*UPDATE – See this post about our new eating habits.(7/10/11)
Today begins my week of writing about quick breads. I love quick breads! They’re so…….quick. Not to mention easy, delicious, and quick. Did I mention quick? There are about a million different varieties of quick “breads.” This week I’m going to focus on sweet breads (today), muffins, pancakes, biscuits, and cornbread.
We’re going to make Zucchini Bread today! I just love zucchini. You can do so much with it. It’s very nutritious. So that makes this sweet bread nutritious, right? Yes, right. When our family is overrun with zucchini during the summer, I make everything I can think of with zucchini in it. This just happens to be my favorite way to use it. It’s a Betty Crocker recipe. Betty is such a good cook. She really knows what she’s doing…..and she does it quick.
There are about a zillion kinds of sweet bread. Sweet breads are actually just big muffins cooked in a loaf pan. How could that not be heavenly? A huge loaf shaped muffin? Someone is a genius. When you cook a quick bread in a loaf pan, you want to move your oven racks so that they’re in the center of the oven. You don’t want your loaf tops getting brown too quickly or the middle of the bread will be goo. Most sweet breads bake at 350° for around an hour. The exact time will depend on the type of bread and the size pan you use. For this recipe, I used two 8-inch pans and cooked mine for 60 minutes.
To make Zucchini Bread you need zucchini (shocking, right?), sugar, oil, vanilla, eggs, all purpose flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, baking powder, and raisins. If you hate raisins (weirdo) then you can substitute nuts or just leave both out altogether.
First you want to shred your zucchini. Normally this part scares me to death. I end up with bloody knuckles. Something always distracts me or I think skin would make a nice flavoring addition. Recently however, I became a genius. Most of you are probably already geniuses, but I felt pretty good about this discovery. Look! I left the end of the zucchini attached so it gave me a safety zone! Yes! You too can shred zucchini without taking a trip to the emergency room! I think I’ll start doing this with everything I shred. I feel liberated! You’re welcome.
To your zucchini you will add sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Don’t make fun of my ugly brown bowl. It’s my favorite. I got it for $.50 at a yard sale. It’s got rubber on the bottom so it doesn’t scoot when I stir.
To the wet ingredients you will add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, and baking powder. Give it a good stir, but not too vigorous. It will still be a little lumpy with flour. That’s ok. Don’t freak out. When it’s all mixed up, then you add the nuts or raisins. Or if you live on the edge, add both. Here’s a handy tip. If you decide to go wild and add chocolate chips, you want to use mini chips. If you use regular sized chips, they’ll sink to the bottom and make your loaf stick. Then you’ll have to scrape the bottom of the pan and eat it yourself. Not that it’s a bad thing, but your loaf won’t be too pretty. I’ve tried dusting the regular sized chips with flour and then adding them, but it didn’t work. Don’t be like me…..unless you like scraping the bottom of the pan. Again, not such a bad thing.
Divide your batter between two 8-inch pans. Make sure the pans are greased. I used the miracle stuff – Baker’s Joy – that has flour and grease all in one. It’s one of my favorite things in the kitchen! I have baker’s joy when I use it! Also, only grease the bottom of the pan. If you grease the sides, you’ll get a funny looking loaf. The batter can’t climb the sides of the pan because it’s greasy. I forgot this point, and mine sort of rose funny on the edges. Oh well. It still tasted good!
Pop your pans into a 350° oven and bake them for around an hour. Test them with a toothpick in the middle to insure that they’re done in the middle. Of course a toothpick isn’t long enough, but that’s what the recipe says to do. I either use a skewer or a chop stick. I could use my cake tester, but for quick breads I prefer something bigger. Yes, it leaves a hole, but you’re going to cut it up anyway so who cares? Once it is done, remove it from the oven and let your bread rest in the pans for 10 minutes. Then turn it out and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
Resist the urge to dig right in. If you try to slice it now, it’ll just get crumbly and fall apart. I know it’s hard. But you can do it! Go to the store if you have to. Just leave. When it’s cool, slice and serve. You can eat it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack or a side at dinner. Heck, you can even eat it for dessert with ice cream. Or you can get up and polish off the loaf in the middle of the night so that no one else will eat it. Just a thought.
- 3 cups shredded zucchini (2-3 medium)
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup raisins or nuts
- Move oven rack to lower position so that the tops of your pans will be in the center of the oven.
- Heat oven to 350°.
- Grease bottoms only of 2 8-inch loaf pans.
- Mix zucchini, sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl.
- Stir in remaining ingredients except nuts and/or raisins.
- Stir in nuts and/or raisins.
- Divide batter evenly between pans.
- Bake loaves 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool ten minutes in pans on wire rack.
- Loosen sides of loaves from pans. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.
- Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.