Zucchini Bread

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Okay, I know I said you were getting some amazing Thai food next.  It’s coming!  I promise!

But I couldn’t let the warm weather pass us by completely without sharing one more summer recipe: the humble, but indispensable, zucchini bread.

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Why am I bothering to share a dish that probably everybody and their dog has a recipe for?  Well, partly because I am a zucchini bread snob.*  I don’t universally love zucchini bread, and, to be honest, I find most zucchini bread recipes fairly disappointing.

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I like this recipe.

I’ve fiddled with it a lot.  It’s not bland, or overly sweet, like so many zucchini breads I’ve tasted.  A touch of molasses and equal parts of whole wheat and white flours give the bread a good depth of flavor.  The spice blend is assertive, but not aggressive.  There are just enough nuts to keep the bread from feeling gummy, but not so much as to be distracting.

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And.  If you’re tired of pretending that zucchini bread is anything but dessert, stir in some chocolate chips and all pretensions of wholesomeness will be lost.

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Any restraint in eating it might be lost too

My other reason for sharing this recipe?  I have been living zucchini bread this summer.**  I only planted four summer squash plants, but they’ve been going absolutely nuts!  And while I have a few well-loved ways to use up an abundance of zucchini (or, in my case, spaceship-shaped summer squashes), there’s only one thing you can do once the fruits reach a certain size.  Shred and bread.

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What do you do when your spaceships get out of control?

 

*Although, honestly, my food snobbery isn’t limited to zucchini bread.  As evidenced by probably every recipe on this site.

**I still am, actually.  At the time of writing this, I just finished making eight (!) loaves of zucchini bread.  And I still have squash left over.

 

Zucchini Bread

Yield: 2 standard loaves

Adapted from Betty Crocker

You can play around with the flour mix here.  I prefer equal parts of whole wheat and white flours for flavor and texture, but it works fine with all white flour too.  100% whole wheat flour works great as long as you don’t intend to freeze the loaves (too little gluten in the whole wheat flour makes them turn crumbly when frozen).

Flour variations aside, these freeze great.  You could double wrap them in saran wrap and foil, or put them in gallon zip top bags.  I almost never bother – I just use a bread bag and a twist tie – because they never seem to stay in my freezer very long.

The directions given here (mix wet ingredients together, then stir in zucchini) are probably the better way of mixing the batter.  You can see from the pictures that I usually shred the zucchini first and then stir all the wet ingredients in to it.  This is mainly because I never quite know how many loaves I’m going to make until I see how much shredded zucchini I have.

A note on zucchini measurement:  I squeeze as much of the liquid out of my zucchini as I can, then pack it very firmly into the measuring cup.  The weight measurement given is based on this method.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2/3 cups (144 grams) oil (I use light olive oil, but vegetable oil or another neutral-flavored oil would be fine)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups (690 grams) shredded zucchini
1/2 cup (58 grams) chopped nuts (I usually use walnuts)
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

In a large bowl, combine sugar through salt and mix thoroughly.  Stir in zucchini.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until just combined.  Divide batter between two greased loaf pans, and bake for 50-60 minutes at 350°.  Let loaves cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning them out onto a rack to finish cooling.

My favorite way to eat zucchini bread is actually not fresh from the oven, but toasted and buttered the day after.  Preferably with tea.

Variations:
For a zucchini bread that’s totally stopped pretending it’s not cake, stir in 2 cups of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips just before baking.

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