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Julie Van Rosendaal: Chocolate

Juile Van Rosendaal makes some delicious chocolate cake and salted peanut butter hot chocolate.

Squidgy Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (about 2 smallish, or 1 large)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugar on high speed with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes, until thick and pale yellow. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a smaller bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add a third to the butter mixture and beat on low or stir just until blended; add half the yogurt and half the zucchini and do the same. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, the rest of the yogurt and zucchini, and the rest of the flour. Spoon the thick batter into two loaf pans, smoothing the top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is cracked and springy to the touch, or still sunken in the middle - it's up to you. Cool in their pans on a wire rack. Makes 2 loaf cakes.

Salted Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup water
2 cups 2% or whole milk
2-4 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
3 oz. good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
flaky sea salt

In a saucepan, stir together the sugar and cocoa to get rid of lumps; stir in the water until smooth, then whisk in the milk over medium-high heat. Heat until steaming. 

Remove the pan from the heat and add the peanut butter and chocolate. Let it sit for a few seconds, add the merest pinch of salt, then blend it with a hand-held immersion blender. Pour into mugs and if you like, sprinkle with another teeny bit of salt. Serves 2-4.

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