We didn’t really want to do this post, as everyone has a recipe for zucchini bread that he or she thinks is the best in the world. And, why not? Most zucchini bread is really good. Moist, tender, more of a cake than a bread, what’s not to like? And, with everyone having a favorite, what could we really add to the discussion? So, we didn’t want to post about zucchini bread.
But, sometimes, events conspire against us. We were in a rush to get our Christmas baking and cooking done, making at least one item, often several, each day, plus our normal complement of scratched-up meals, and, once everything for Christmas was ready, we needed a short break. But there was a problem. Just one large problem: we had a huge summer squash staring us down, saying, “cook me before I go bad.” (Yes, here in Arizona, zucchini season can run into December.) We couldn’t let a squash go bad — who knows the trouble it would cause — so we had to cook it, someway, somehow. And we did it. We made zucchini bread (it was either that, or leave the squash on a neighbor’s doorstep) from a recipe we found in Quick Breads, by Beatrice A Ojakangas, which is full of tasty-sounding breads (well, at least 65 breads).
Makes two 9×5 loaves.
Eggs, as always, should be free range. Happier and healthier hens, happier and healthier you. Always use real vanilla, of course. It’s expensive, but it’s the best. If you don’t have canola oil, you can use another light, neutral oil. We won’t know. The original recipe called for black walnuts, but we didn’t have them; in fact, we haven’t seen them at the store for years, but then, we haven’t been looking for them, so we thought that painting regular walnuts black would work just as well (just kidding; don’t paint your walnuts black).
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9×5 loaf pans. And, move an oven rack to the middle of the oven while you’re at it.
Mise en place. Grate the squash. Measure out the flour and other dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Measure out the oil, sugar, vanilla, and eggs into a large bowl. Measure out the walnuts into a tiny bowl. Basically, get everything ready, because this is an easy recipe that goes pretty quickly.
Whisk. Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until it’s uniform. Next, whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar until everything’s thick and fairly smooth, about a minute of whisking.
Fold. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture to make a stiff, thick batter. It will seem more like a dough than a batter. Don’t worry, we’ll be adding zucchini which, as far as we can tell, is a fourth form of water (besides ice, liquid, and steam).
Fold in squash. Fold in the squash and nuts. Use care to ensure that the batter ends up uniform; it seemed as though every time we thought we had a uniform batter, there was still a clump of dough that could use a bit more mixing. See, the dough has turned back into batter. It’s the zucchini in action.
Fill loaf pans. Pour and scrape the batter into the two loaf pans.
Bake. Slide the pans into the oven and bake for about an hour, or until a skewer, toothpick, or thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool in the pans for about 30 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen and remove the loaves. Let cool completely.
We actually made this bread for an upcoming social hour at church. But, that doesn’t mean that we didn’t sneak a slice — for, uh, scientific testing. This is a really good zucchini bread, nice and moist and tender. The cinnamon gives it a tasty little bit of spice. In fact, in tasting this, we were reminded more of cake than bread, and, next time we make it, we’ll probably make it up in a cake pan, add some Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting, and call it spice cake. No mention of zucchini needed, as we don’t think anyone would notice. Of course, it’s also nice to eat something that tastes like cake, but that you can call “bread.” Sounds much healthier that way. Five stars.