I had zucchini bread for the first time when I was a teacher and a co-worker brought it into the teacher’s lounge. As much as teachers teach kids about health, the food pyramid and good eating habits, let’s just say we didn’t always practice what we preached. Teachers are probably some of the most unhealthy eaters I know. Leftover holiday sweets, cake, and cookies would end up in the lounge and disappear at every recess. The big vending machine of junk food and soda didn’t help either.
So, there it was, this bread of zucchini sitting in the middle of the table with its owner proudly standing by waiting for someone to eat it and gush about it. I thought to myself, ”This must be a joke; that she would bake something like zucchini into bread, I mean are you serious?” I understand about carrot in cake form because at least carrots are sweet, but have you ever had a raw zucchini? It’s green and bitter. My first instinct wasn’t exactly, “Hey let’s make this into a sweet bread!”
There she was, she saw me and I had nowhere to hide. I had to give it a try. I figure, I could take a bite, smile and walk out out of the lounge and spit it out if I had to. I reached out slowly and took the smallest piece. Once I started to chew, I realized there as no trace of zucchini flavor at all. All I could taste was a very moist, nutty, spice cake. I ended up asking her for the recipe and my confidence in my co-worker was restored. So the moral of the story is…..don’t judge a bread by its zucchini!
Every good zucchini bread should start with good zucchini. These happen to come from my dear friend, Valeria’s organic garden.
Here’s the batter nearly all done.
Add the walnuts for texture and nuttiness.
I love the green specks of zucchini peeking out to remind you that this is a healthy, but tasty bread.
Zucchini Bread Recipe
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups grated fresh zucchini
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour, a third at a time. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg and mix. Fold in the nuts and dried cranberries or raisins if using.
Divide the batter equally between 2 buttered 5 by 9 inch loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour (check for doneness at 50 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.
Makes 2 loaves.