Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Olive Oil

INGREDIENTS ( makes 2 loaves)

2 eggs
1 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup Olive Oil – Single Varietal like Arbequina OO
1/2 Cup yogurt
1-1/2 Cups flour
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Powder, Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Paste
3 Cups grated and squeezed zucchini
1 Cup chocolate chips, (reserve ¼ Cup for topping)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two regular loaf pans (8-1/2 x 4-1/2 inches at the base) and set aside. Grate a large zucchini, measuring out three Cups’ worth. Place shredded zucchini between two paper towels, and squeeze out extra moisture. Transfer to a bowl and set aside for the time being.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Add the olive oil and yogurt to the sugar-egg blend, and mix until all are well combined.

Add the cocoa powder and mix with a heavy wooden spoon or spatula.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: the flour, salt, vanilla powder (if using extract or paste, add vanilla to the “wet” ingredients bowl) and baking powder before sifting into the egg “wet” mixture. Stir batter until smooth, taking care to not over-mix.

Add the grated zucchini to the batter and toss gently to coat zucchini with the mixture. After you have set aside 1/4 Cup of the chocolate chips, sprinkle the remainder with a little flour and fold chips into the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Top each with the remaining chocolate chips and bake for 65 minutes, or until a toothpick, inserted in the center of the loaf pan, comes out clean. Transfer finished loaves to a wire cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before removing cakes from the pans.

Let it cool completely before slicing and serving.