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A rich chocolate bread topped with a generous sprinkle of sea salt, children and adults alike will enjoy this Chocolate Zucchini Bread, or “Chocolate Cake,” for those fearful of veggies!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Disclaimer: Thank you to #Choctoberfest Sponsors  Barleans, The PinterTest Kitchen and our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar for providing prizes for #Choctoberfest free of charge. These companies, as well as sponsors Rodelle and Davis Chocolate also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #Choctoberfest.  All opinions are my own.

Sweet things happen when families are together in the kitchen. When I pull out my sugar jar – which is currently filled to the brim with Imperial Sugar, my kiddos come running. They know that Mommy is going to be making something, and even if they won’t eat it, they’re sure going to help make it. I have memories from baking with my own mother and grandparents and I love the time I spend making those same lifelong memories with my own children. Holidays and every day.

And so, a couple of weeks ago, the sugar jar came out and little feet came running. Out came the flour, Rodelle cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. What are we making, Mommy? Wait for us, we want to help! We set up the ingredients, got each kid propped up on a stool and started measuring and stirring.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

One ingredient remained hidden from my kiddos though. Remember all of that zucchini that I had this summer? Well, some of it ended up shredded and in my freezer for baking at a later date. And one of those bags of zucchini was destined for the recipe the kiddos and I were making. They just didn’t know it.

You see, I love my usual zucchini bread recipe, but the kids won’t touch it because they can see flecks of green. With this bread, the kids can’t see the zucchini. I can call the bread “chocolate cake” and they’ll eat it with no problem. While not the healthiest out there, the little bit of zucchini in each slice is more vegetable they usually get in a day. (Side Note: Can someone please tell me when picky eaters get easier? Anyone? Lies being accepted!) For myself, I added a generous sprinkle of sea salt to the top of the bread, the perfect balance to the sweet, rich chocolate bread.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

HUGE thanks to Imperial Sugar and Rodelle for sponsoring #Choctoberfest! Be sure to scroll down to enter the GIVEAWAY, which includes a ton of sugar and a $100 gift card to Williams Sonoma both from Imperial Sugar, as well as some other goodies. Full giveaway details here.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Yield: 1 Loaf


  • cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 c. packed shredded zucchini (unpeeled)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. Dutch process cocoa powder (I used Rodelle)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more for top
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 3/4 c. packed light brown sugar (I used Imperial Sugar)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (I used Rodelle)
  • 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place shredded zucchini in a clean towel or wrap in cheese cloth. Squeeze to get out most of the water. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, stir or whisk together eggs, melted butter, canola oil, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add shredded zucchini, breaking up any large pieces. Stir in dry ingredients. When almost all of the dry ingredients are mixed in but some of the flour mixture remains on the sides and bottom, add 3/4 c. chocolate chips. Continue mixing until chocolate chips are evenly distributed and no more flour is on sides of pan.
  5. Pour into prepared loaf pan, spreading as needed with a spoon or spatula and tapping the counter with the pan a few times for dough to settle. Top with remaining 1/4 c. chocolate chips and a generous sprinkling of sea salt.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out mostly clean. The bread is moist, so it likely won't be complete clean. Don't overbake.
  7. Allow bread to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan and placing on a serving dish.
  8. Store airtight at room temperature.
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This recipe was rewritten but barely adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Chocolate Zucchini Bread on Books n' Cooks

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My Mom’s Zucchini Bread is moist and flavorful, making it a wonderful breakfast or mid-day snack.

Zucchini Bread

The year I graduated college, right before I moved out on my own, my mom gave me one of the best, most thoughtful, most frequently-used Christmas gifts ever. A set of cookbooks. Four cookbook binders, filled with all of our family recipes and interspersed with family photos. She painstakingly typed up what was probably over a hundred recipes, printed them on beautiful paper, and slide each recipe into a protective plastic sheet so that no matter how far away from home I went, I would be able to make our family classics. These cookbooks get a little fatter each year as we find new recipes we love, but they are definitely one of the best Christmas presents I have received. Ever.

When my garden started producing zucchini last month, I knew immediately that I was going to dig into those cookbooks and make one of my childhood favorites for you. Farmers Market Week with my blogger friends was the perfect excuse. If you don’t have any zucchini growing in your back yard, be sure to check your local farmers market. I’ll betcha a loaf of bread that you’ll find some beautiful zucchini there, maybe even big enough to eek out two loaves of this bread (one for now, one for the freezer? one for home, one for work? It won’t go to waste, I promise).

