Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Great Zucchini Bread Secret

The first summer Rocky and I were married we didn’t have a vegetable garden, but the following spring I knew I wanted to make one in the raised bed on the south side of our rental house. So we planted peas, broccoli, carrots, green beans, sweet peppers, watermelon, and zucchini. Lesson #1 for first-time gardeners: Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Lesson #2: Don’t beat yourself up when your broccoli, peppers, and watermelon don’t make it.

Lesson #3: If you plant zucchini, you will need to find friends to share it with, or many many MANY recipes.
Image from buckcooks.com
The go-to recipe for most people with an overwhelming amount of zucchini is bread. It’s easy, tastes good with or without butter, and is a good way to get your kids to eat some veggies.

The very first time I made zucchini bread, I followed my mom’s recipe, which called for “2 cups grated zucchini.” After making a huge mess with the cheese grater and finally making two cups worth, I was vowing to never make zucchini bread ever again. It turned out great though, just like I remembered when I was a kid.

Then my husband approached me with two comments. First: “Do I taste cinnamon?” Yes, of course, it’s in the recipe. “Zucchini bread doesn’t call for cinnamon.” To which I showed him my mom’s recipe, which indeed called for 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. To which he showed me his mom’s recipe, which was the EXACT same recipe – minus the cinnamon…

It was our first second married argument discussion.

His second comment: “You should just chop the zucchini in the blender.”

Really?!

I read his mom’s recipe: Put 1 cup oil in blender and fill with chunks of zucchini until 3 cups. Blend until free of chunks, but not too long.

BRILLIANT!

I never was a big fan of the stringiness of grated zucchini in my bread and muffins anyway.

So that’s the big zucchini bread secret I wanted to share with you today. Maybe it’s not such a big secret. But it sure was news to me. And I love it. You don’t even need to peel the zucchini, leaving the skin on the chunks gives nice little green specks in the bread (which might not be so great if you have picky eaters).

So tell me… is this idea news to you? Or has the rest of the world been making zucchini bread this way forever??

(oh and tell me, cinnamon or not?? :)



11 comments:

Mandy Rose said...

We had the same discussion when making lasagna for the first time, using a ball of fresh mozzarella. Gordon's mom used to make the kids grate it by hand; I told him I was going to toss it into the food processor :-)
I found the food processor (originally purchased to make baby food) very helpful for zucchini bread, too. My favorite recipe though, Chocolate Zucchini Cake from SimplyRecipes.com:

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups regular all-purpose flour, unsifted
1/2 cup cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup soft butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Glaze (directions follow)
Method
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

1 Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

2 With a mixer, beat together the butter and the sugar until they are smoothly blended. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. With a spoon, stir in the vanilla, orange peel, and zucchini.

3 Alternately stir the dry ingredients and the milk into the zucchini mixture, including the nuts with the last addition.

4 Pour the batter into a greased and flour-dusted 10-inch tube pan or bundt pan. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes (test at 45 minutes!) or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes; turn out on wire rack to cool thoroughly.

5 Drizzle glaze over cake.

Glaze: Mix together 2 cups powdered sugar, 3 Tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Cut in thin slices to serve. Makes 10-12 servings.

Sadie VK said...

Haha - this post is great. Thanks to the advice of my facebook friends and the generosity of friends who lend me food processors (Kelly), I did the zucchini in that. It was super quick and worked so well!

Oh, and the recipe I used called for 1.5 tsp of cinnamon!

Jess said...

Now I really want some zucchini bread! I'm going to make some this weekend...and I'll try it with cinnamon. :)

Frugal in WV said...

I shred mine and use cinnamon, I make a lot of zucchini bread in the summer and it always tastes yummy :) New follower from the weekend hop, have a great evening! You can find me at

http://wvfrugal-wvsaver.blogspot.com/

Anita @ Cedar Hill Ranch said...

I love zucchini bread, I am a new follower.

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Diane said...

What a fantastic idea to avoid grating. I hate grating! I suppose you've heard why you need to lock your car in the fall in the church parking lot? So people can't get in and fill your car with zucchini . . . Thanks for sharing!

Heather Tovey said...

I think it sounds like you need a Zucchini Bread Bake-Off! Invite some friends and then determine the winner. With cinnamon or without!

Sounds like a fun time to me, anyway!

I've never made Zucchini Bread, but I'll definitely have to give it a shot using the blender instead of grating it. Thanks for the tip!

Carrie Roer said...

@Mandy -- That recipe sounds amazing!

@Diane -- The lock-your-car-thing is SO true!

@Heather -- I like the idea of a Bake-Off!

Thanks to my new followers, I'm glad to hear from you! Welcome!! :)

Rachel said...

WITH cinnamon, definitely. (But then again, I put cinnamon on ice cream, so maybe I'm the wrong person to ask....)
I use a food processor - I think that's a bit different than a blender. It's got a plate with either a chopper or shredder, and you push the zucchini (or carrots, cukes, whatever) down the spout. Just this week, I did several large zucchinis like that, and froze it in ziplocs for zucchini bread this winter.
This year, I only planted one hill of zucchini, and that was perfect. I also found you can put it in spaghetti sauce, it doesn't change the taste or texture very much, and another way to get picky eaters (ahem, husbands) to eat more veggies. :)

Rocky Roer said...

So are we going to be getting any zucchini bread (without cinnamon of course) this year?

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