I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of the heat this time of year, but I love when our garden starts producing vegetables that I can cook and bake with. It’s amazing to be able to grow something in your own backyard and then enjoy it in a dish you prepare yourself.
And if you don’t have a garden of your own, you can get great prices on locally grown produce in your grocery store, at fruit and vegetable stands, and farmers’ markets this time of year.
Our vegetable of choice for this recipe is zucchini. This bread freezes very well so if you have copious amounts of the zucchini like we do, feel free to bake as many loaves as you can stand (preferably at night when using your oven won’t cause heatstroke) and freeze them for later.
Zucchini Nut Bread
Makes 1 loaf
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups zucchini, shredded (with peel on) and squeezed to remove excess moisture
1/3 cup buttermilk OR 1/3 cup whole milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar
¼ teaspoon almond extract (I prefer almond, but pure vanilla extract would work just fine)
1 cup pecans, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray OR use the paper from your stick of butter to grease the pan. (If you use the butter option, I’d lightly flour the pan as well.)
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon; whisk by hand until well combined.
In a large bowl with a hand mixer or the in the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter until well creamed. Add the sugar, and mix until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, letting the mixer incorporate the first before adding the next.
Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the batter. Do not over mix or your end product will be tough. The batter will be a little lumpy.
In the bowl you used for the flour mixture, combine the zucchini, faux buttermilk, and almond or vanilla extract. Stir gently until combined. Add this mixture to the batter by hand. Fold in the chopped pecans.
Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan, place on the middle rack in your oven, and back for approximately 50-60 minutes. (How long it actually takes depends on your oven and what type of material your loaf pan is made of.) When a skewer or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the loaf from the pan and cool completely on the wire rack.
To freeze extras: Follow all of the steps above. When loaves are completely cooled, wrap twice in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Don’t forget to label your product with the name and date you baked it!
To ensure a fresh loaf, I would thaw and eat up to 3 months after the baked date.
Recipe adapted from Reader’s Digest: Homemade