Zucchini Bread

One recipe note: My favorite version of this bread is with a generous cup of walnuts – I just love the slight crunch to an otherwise soft and very moist bread. Include nuts or skip them (as I did this summer, since our daycare is nut-free) or even add mini chocolate chips if you’d like – whatever your family enjoys.

Zucchini Bread

Thanks to Cynthia at Feeding Big and Christie at A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures for hosting Farmer’s Market Week this year. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to check out more recipes inspired by our local farmer’s markets from our blogging community.

Mom’s Zucchini Bread #FarmersMarketWeek

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 8 minutes

Yield: 1 Loaf


  • cooking spray
  • 2 c. shredded (not peeled) zucchini
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 - 1 c. chopped walnuts or mini chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Press shredded zucchini in a clean dishtowel to remove as much liquid as possible. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients. Add eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla into the well and stir to mix well. Fold in shredded zucchini as well as nuts or chocolate chips, if using.
  4. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool before moving to a serving plate.
  6. Bread will keep, covered tightly with plastic wrap, for about 5 days.
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#FarmersMarketWeek - A week of #FarmFresh recipes

#FarmersMarket Wednesday Recipes

Chicken and Summer Veggie Tostadas by The Redhead Baker
Peach-Almond Mousse by Red Cottage Chronicles
Easy Creamed Corn by Feeding Big
Easy Zucchini Refrigerator Pickles by Simple and Savory
Fresh Applesauce by Palatable Pastime
Fresh Raspberry Streusel Muffins by Family Around The Table
Grilled Garden Pizza by Jolene’s Recipe Journal
Italian Sausage and Summer Vegetable Sheet Pan Dinner by Cooking with Carlee
Lemon Curd by The Freshman Cook
Mom’s Zucchini Bread by Books n’ Cooks
Peaches & Cream Protein Smoothie by Tip Garden
Quick Pickles by Bear & Bug Eats
Roasted Brussels Sprouts Carbonara by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Roasted Eggplant with Tahini by Caroline’s Cooking
Spicy Summer Squash Refrigerator Pickles by Culinary Adventures with Camilla





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This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

In case you’ve forgotten, or are visiting for the first time, I want to remind you that our generous sponsors have donated some amazing prizes for #BrunchWeek readers. There are more than a few prizes to get excited about – high quality food from our sponsors, gift cards, gift sets that include marble pastry boards and slate cheese boards… Seriously good prizes. Head over, check out the details and enter to win, here.

So glad today is Hump Day, because this week has been a bit rough already. First off, I have all of these amazing #BrunchWeek recipes to remind me that instead of being in the kitchen whipping up breakfast pastries and savory eggs dishes, I’m stuck behind a computer, at a desk without a window all day long. But work has been a bit of a doozy too. I started off yesterday with great intentions of actually crossing things off my to-do list, and I accomplished not one of those things. Constant disruptions, surprises (and not the good ones) and travel between meetings meant that I actually got very little accomplished. Today is so packed that I’m not going to get much done either.

So with this start to the week, it should be no surprise that I’m already looking forward to the weekend, which is blissfully empty of any real plans. If the weather cooperates, we’ll probably go to the zoo with the kids and some good friends, but right now, I’m loving the fact that we can be bums on the couch all weekend if we want to. Maybe I’ll be able to try out one of the recipes I’ve bookmarked this week? Maybe even one of the oh-so-tempting pastry recipes from a fellow #BrunchWeek blogger.

In my house, sweet breads and pastries are an indulgence, and rarely make an appearance. It’s not that we don’t love them – we do! But we tend to show little self-restraint around these goodies. This small-batch recipe for apple cinnamon buns disappeared quicker than I would like to admit. Between the sweet apple-cinnamon sugar filling and the vanilla glaze, it was hard to stay away.

