Golden Zucchini Bread + A Slow Re-Entry into Reality

{photo by Sara Remington}

It's the last day of the endless zucchini feast, and my first day back at my desk after 30 days in planes, trains and automobiles. Although I'm vowing to give up my pastry habit that started on our trip to Hungary, and get back to our grains and vegetable routine, today I'm craving a slow re-entry into reality. I want to stand, glassy-eyed, methodically shredding dewy garden zucchini over a bowl with a box grater,  stirring it with my favorite wooden spoon-- the one I haven't seen in far too long--into a luxe brown-sugar and whole-wheat batter. While the batter ribbons out into my bread tins, I'll think about how in the world to catch this site up on all it missed in Hungary and Helsinki and Chicago, and write the day away to the sweet smell of fresh baking bread...


Golden Zucchini Bread

Makes 2 large loaves

{full of goodies} In July, when the garden is bursting with zucchini and the market is practically giving them away, make this slightly sweet bread with just enough veggies to make it good for you. This is divine eaten just a touch warm, with thick slabs of cream cheese spread on for the weekends. Farmer’s cheese or fresh ricotta, both high in protein and much lower in fat, make this a go-to breakfast treat as easy for everyday as it is elegant for breakfast with friends.

4 tbsp/55 g unsalted butter, plus more for the pans, at room temperature
1 cup/200 g lightly packed dark brown sugar
⅔ cup/130 g granulated sugar
3 large eggs
½ cup/120 ml grapeseed or vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups/400 g white whole-wheat/wholemeal flour
1½ tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large zucchini/courgette, grated {about 3 cups/720 ml}
1 firm Bartlett/Williams pear, cored and grated {about 1 cup/240 ml}
¾ cup/85 g chopped toasted walnuts {about 3 oz}, plus more for garnish
¼ cup/40 g golden raisins/sultanas
2 tbsp sesame seeds
½ cup/120 ml farmer’s cheese, ricotta cheese, or cream cheese, for serving
Sliced figs or pears, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/gas 4. Butter two 9-by-5-in/23-by-12-cm loaf pans/tins. Line them with parchment/baking paper, butter the parchment/baking paper, and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugars in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, on medium speed until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. Add the oil and vanilla and stir to combine.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda/bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix half the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and stir together. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients with a spatula, along with the zucchini/courgette, pear, nuts, raisins, and sesame seeds.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Sprinkle with additional walnuts. Bake until the bread springs back when lightly touched, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry with some crumbs, about 50 minutes. Cool on a rack 10 minutes. Remove from the pan, slice, and serve warm with a thick schmear of cheese and sliced figs.

P.S. Guess what. I finally got it. Two c's, one n. That's Zucchini.

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New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.