Thursday, September 1, 2011

Serving Up {Bread}: Zucchini Bread

Today is the first day of September and we woke up to a crisp coolness in the air.  All of my kids came to breakfast wrapped in blankets.  It felt like autumn had arrived overnight!  School begins in four short days and then autumn will officially be in full force for us here in the Northwest.

I look forward to the autumn harvest, especially now that I live in Oregon where I can readily access fresh produce.  Earlier this week I was busy bottling homemade tomato sauce and last week I was elbow deep in peach pits and apricot pits.  I hadn't intended to neglect the zucchini sitting on my counter, but I noticed yesterday that it was beginning to show evidence of neglect.   My solution was to bake zucchini bread, much to my kids delight!

This is my favorite recipe, and despite zucchini breads bad reputation, this recipe is so moist!  The secret is grating a single tart apple into the grated zucchini.  It adds a burst of flavor as well as increasing the moisture content.  The recipe was not written with the apple, but years ago I was at a local orchard market and was purchasing a zucchini (who buys zucchini?).  An older lady shopping near me commented that if I was going to make bread with that zucchini, I needed to grate an apple into the batter.  I took her recommendation and have never made the recipe again without the apple addition.  So even if you already have a favorite zucchini recipe, and you don't try this recipe, try the apple tip and see if it doesn't make a delightful difference.

printable version

1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups grated zucchini (1 small tart apple, like granny smith) ***
3 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. nutmeg
3 cups flour
1 cup nuts (optional)

*** Grate the tart apple into a measuring bowl. Grate zucchini into the same bowl to come up with the 2 cups of grated “zucchini”. The addition of the apple will create a delicious, moist loaf of bread and is my secret ingredient :)

Prepare two loaf pans and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place oil and sugar in a mixing bowl and combine. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the zucchini and the vanilla.
Sift together the try ingredients and add to the wet ingredients, without over mixing.
Stir in nuts.
Divide batter between the two greased loaf pans. Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick tests done.

The topping is optional.  It's actually the topping for my apple bread but it is delicious on zucchini bread too!
You can place it on top of the batter before placing in the oven, or sprinkle it on 15-20 minutes into the cooking time.

½ cup quick cook oats
½ cup coconut
½ cup packed brown sugar
4 Tbs. melted butter

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle the topping over the batter prior to baking.
(The topping, as listed, would top two loafs of zucchini bread)

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