Apple Cinnamon Buns

Dough from Joy the Baker; Filling & Glaze by Books n’ Cooks

Makes 6-8 Cinnamon Buns

Ingredients for the Dough:

  • 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. Dixie Crystals granulated sugar
  • 1 packet Red Star Platinum Baking Yeast
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg yolk

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c. Dixie Crystals granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Lady Alice apple (or other favorite sweet apple), medium-dice

Ingredients for the Glaze:

Make the Dough: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, butter and sugar. Stir occasionally, until sugar has dissolved, butter has melted, and mixture is hot. Remove from heat and allow to cool, until mixture is warm (110-115F). Add yeast, stir, and let sit for 5 minute to activate. Mixture should begin to foam.

While milk mixture cools, whisk together yeast, flour and salt. Add egg yolk and milk mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon to incorporate. If dough appears too wet, add flour a little at a time. In the bowl, kneed dough a few times, scooping up any extra flour in the bowl and bringing dough together. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 minutes, while preparing filling.

Prepare the Filling: Combine sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Dice apples, if you haven’t done so already.

Assemble the Cinnamon Buns & Bake: Preheat oven to 350F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 9×12 inch rectangle. Brush with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Spread apple pieces evenly over dough.

Tightly roll dough at the longer edge into a coil. Slice into pieces 1 1/2 to 2-inches thick.

Grease a 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan with remaining 1 Tbs. softened butter. Place cinnamon buns in prepared pan, with about 1/2 and inch between them, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place (I put mine by the oven that is preheating) and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Remove plastic wrap and bake for 20 minutes, until cinnamon buns are golden brown and puffed up. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

Last Step – Glaze! In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, softened butter and vanilla extract. Add water, 1 Tbs at a time, until glaze reaches desired consistency. Mine was thick and spreadable, but melted into gooey deliciousnes when spread over still hot cinnamon buns.

Serve immediately, while still hot. Cinnamon buns can be stored in an airtight container or wrapped slightly for 24 hours, but are best when fresh.



Take a look at what the #BrunchWeek Bloggers are creating today!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
Pineapple Citrus Smoothie from It Bakes Me Happy.
Southern Spiked Mango Iced Tea from The Crumby Cupcake.

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
Cheddar Asparagus Mini Quiche from Amy’s Cooking Adventures.
Goat Cheese and Asparagus Breakfast Souffle from Palatable Pastime.

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
Apple Cheddar Chop Bread from A Day in the Life of the Farm.
Apple Cinnamon Buns from Books n’ Cooks.
Apple Lekvar Sweet Rolls from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings.
Apple Hotteok (Fried Stuffed Pancakes) from kimchi MOM.
Apricot Danishes from Sarcastic Cooking.
Braided Apple Ginger Danish from The Spiffy Cookie.
Bourbon Banana Waffles from Forking Up.
Cinnamon Sugar Apple Muffins from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen.
Easy Popovers with Honey Butter from Hardly A Goddess.
Glazed Cinnamon Buns from That Skinny Chick Can Bake.
Strawberry Rhubarb Almond Rolls from Wholistic Woman.
Ultimate Cheese Muffins from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner.

BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Breakfast Loaded Tatertot Casserole from Big Bear’s Wife.
Grilled PBJ with White Cheddar and Bacon from Nik Snacks.
Steak and Eggs Oscar Style from The Redhead Baker.

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Aloo Tiki with Apple-Tamarind Chutney from Culinary Adventures with Camilla.
Asparagus Salad from Cookaholic Wife.
Asparagus Caprese Salad from The Barbee Housewife.
Cheesy Potato Asparagus Tart from Sew You Think You Can Cook.
Garlic Roasted New Potato and Asparagus Salad from An Edible Mosaic.
White Cheddar Pimento Cheese Spread from Love and Confections.

BrunchWeek Desserts:
Chocolate Rose Truffles from Cooking with Carlee.
Coffee Almond Fudge from Family Around the Table.

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Hearty Italian meals have always been some of my favorites to both make at home and order out. I can eat pasta day and night for weeks without getting tired of it. And sometimes I do. But it’s rare that I serve or indulge in the wonderful Italian breads that so often accompany those meals. After all, a girl has to watch her figure with all of those carbs, right? 😉

But in all seriousness, I do enjoy a good Italian bread, slathered in sweet butter, dunked in herb-infused olive oil, or well toasted with a hefty dose of garlic. All of that goodness comes out when I entertain. This garlic ciabatta bread is one of my favorites to prepare, as it’s got enormous flavor and is easy to prepare. When entertaining, I make the garlic-olive oil mixture in advance, so that it only takes a minute to put together and move to the oven for a quick bake while I spend time with friends. Enjoy!


