Family Reunion: The Zucchini Bread Challenge

This past weekend, we had our annual family reunion. Over the years, many family members have reconnected and learned how much I love to bake. One of my cousins came into the house and greeted me by saying, “Amy, I have a challenge for you!” which made me smile. He asked me to make some zucchini bread for him and his best friend, who had never eaten this special summer bread before. I accepted, of course, as our garden is overflowing with zucchini right now and we aren’t exactly sure what to do with all the bounty. This bread is really easy to make, especially if you have a food processor handy. I chose to leave the seeds and skin on the zucchini to add some fiber in the bread, but you can discard if you prefer.

To get started, I pulled 2 small zucchini from the garden. They were about 7 inches long each. After removing the flower and washing them, I julienne cut them and then diced into small bits. 2 small zucchini made 2 cups of chopped up zucchini. I tried to use an all-purpose grater at first, but found it wasn’t as easy as just cutting them. If you had a food processor (which I do, but didn’t feel like dragging out), you could easily dice the zucchini by putting slices into the processor and pulsing it a few times. Once I was done chopping, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F.

Zucchini Bread 1 Cutting Zucchini

I combined the team of liquids for the Clabber Girl Zucchini Bread recipe: 3 fresh eggs, 1 c. vegetable oil, 2 1/4 c. sugar and 1 tbsp. vanilla extract. The eggs also come from our backyard; we have a flock of ISA Browns that lay large eggs and silkies that lay small to medium eggs. I used 3 large eggs for this recipe, but could have used 4 small ones instead. I decided to use 1 c. brown sugar and 1 1/4 c. white sugar in place of all white sugar. I enjoy rich quick breads that are dark in color and dense. If you prefer lighter color breads that are also lighter in density, use only white sugar.

Zucchini Bread 2 Mixing Team Liquid

Once this was combined thoroughly, I dumped in team dry: 3 c. all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder, 1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda, 1 tsp. salt and 1 tbsp. cinnamon. This made a very thick batter.

Zucchini Bread 3 Mixing Teams

Next I added in the 2 c. zucchini and 1 c. walnuts. The zucchini really helped to make the batter moist and easier to mix. You don’t have to include the walnuts, I just feel they add a great texture to the soft bread.

Once everything was just incorporated, I stopped my mixer. You are basically mixing this to making sure that the zucchini and walnut bits are evenly distributed. It is important to not over mix a quick bread. Over mixing can make a quick bread like this tough or chewy. I coated the baking pans with a non-stick cooking spray. I poured the batter and used a scraper to get every last bit into 2 9 x 5-inch ceramic baking pans.

Zucchini Bread 5 Batter In Baking Pans

I ended up baking them in my electric oven for an hour and 5 minutes on the second to top rack. I started checking for doneness at 45 minutes by inserting a toothpick in the center of one loaf. When I took the loaves out, I let them cool down for 30 minutes in the loaf pans, then flipped onto my cooling rack. It took a couple of hours to cool off completely. Though we ate one loaf right away, I saved the second loaf for my cousin by wrapping it in plastic. It’s important to not wrap the bread if it isn’t completely cool yet. I’ve set a dish towel on top of a partially cooled bread and let them sit overnight when I don’t feel like waiting up for them to cool down completely. The towel will allow them to cool without collecting dust or attention from curious cats who shouldn’t even be on the kitchen counter (you know who you are). If the bread isn’t cool before it is wrapped, it’s a recipe for early mold. In between the plastic and outside of the bread, condensation will form. If you leave bread on the counter like I do, mold can form in just a couple of days. Once the bread is cooled and wrapped, it can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for a week.

Zucchini Bread 6 Finished Loaves

I was really happy to be able to use two products from Clabber Girl: both the baking powder and soda. They are locally made in Terre Haute, Indiana and the baking soda is a new package for us. I have the full zucchini bread recipe below. I am thinking for next year’s family reunion, I could easily use up a lot of our zucchini by making everyone mini loaves of zucchini bread. This recipe can be changed to include walnuts or other nuts, and you could easily make it a chocolate zucchini bread by adding cocoa powder. For this, I might even get out the food processor.

Ingredients:

3 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder

1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. cinnamon

3 eggs

1 c. vegetable oil

2 1/4 c. sugar

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

2 c. grated zucchini

1 c. chopped walnuts

Instructions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottoms and sides of two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla; mix well. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, mixing well. Stir in zucchini and walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake 45- 55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

Take care and bake well, friends!