, "right now you can get your zucchini from your garden, or from a farmer's market."
Robinson also freezes zucchini so she can bake up a few batches of the chocolate bread this fall and winter.
"I put it in the freezer shredded." She pre-measures and packs the exact two-cup amount before freezing, because the volume shrinks after it's frozen.
If you also like the idea of freezing your zucchini, she offers one very important caveat.
"When you thaw the zucchini, do not drain the liquid off of it. I did it one time and it makes (the bread) dry."
Both Robinson and Kaiser are members of the Otsego area Beta Sigma Phi sorority chapter, although Robinson said she hasn't yet served chocolate zucchini bread to that group. "Usually we bring pies or something like that."
She has made the zucchini bread for coffee hour at church, Tontogany Presbyterian, and of course for family members.
"It freezes really well. It's just nice to have one in there in case you need it."
Robinson has a preferred method of thawing the loaf. "I thaw it in the Saran wrap and the bag, and I put it on a baking rack. That way things don't get as soggy."
Local folks who know Robinson and her husband John as Otsego graduates might be surprised to learn Robinson was actually born in Georgia even though both her parents were Haskins natives.
"My dad was in the service there. Then we moved back here when I was six months old."
From 1964 until 1968 Robinson worked in the admissions office at Bowling Green State University, after which she took a job at the new ACT office in downtown Bowling Green.
She stayed home to raise their two children, then began a 23-year span working for her brothers at Kellermeier Plumbing and Heating in Haskins, first as bookkeeper and later "Jack of all trades."
Next up for the Robinsons is getting ready for their daughter's wedding this November.
While nobody has suggested a chocolate zucchini wedding cake, this is such a good recipe that maybe their guests should get together and draft it on their RSVP cards.
Chocolate zucchini bread
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla, Stir in zucchini. Combine dry ingredients; add to zucchini mixture and mix well.
Pour into two greased 8-by-4-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until bread tests done.
Yield: Two loaves.