Oh, My Summer Zucchini Bread
This savory and sweet bread can be a great way to sneak veggies in your family’s diet without trying too hard. With zest from a few lemons added, these zucchini babycakes are a refreshing summer snack. Adjust the amount of sugar to suit your own taste; I find the brown sugar over white allows the flavor of the zucchini to shine. I’m a big fan of zucchini in just about any form! Perhaps if you have a garden, you may be searching for ways to use all the zucchinis your green thumb yields. Here’s one to try. This recipe, adapted from Baking Illustrated (pages 28-30), makes 2 mini-loaves and 24 mini-muffins.
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 pound zucchini (3 to 4 medium)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 2/3 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 to 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 2 to 3 large eggs, beaten lightly
- 1 Tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
- 6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour pan(s) or use or baking spray. Melt 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter and set aside to cool.
2. Cut ends and remove stems from zucchinis. Then, cut them in halves lengthwise and shred the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater, or using the grater attachment of a food processor. Toss with 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and allow to drain for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, and whist until well blended. Set aside.
4. Whisk together 1/2 cup white sugar, brown sugar, yogurt, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and melted (cooled) butter in a small bowl. Set aside.
5. After the zucchini has drained, squeeze in between several layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Stir the zucchini and the yogurt mixture into the flour until just moistened. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. In this case, I used a mini-muffin pan for 24 cakes and 2 mini-loaf pans.
6. If desired, sprinkle chopped walnuts or pecans over the top of batter before putting it in the oven to bake.
7. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Rotate the pan(s) halfway through. Mini-muffins will require 15 to 25 minutes, depending on how full you fill each cup. Mini-loaves will require an additional 15 to 20 minutes, for a total baking time of 30 to 45 minutes. A full-sized loaf (9 x 5) will require 45 to 60 minutes. Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool for at least an 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
- Make it more of a breakfast bread by adding 1 cup fresh or thawed blueberries.
- For additional texture and fruit-y-goodness, add 1/2 cup raisins.
- Go nuts! Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans for some crunch to each bite.
- Lighten up! Use 1 cup Splenda® or other sugar substitute instead of white granulated sugar.
- Boost your fiber content by swapping out white all-purpose flour for an enriched whole wheat flour.
- Turn it into chocolate zucchini bread with 6 tablespoons cocoa powder and 3/4 cup of mini chocolate chips.
- For a little taste of summer, add 1 tablespoon lemon zest from 2 to 4 lemons.
- Make it extra moist by adding 1/2 cup of sour cream to the batter along with the plain yogurt.