Conscious Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Recipe and Photos by Jim Franks. Follow him @blessmelordforihavesneezed
I first developed this zucchini bread recipe as a way to use excess produce from Chicago Patchwork Farms - an urban farm that grows nutrient-dense native vegetables in a regenerative cycle and offers them to the community in a “pay-what-you-can” model so that everyone can afford local, ethically sourced produce. I have been providing the community with bread and pastries through the Patchwork Farms farmstand since 2019.
This recipe is based on my pastry accomplice Emily Squadra’s zucchini brownie recipe and it is heavenly. This zucchini bread is the epitome of local food production with local flour and local produce coming together to make a loaf of goodness best shared in community.
Jim Franks showcasing local produce at Chicago Patchwork Farms.
Jim Franks is a baker based out of Chicago. He loves to use his body to make food for the people he loves. He loves to use local ingredients because it supports the people he loves and supports them in stewarding the land. In his baking, Jim uses local ingredients from producers he knows in person: maple sugar from Wisconsin, grains from Illinois, grass-fed butter from local farms. If he uses ingredients from further away, he makes sure that the products are sourced ethically and responsibly. You can find his baked goods and tons of local produce at Chicago Patchwork Farms, 2825 W Chicago Ave. The farm stand is open on Wednesdays from 4 to 7pm, and on Saturdays from 10am to 3pm, May to November.
Yield: 2 standard loaves (8x5")
- 2 loaf pans (8x5")
- 2 large bowls
- parchment paper (optional)
- Investing in a digital scale is priceless!
- Mixing the zucchini in with the dry ingredients helps distribute it across the entire loaf and prevents it from sinking to the bottom of the loaf.
- I recommend using ethically sourced bean to bar chocolate from local makers. I like to use Violet Sky Chocolate from South Bend, IN and William Marx Chocolate from Madison, WI.
- If you don't have access to maple sugar, use the same amount of regular or brown sugar.
- The zucchini used in this recipe originates from Chicago Patchwork Farms where it was grown using the Three Sisters technique. This form of companion planting combines maize (corn), beans and squash which are almost planted on top of each other. The maize and beans are often planted together in mounds formed by hilling soil around the base of the plants. Squash is typically planted between the mounds. The three crops benefit by being grown together. The cornstalk serves as a trellis for the beans to climb up on, the beans fix nitrogen in the soil and their twining vines stabilize the maize in high winds, and the wide leaves of the squash plant shade the ground, keeping the soil moist and preventing the establishment of weeds. The prickly hairs of some squash varieties also deter pests, such as deer and raccoons. Indigenous peoples throughout North America cultivated different varieties of the Three Sisters based on local environmental conditions. While typically using winter squash, Chicago Patchwork Farms combined bicolor sweet corn and beans with summer squash, cucumbers and even watermelons all of which seem to be loving this weather!
Theme and Variations
Here are a few points of inspiration and adaptation:
If you want to use different kinds of flour, Janie's Mill Buckwheat Flour or Janie's Mill Dark Rye Flour are wonderful options. They pair well with chocolate and are great substitutes for all purpose flour.
You can use almost anything waterlogged in the vegetable or fruit world as a replacement for zucchini: applesauce, beets, carrots…dare to get creative! Quick breads are a wonderful way to use leftover purees and vegetables and you can play around with different combinations of nuts and seeds that go well with whatever local produce you find yourself blessed with. I like to make carrot cake and butternut squash bread, but possibilities for flavor combinations are endless.
Posted on August 30 2022