Garlic Ciabatta Bread

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics (p. 184)


  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, crushed or finely minced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat olive oil, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper until garlic is translucent and has infused the olive oil, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Slice a loaf of ciabatta horizontally. On one half, spread butter. Spread the garlic-olive oil mixture on the other half. Put back together and wrap in aluminum foil.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until bread is heated throughout. Remove from oven and slice.

Serve immediately.



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What's_Baking_BadgeThis month’s What’s Baking? theme was chosen by Nicole from Seven Ate Nine – Bake With Garlic. At first I was excited by the theme, the chance to do something a little more savory. But then I started worrying about what to make. With Easter entertaining on the agenda, I decided to accompany my usual Beef Wellington with fresh bread, inspired by this month’s theme. The “baking” was twofold – first roasting the garlic until soft and sweet, flavoring good olive oil, and then using the two components to bake into bread.

I’ve made fresh focaccia bread once before and was impressed with both the ease and the wonderful flavor. This recipe produced the same results. Like most fresh breads, it’s takes a little while to make, due to the rising time, but the result is worth the effort. (For your convenience, I added the time required for each step in bold, at the step, in case you need to break up the steps or plan your day around them.)

Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Foccacia

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

Adapted from Kitchen Konfidence

Makes a 9×13 pan


  • 1/2 c. good-quality olive oil
  • 1 large head of garlic, top cut off
  • 2 1/4 tsp. (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 c. warm water
  • 4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh rosemary (from 4 springs)
  • flakey sea salt

Roast the Garlic and Flavor the Olive Oil: Preheat oven to 300°F.

Place olive oil in a small oven-safe bowl. Add garlic, top-side down. Cover bowl with foil and cook until garlic is soft, 45-60 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing garlic from oil and removing garlic cloves from the skin, setting aside the cloves to use on the bread later. If needed, pour oil through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove solids. Set aside.

Time: 1 hour

Make the Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, gently stir warm water and yeast with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula to dissolve yeast. Allow to sit until the mixture begins to foam, about 5 minutes.

Transfer bowl to the stand mixer and fit with the dough hook. Add flour, fine sea salt, and 2 Tbs. roasted garlic olive oil. Mix on low speed, stopping periodically to scrape dough off hook, until mixture is smooth and slightly sticky, 10-15 minutes.

In a clean bowl, place 1 Tbs. reserved olive oil. Add dough ball to bowl and turn to coat completely in oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise. Dough should double in size, about 2 hours. (Note: In my house, I find that dough rises best when placed in the kitchen while I’m using the stove/oven or by my gas fireplace, left on. I apparently keep my house too cool for dough to rise easily without an additional heat source.)

Time: 2 to 2 1/2 hours

Rest: Place 1 Tbs. reserved olive oil in a 9×13 baking dish (I used a Pyrex dish). Spread, ensuring bottom and sides are coated.

Uncover and punch down dough. Transfer to prepared baking dish, stretching so that it covers the entire dish. Cover again with clean towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Time: 45 minutes

Bake the Bread: When dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450°F.

After dough has finished resting, use clean fingers to a dimple dough (pressing slightly with fingertips, all over). Brush with remaining roasted garlic olive oil (you may have some leftover) and add reserved garlic cloves. Sprinkle with flakey sea salt and chopped rosemary.

Place in oven and immediately lower temperature to 375°F. Bake until golden brown, 20-30 minutes.

Allow to rest on a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Time: 30 minutes + time to cool slightly (additional 15ish minutes)

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What's_Baking_BadgeThis month’s theme for What’s Baking? – baking bread – was chosen by Heather at Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks. I definitely debated about whether to use this as an excuse to make a warm, crusty baguette. I contemplated a dinner of fresh bread and cheese, maybe a little fresh fruit and olives… but I bet my hubby would tell me that’s not an acceptable dinner. After all, he scoffed at a box of Girl Scout cookies for lunch. Apparently 6+ months pregnant isn’t an excuse to indulge. Anyway, in the end, I decided that with the cold weather we’ve been having, I’d make a hearty dinner of chili and made-from-scratch traditional cornbread.

