Hello from the HillTop!
Personally when I think of spring, I think of planning for my garden and prepping for planting. Now that we have chickens, I’m planning on new chicks to add to our flock for the spring. Possibly even planning for other animal additions…I’m starting to ponder sheep…but that’s a different story.
One thing that should be crossing our minds is using up the stores from last year’s crop for this year so not to waste it. Last year was the first real garden we had in some time. But truly our crop was great and we had no only enough to feed ourselves, but to store for the fall and winter, and were still able to give a fair amount away.
One crop that we had a ton of, and I think everyone does, is zucchini. We cooked plenty on the grill, the chickens got lots of treats, I gave a bunch a way, and I baked as much as I could. The plants (all two of them) still produced more than enough.
So, I researched and found out how to freeze it. I froze approximately 15 bags with varying cup quantities of 2-3 cups (based on some favorite recipes). The only sad thing is, it doesn’t thaw at the same consistency, so I encourage you to bake with it.
I found a wonderful way on Pinterest how to shred, drain and freeze zucchini. So that is what I did last year. It came in handy. Not only did I bake a lot for my family over the holidays, I baked a mini loaf of various zucchini breads this Christmas for my office (about 30 loaves in all).
By far, the favored loaf was a “Thin Mint” style or Chocolate Mint Zucchini Bread. This was one that I had altered over time to suit what I had. Taking a basic zucchini bread, but catering to my cupboard.
If you are a huge mint fan like I am, check it out!
Thin Mint Zucchini Bread
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa Powder
- 1 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups shredded zucchini drained and gently squeezed
- Occasionally I will add a bit more than 2 cups if using frozen zucchini. Up to a 1/2 cup more. It allows for a moister bread, especially because chocolate can dry out easily.
- If you are using freshly shredded zucchini, you do not need to squeeze the zucchini.
- 1 bag Winter Mint chips
- These items are truly hard to find. I searched three or four local stores. And if it wasn’t for a helpful clerk that helped me search the holiday end caps, I would not have found them this past year. When I find them, I buy a dozen bags at a time to keep them on hand throughout the year.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8″ loaf pan.
***If using a stone pan, I recommend heavily spraying it. Mine ALWAYS sticks.***
In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, oil, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla and blend thoroughly.
Add the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and flour, mixing until combined.
Add in zucchini. Although most recipes request zucchini being added by hand mixing, I still use my mixer for this step. Just being honest. The softer zucchini seems to allow for this.
Lastly, add in the mint chocolate chips and mix in with spoon. Pour the batter into the sprayed pan.
Bake the bread for 55 to 65 minutes, until the loaf tests done (until a toothpick comes out clean).
***Mini loaves only take 35 minutes to bake.***
Remove the bread from the oven, and let it cool for 20 minutes before turning it out. I’ve baked this and let it cool overnight, covered in foil.
This recipe makes (1) 8″ loaf or (4) mini loaves.
This is one of my favorite party contributions. It’s such a refreshing item that offers a new twist on an old favorite. Be sure to save some of your zucchini this year and give it a try. I hope you enjoy this truly sweet treat!