zucchini bread

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You know what always makes me twitchy with envy? Hearing people talk about how they just have sooo many zucchini or tomatoes or whatever from their garden, and they just don’t know what to do with it all.

Shut. Up.

Also: Give them to me.

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I live in an apartment. There are no raised beds and no compost bins. There isn’t enough sunlight for container plants. I can’t even keep herbs because the cats eat them.

No, I bought these zucchini from the grocery store, although it at least was from the local farm section. But it’s the end of summer, and, damn it, I wanted zucchini bread.

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I’m not a big carrot cake fan – vegetables? dessert? they do not belong together – but zucchini bread I can do. It’s a quick bread, a snack; it isn’t masquerading as a fancy cake. Like most quick breads, this one starts with the dry ingredients (flour, salt, leavener, nuts) and the wet ingredients (eggs, butter, sugar, yogurt, a little lemon juice) mixed separately before being folding together.

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What I like about this recipe is how it treats the zucchini. Zucchini is full of water, and think about it – when did you last add water to a quick bread? You don’t, because it makes baked foods wet and gummy. So you have to remove the water from the zucchini. After the zucchini is shredded, mix it with a couple tablespoons of sugar, and let it sit and drain in a strainer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. By the time you’re ready to move on with the recipe, the zucchini will have given up something like a half-cup of (bright green) water. What’s even better about this method is that you end up using more zucchini than you could if you had to keep all of the water in the dough.

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Ooh, I loved these. Loved them. So soft, so tender, so pretty and green. They don’t taste at all vegetal, and they’re just sweet enough. Someday I’ll have a house and a vegetable garden, and I will turn so much zucchini into beautiful bread. Until then, I’ll be grateful that zucchini is available year-round from the grocery store.

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One year ago: Sausage and Red Pepper Hash

Zucchini Bread (from Cooks Illustrated)

To make muffins instead of a loaf, divide the batter between 12 greased and floured muffin cups. Bake at 375 degrees for 18-25 minutes.

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 pound zucchini, washed and dried, ends and stems removed, cut in half lengthwise and seeded if using large zucchini, each half cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cups (5¼ ounces) sugar
½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped coarse
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter, melted and cooled

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the zucchini and 2 tablespoons of the sugar until the zucchini is coarsely shredded, twelve to fifteen 1-second pulses. Transfer the mixture to a fine-mesh strainer set at least 2 inches over a bowl and allow to drain for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can shred the halved zucchini (don’t cut into 1-inch pieces) on the large holes of a box grater, toss with the 2 tablespoons of sugar, and drain.

3. Meanwhile, spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a cooling rack and cool completely. Transfer the nuts to a large bowl; add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk until combined. Set aside.

4. Whisk together the remaining ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, and melted butter in a 2-cup glass measure until combined. Set aside.

5. After the zucchini has drained, squeeze the zucchini with several layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Stir the zucchini and the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until just moistened. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.

6. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool for at least one hour before serving. (The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

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  1. So beautiful and cute! Such classic flavours to enjoy!

  2. So colorful! What a great way to use up zuccini. They look soo good!!!

  3. Oh I agree, I’m so jealous of people who have beautiful and full gardens! I do have the space for one, but my black thumb won’t allow me to have much success.

    These look fantastic. I wish I could have one right now!

  4. Hahahahahah! So funny 🙂 Beautiful pictures. Those look delicious!

  5. Haha, I hear ya! My garden didn’t flourish this year due to poor weather, so I missed out on an abundance of homegrown zucchini and tomatoes – but thank goodness for the farmers markets around here 🙂

    Love those muffins! Great recipe!

  6. I share that envy and it’s no wonder I have a black thumb. Someday, we’ll have our gardens so we can chime in about how we have too many veggies on had to know what to do with! I love that you made these in muffin form – yum!

  7. Now that we have a house, I’m hoping to plant a garden next year. I would love to have so many fresh herbs! These look fabulous!

  8. Mmmm I love this recipe! Your muffins look so yummy! Besides my 2 tomato plants and a few herbs, I’m homegrown veggie-less as well. Maybe one day…

  9. Ugh, I hate when people say stuff like that! I can’t keep any plants alive so I’d do anything to have an overflowing garden of goodies.

    The muffins look delicious. I think I’ll pick up some zucchini this weekend and give this recipe a try.

  10. zucchini bread in little bites! I’m not sure if this mini size method would actually make you eat more because you don’t have to go through the “trouble” of cutting a slice- probably it does 🙂

  11. Oh Bridget..I love how good you make zucchini bread look!! Sigh, someday..I too will have a house so that I can grow my own herbs. I will leave the zucchini and tomato growing up to you 🙂 My MIL seems to think that I can grow them on the patio of my porch. Oh the horror.

  12. I LOVE zucchini bread! You’ve inspired me to give this recipe a whirl. Everything looks delish! :o)

  13. treewhisperer says:

    well, i have a house…and a big garden! and there isn’t much extra of anything this year except a bumper crop of butternut squash! (of all things-those usually don’t perform here) not much in the way of zucchini and i am bummed because i had PLANS for all that “extra” crop!

    you have ideas for butternut squash that is easy and tasty? want to come and help me use it all? 🙂 miss you!

  14. They surely turned out beautiful! Who doesn’t love baking and zucs!

  15. Bunnies4Buddha says:

    These look really good – I will have to try them. I would have liked to see a picture of the bright green water.

  16. bridget says:

    B4B – It’s pretty interesting stuff. It looked the same as this.

  17. Haha I understand completely. I always wish I was one of those people overwhelmed by the veggies produced by their gardens! These muffins look terrific!

  18. I have been searching for a good zucchini bread recipe – thank you for posting this. Lovely photos that show your love of cooking.

  19. Your zucchini bread muffins look fantastic!

  20. Thank you for this recipe, Bridget. I made it for a work potluck yesterday and it was fantastic. I substituted whole-wheat pastry flour for half of the all purpose (as you have recommended in other posts) with good results, but it also occurred to me that using some cornmeal in place of the flour might be good with the zucchini.