This recipe is super easy – it took only a few minutes to put together and surprisingly little time to bake. My oven runs a tad hot, so I ended up with a slightly crispy edge that I couldn’t help but eat first. 🙂

Skillet Buttermilk Cornbread

Skillet Buttermilk Cornbread

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 107 (p. 37)

Serves 6-8


  • 1 3/4 c. stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into a couple of pieces

Ensure that a rack is placed in the center of the oven. Place a 9-10 inch cast-iron skillet in an oven and heat to 425°F. Allow skillet to sit in the oven until the oven is completely preheated, if not longer.

In a large bowl, whisk together remaining cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a small pot, bring 1/2 c. water to a boil. Whisk in 1/2 c. of the cornmeal until a thick mush has formed. Whisk in buttermilk, sour cream, and eggs until smooth.

When oven has been properly preheated, about 20 minutes, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir together with a wooden spoon until smooth and no clumps remain. Switch to a whisk if a few stubborn clumps remain.

Remove hot skillet from oven and add butter pieces, swirling pan to spread the butter and coat the bottom. Immediately pour cornmeal mixture into pan. Return to oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until top is golden and bread begins to pull away from the sides.

Remove from oven and turn out onto a wire rack. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve hot.

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Cranberry Orange Bread

Welcome to the first in 12 weeks of Christmas treats, a weekly blog hop hosted by Meal Planning Magic. Now I know it’s early to be thinking about Christmas, but the holiday season is a particularly busy one for me and I like to get a jump start on those holiday care packages and the big holiday party that my hubby and I host each year. So I’m already making lists of goodies that I want to make, and trying to pencil in some time to get baking.  This particular bread recipe freezes well without the glaze (and tastes great without it, if you prefer) and will definitely be making an appearance in some of my care packages this December.

Cranberry Orange Bread

Adapted from Fine Cooking

Makes 1 standard loaf (or two smaller, half loaves)

Ingredients for the Bread:

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for panCranberry Orange Bread
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 c. cranberries, halved
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. finely grated orange zest

Ingredients for the Glaze:

  • 1 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 4 tsp. freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat oven to 350F. If using a standard loaf pan, grease the pan with 1 Tbs. softened butter and lightly flour. Same thing for a disposable aluminum pan. (My pans, purchased from Michael’s craft stores, did not need to be greased, so I omitted this step.)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in cranberries.

In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and orange zest. Pour mixture, as well as melted butter, over dry ingredients. Gently fold in until no dry ingredients remain.

Pour into prepared baking pan and bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes for a standard loaf pan, and 35-45 minutes for a half-loaf.

Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert bread onto a rack to cool completely before adding glaze.

If using disposable liners, cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze, without glaze.

Glaze Bread: Whisk together confectioners’ sugar and orange juice until smooth, adding extra orange juice by the teaspoon, if needed, to thin glaze. Drizzle over loaf. Store at room temperature, covered, for up to 2 days.

If glazing after freezing, allow bread to thaw completely before adding glaze.

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What's_Baking_BadgeThis month is my first to participate in a blogging event called What’s Baking? Every month or two, a blogger will choose a theme, and the rest of us will bake something that fits in with the theme. It’s a great way to try out new recipes, sometimes out of your comfort zone.

This month, the theme of “Heritage Dish” was chosen by Ali from Sparks from the Kitchen. This theme couldn’t have come at a better time, as I recently saw my Polish grandparents. What’s Baking? was the perfect excuse to make something that my grandpa always enjoyed – babka.

Babka is a sweet yeast bread or cake from Eastern Europe. Growing up, my family served the Jewish version, a bread (the cake version is associated with Christian Easter and other holidays). I don’t recall anyone ever making it but it was ordered from bakeries a time or two around both Easter and Christmas.

This version is streaked with semisweet chocolate. My coworkers polished off two loaves of this bread before noon one day. My grandfather, however, was not as impressed. He reminded me every time he had a slice, that I should have used raisins in it, and that it was a little heavy. But he ate two or three slices a day, so it couldn’t have been that bad. 🙂

Baking Note: The original recipe made 4 loaves of bread. I halved the recipe below, because even though it’s freezable, four loaves is quite a lot. If you choose to freeze the dough, it can be frozen for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge 24-hours before using. Then roll out the dough, allow it to rest and rise, and bake.

