Friday, September 10, 2010
Mmmm. A warm slice of my favorite zucchini bread slathered with sweet, creamy butter. Add a good cup of coffee to the mix and I am a happy woman. This is pure comfort food to me. I've been baking the same zucchini bread recipe since I was a little girl. It's easy to make and absolutely delicious. I have no need for a new zucchini bread recipe. Often when I am eating a dish, I am thinking about what it still needs. More spice? A certain ingredient to add to the taste or color or texture? More or less baking time? But when I am eating the zucchini bread of my childhood, I am not thinking about any of these things. It's just right.
Still, last week, I decided to try a new zucchini bread recipe. Zucchini-Oat Bread. It was one of those prize tested recipe winners from Better Homes and Gardens magazine in 2008. I figured that it had to be good. It won a prize, after all. Plus, it's healthier than my recipe: packed with oats, a whole extra cup of zucchini, AND applesauce instead of oil. I was feeling good about all of that healthy "stuff" in there. This recipe is a little trickier than mine, though. More steps.
For instance, you need to beat the eggs with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until foamy.
Because I have a stand mixer, I just walked away while this happened and measured the dry ingredients into a bowl.
Add the sugar, applesauce, butter, and vanilla to the eggs.
Then mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Finally, stir in the zucchini and nuts. I had some pictures of these steps and then somehow accidentally erased them. Ooops. So here we have fast forwarded to the batter in the prepared bread pan.
I was just getting ready to pop the bread into the oven when I suddenly remembered that I forgot to add cinnamon to the batter. The recipe called for 2 whole teaspoons of cinnamon in the bread, plus 1/4 teaspoon for the cinnamon-sugar topping. It was intended to taste a little cinnamon-ey. I couldn't leave it out! So....I carefully cut the cinnamon in with a knife.
I sprinkled the top of the loaf with cinnamon and sugar before baking for one hour and twenty minutes, or until the bread tests done.
Cool the loaf on a rack before removing from the pan. I removed mine a little early.(I was supposed to be 2 places within 15 minutes and I still had bread cooling...something had to give). It stuck. Luckily, I was able to scrape the bottom of the loaf out of my pan and patch it back together.
After making the Zucchini-Oat bread recipe, I had just enough zucchini left over to make my favorite zucchini bread. They really are quite different. Here's a picture of the two loaves, side by side. While the bottom of the Zucchini Oat-Bread (pictured on the right) stuck when I removed it from the pan, the top of my zucchini bread (left) crumbled when I took it out of the pan. Neither one of these loaves was going to take first prize at the fair. I will provide one excuse for the top of my bread crumbling...I decided to sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar like I did with the Zucchini-Oat bread. It seemed like a good idea. The cinnamon and sugar created a crumbly little crust that flaked off when I inverted it. Next time, I'll just stick to my recipe. It's sweet enough without sprinkling extra sugar on top.
Here's a cross-sectional comparison. The Zucchini-Oat Bread was heavy and dense. It was also a little chewy.
My bread had a finer, more tender crumb. It's sweeter and overall (much) better tasting.
It was an easy choice which bread to slice for my morning coffee the next day. The zucchini-oat bread may be healthier, but I didn't care for it at all.
Of course, I am biased. I grew up with "my" zucchini bread. I think sometimes we like what we're comfortable with, what we're used to. For example, I eat my BLT sandwiches with peanut butter. Why? Because that's how my mom made them for me. Of course, I think this is the best way to prepare a BLT, but I know that most people have no desire to try this flavor combination. Maybe I didn't care for the zucchini-oat bread because it was so different from what I am used to. To be sure that it wasn't just me, I arranged both types of bread on a plate and I took it over to my neighbor's house for an after school snack. My zucchini bread quickly disappeared and I brought the plate home with almost all of the zucchini-oat bread still on it. Yep. Bragging rights. : ) Although, if you're interested in the healthier, Zucchini-Oat Bread, you can click the link HERE. The three people who reviewed this recipe on the BHG site all loved it. I'm starting to wonder if I did something wrong. Hmmm.
Here's my Zucchini Bread recipe:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup shredded, skin-on zucchini
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk the sugar and eggs together for 1 minute. Stir in the zucchini, water, and oil. Combine the dry ingredients. Stir into the egg mixture until just combined. Pour the batter into a greased bread pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
For a printable copy of this recipe, please click here.
I handed my toddler a slice of the zucchini bread after it cooled enough to slice, then I grabbed for my camera and quietly sat back to capture her reaction. I was amused with how she used her senses to explore the new treat.
Mmmm. Smells good.
Maybe I should cuddle with it? It feels nice when I press it against my face, like this.
I guess I'll take a bite.
Hmmm. Is that nutmeg in there? Maybe a little cinnamon? Yummy.
I do like zucchini bread. I do like it, Sam I am.
Hey, I recognize that song. Oooh. Is that Dora on t.v.?
It IS Dora! Backpack....backpack.
Oh wait. I'm still holding this zucchini bread. I better eat it fast so mommy lets me go watch Dora.
What, mommy? What do you mean take smaller bites?
But I want to go watch Dora...WITH my snack...in the other room.
NO? No?! Really? Well I'll show you, lady! Here's what I think of your silly rules about eating on the carpet and taking smaller bites!