I have been experimenting with teff lately, both the whole seeds and the flour. Referred to as both a seed and a grain, if you are not familiar with this gluten-free nutritional powerhouse, you might want to look for it the next time you are out shopping. It is a tremendously versatile “grain” and cooks in much the same way rice or quinoa does but out performs them both in nutritional benefits. Add whole teff seeds to stews or salads, cook it into a porridge or use teff flour in baking. Teff flour blends particularly well with chocolate and makes one heck of a great chocolate zucchini loaf!
Anyone who knows me, knows I love chocolate. It’s my biggest weakness although to be fair, I am quite discerning, The chocolate I like is dark, decadent and rich with a high percentage of cocoa; dairy and soy free, and preferably flavoured with mint. I have no palate for the cheap supermarket varieties – I find them cloyingly sweet and pretty disgusting, actually. Bleh!
I used to make chocolate zucchini loaf regularly at the hotel I worked for years ago. It was a delicious recipe – moist and rich, but of course, it was not vegan; nor was it gluten, oil or sugar free. This chocolate zucchini loaf is just as moist and rich but without all the refined sugar, oil and eggs. It is also gluten free if you omit the chocolate chips and the teeccino – which you can easily do. However, if you can handle gluten, I think the addition of teccino (herbal coffee grounds) contributes a HUGE amount to the decadence of this loaf (see Notes).
This is lovely with your morning or afternoon cuppa and I would encourage you to give it a try, if for no other reason than to experiment with teff. It is best eaten within a few days and will last a week, covered and stored in the refrigerator.
Yield: 10-12 slices
- 1 cup teff flour
- ½ cup millet flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder (I used raw cacao powder)
- 1 tbsp. Teeccino mocha coffee (grounds)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ¼ cup Lily’s dark chocolate baking chips*
- 1½ cups grated zucchini
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1¼ cups rice milk
- 4 dates, pitted and soaked for at least an hour to soften
- 2 flax eggs** (see Notes)
- 1 ½ tbsp. vanilla
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes, extra, optional
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips, extra, optional
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prepare the flax eggs first. Stir 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds with 6 tablespoons of water in a small bowl or coffee cup. Allow the mixture to rest while you prepare everything else. As it sits it will develop a gel-like viscosity, which is exactly what you want.
In large bowl, whisk the flours, teeccino, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Sift the dry mix twice (sifting method in recipe for Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins). Gently stir the chocolate chips into the sifted dry ingredients.
Drain the water from the dates and add the dates to a blender with the vanilla and about 1/4 cup of the milk. Puree the dates until completely smooth, adding a little more milk if needed to easily puree the dates. Spoon the puree into a small bowl.
Finely grate the zucchini, and add to the date puree. Add in the remaining milk and maple syrup. Stir the wet ingredients to blend and pour the mixture into the bowl with the flours. Stir the flax eggs and add to the bowl. Gently stir the mixture in the bowl until the dry ingredients are completely moist but don’t over mix the batter.
In a parchment lined 9X5-inch loaf pan, carefully pour the batter. using a small offset spatula, spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 55 -60 minutes in a preheated oven. If adding the topping, remove loaf from the oven and quickly sprinkle the top with coconut flakes and extra chocolate chips. Return the loaf to the oven and bake for 5-6 minutes more or until the coconut is golden and a cake tester inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean.
Read this before adding the topping … For a couple reasons, I won’t use this topping again. The chocolate chips didn’t melt the way I anticipated they would (another brand might though) and in fact they were quite bitter to taste. Apart from that, it was difficult to slice through the topping once the loaf had cooled. Next time I might try glazing the loaf after it has cooled instead. If you are not adding the topping, to test for doneness, insert a cake tester into the centre of the loaf after 55 minutes to see if it comes out clean. If it does, your loaf is done; if not, give it another 5 minutes in the oven).
*Lily’s dark chocolate baking chips are vegan and sugar free (sweetened with stevia instead) but they do contain soy lecithin, which is an emulsifier. Camino chocolate chips and Enjoy life brand chocolate mini chips are vegan and soy free but both contain cane sugar. So its a bit of a toss up. However, the addition of chocolate chips is optional – you can omit them altogether if you prefer.
**For the flax eggs, stir 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds with 6 tablespoons of water in a small bowl or coffee cup. Allow the mixture to stand for 5-10 minutes. As it does it will develop a gel-like viscosity, which is exactly what you want. Stir it once more before adding in the recipe.
Teeccino is a caffeine-free herbal coffee and a truly awesome alternative made from a blend of herbs, grains, fruits and nuts. It’s non-acidic and the package states that 75% of the ingredients are certified organic. Teeccino coffees come in a variety of flavours and the one I used in this recipe was medium roast mocha. The ingredients include: carob, barley, dates and figs, almonds, chicory root and pure natural flavours. Since barley is a gluten-based grain, you can substitute regular coffee granules if you have gluten sensitivities.
You may have noticed from the photo that I did not line the sides of my loaf pan with parchment. I just cut a strip of parchment long enough to line the bottom and ends of the loaf pan. A few minutes after removing the zucchini loaf from the oven, I run a thin blade along the insides of the loaf pan. If the loaf is done, the chocolate loaf will start to pull away from the sides of the pan on its own anyway. This trick just makes removing the loaf from the pan a little easier once it has cooled. After running the knife along the insides of the pan, let the loaf cool completely in the pan before removing.