Chocolate-Flecked Babka

Chocolate-Flecked Babka

Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois), p. 221

Makes 2 loaves


  • 1 1/2 c. lukewarm milk
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 Tbs. granulated yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 3 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. finely chopped or shaved semisweet (or bittersweet) chocolate
  • 1/8 c. rum, divided (for soaking the bread)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together milk, yolks, salt, and butter with a wooden spoon until fairly well combined. Attach bowl to mixer and fit with dough hook. Add flour and stir on speed 2 (the highest speed my mixer could handle using the dough hook) until all of the flour has been incorporated. The mixture will be fairly loose.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), about 2 hours. (I tend to place the bread near the oven/stove, when it’s turned on to help it along a little).

When the dough has risen, brush with half of the rum and refrigerate (still covered loosely with plastic wrap) until chilled.

Here, the dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to a month. If using dough from the freezer, allow to defrost in the fridge for 24 hours before resuming recipe below. 

On baking day, grease a standard loaf pan and set aside. .

Lightly flour a work surface with flour. Remove dough from fridge and cut dough in half. Dust with flour and shape into a ball by stretching the surface of the below around to the bottom. Roll out into a rectangle, approximately 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle the entire piece of the dough (including edges) with half of the shaved chocolate (1/2 c.). Roll into a log, starting at the short end. Fold the ends of the log into the middle, so that the ends meet. Place in prepared loaf pan and allow to rise and rest, about 2 hours.

Repeat with the second portion of dough, if you’re baking both at once.

Shortly before before baking, ensure that a rack is in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and firm.

Remove from the oven and brush with rum. Allow to rest for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve at room temperature.

Store, tightly wrapped, at room temperature.

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Today, I’m guest posting over at The Way To His Heart. Head on over and check out this recipe for Bacon Corn Bread – the perfect accompaniment to a big bowl of chili.

Bacon Corn Bread

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2013_12.Weeks.Of.Christmas.TreatsWhile Christmas is still 3 months away, I’m already making lists upon lists of recipes I want to make for the holiday season. There are care packages to send, a holiday party to plan for, and menus for Christmas Eve, Christmas, and whatever other days my family invade my parent’s house. But let’s be honest. Christmas is my favorite holiday and I probably start thinking about food to share, crafts to make, and gifts to purchase as early as July.

Thus, it should come as no surprise to you that I’m once again participating in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Meal Planning Magic. Over the next 12 weeks, I’ll be sharing a holiday recipe for you to keep in your arsenal for your own holiday planning. Some items will get frozen for my own holiday plans, but more likely, my husband, coworkers, and friends will get treated to 12 weeks of Christmas Treats along with you. And now on to the recipe.

Chocolate Coconut Almond Bread

A few weeks ago, I received the latest (October/November) issue of Fine Cooking and flipping through it, I knew exactly which recipe I’d try first. Nope, it wasn’t one of the featured holiday pumpkin desserts. I was going to try one of the flavor combinations in the quick bread article. I figure, the recipe is a great recipe to have in my repertoire for unexpected company or a last minute event. The version I made – chocolate, coconut, almond bread – was a tasty snack for afternoon coffee, but would also make a great dessert. I made two loaves, one of which I plan on shipping to a special someone (unless it gets eaten first!).

Chocolate, Coconut & Almond Bread

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 125 (p. 68)

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:Chocolate Coconut Almond Bread

  • 9 Tbs. (1 stick + 1 Tbs.) unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring pan
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 c. sweetened, shredded coconut, toasted
  • 3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 – 1/2 c. slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, melt 8 Tbs. (1 stick) of butter. Allow to cool.

Using 1 Tbs. butter, grease bottom and sides of a 9×5 inch loaf pan (if your butter isn’t softened, you can melt it and grease the pan that way). Sprinkle with a little flour on bottom and sides of buttered pan, tapping pan to move around flour, ensuring that pan is completely covered. Tap out excess flour over the sink. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Pour milk mixture and melted butter over dry ingredients and briefly stir with a rubber spatula until most of the wet ingredients are incorporated. Some dry streak are ok. Add toasted coconut and chocolate chips and stir until all ingredients are fulling incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Top with slivered almonds.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until top is golden and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from pan and return to rack to cool completely.

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