My favorite zucchini bread.

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I LOVE to bake, cook, you name it. But before I get to the recipe, I think I’ll give you the guidelines on which I bake. I like to follow a “natural is best” approach. To me, this means no shortening with trans-fat (partially hydrogenated oils), margarine, or corn syrups, and when I do make treats with “boxed” add-ins, like cereals or chocolate chips, I try to use the best quality possible (no added trans-fat or corn syrups). Sometimes, though, I will throw in some candies that may not follow the guidelines. Whenever I do this, I’ll let you know, and hopefully suggest an alternative.  I believe what we put into our bodies matters, and when we feel good about what we eat, we feel good about ourselves. However, I do use sugar* and white (although unbleached) flour. I don’t skimp on butter in cookie recipes, simply because I believe I’m using the “real thing”, and everything is okay in moderation, so I can indulge in a nice oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, knowing that I made it. When we make conscious indulgences like that, we feel good about ourselves! Treat yourself!

*I do use white granulated sugar when I bake. However, I am beginning to switch over to organic evaporated cane juice. This is an equal exchange to granulated sugar, but much less refined. It is much more expensive than white sugar, which is why I’m taking that as incentive to really enjoy what I bake, and to bake in moderation.

Now to the zucchini bread recipe. This recipe is probably my favorite recipe to bake. Ever. The bread is moist but has a light texture. It’s rich with flavor from the zucchini and has a touch of sweetness, along with a little spice from the cinnamon. It’s best after it has cooled for about 30 minutes (so still a little warm), or after it’s rested over night. My dad always says it gets better with time. I’ve experimented with the recipe a lot, using more zucchini, less flour, applesauce, you name it, but have always come back to the original. Enjoy!

Zucchini Bread (recipe loosely adapted from smittenkitchen.com)

2 (up to 2 .5) cups zucchini, grated, juices NOT removed (1 large zucchini or 2 small)

1 cup oil (I recommend using 1/2 to 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (heart-healthy!), and for the remaining 1/2 to 1/4 cup using a light canola oil; you could probably do a LITTLE less than this #)

3 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (My friend Sara always says Watkin’s is best-and I believe her!)

1 1/2 cups (for a sweeter bread, use 1 3/4 cups) sugar or sugar substitute, like organic evaporated cane juice (I used this in my most recent batch and it was wonderful!)

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour + 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (Sift them together with the baking powder/soda/salt/spices for a lighter texture.)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt (It’s important to add salt to this bread, as it helps bring out the flavors, but I do like my baked goods saltier-use as much as you’re comfortable with, but I would use some!)

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (Update 7/7…I added in 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon all spice. I loved the combo of spices with the cinnamon, but my dad did say the original was best :) )

Directions: Combine zucchini, oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir in sugar. Stir in flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until combined. This is easier when done in batches. If the batter looks thick, don’t panic! Place batter into two loaf pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray, and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Enjoy!

zucchini1 zucchini2

All for now,

Abby

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