Friday, September 10, 2010

Zucchini Bread

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
2 eggs
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 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!



Jess @ Sugar High said...

They both look good, but I would definitely reach for yours first. It looks great!

Love the pictures, what a cutie!

Heather @ 3 kids and lots of pigs said...

This makes me laugh as my mother-in-law tried a new zucchini bread recipe last weekend. It was a honey zucchini bread recipe that also had some healthier ingredients in it. We were all excited to try it; however, we never did. After she took one bite, she threw it away. She said it tasted horrible and wasn't going to let any of us try it.

I love the pictures too. She is such a cutie!!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Things are not always what we hope they will be. Your model, however, is a real cutie-pie. It is hard to let go of a recipe you love. This was the fates way of letting you know you shouldn't :-) I hope you had a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

julie said...

I love Zucchini Bread and I will definatly give your recipe a try. Thanks for posting!

Katy ~ said...

Gosh, I haven't made zucchini bread in AGES. Maybe tomorrow...I have zucchini that I was going to use in a nice healthy casserole, but now I'm thinking that bread is a much better choice!!

Catherine said...

This looks wonderful Krista! I've tried zucchini bread once, but I'll have to make it again soon, using this recipe!
Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

Catherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather S-G said...

hee hee hee...she's so adorable ;) Yours looks waaay better. And a blt w/ pb...I'm intrigued...definitely trying that next time =)

Megan said...

Tour daughter is to precious! I loved her pictures! Your zuchinni bread sounds better then an oat version. I say hey, there's zuchinni in it, That makes it healthy enough!

Kim said...

Your daughter is so precious!! She sure did love that zucchini bread - LOL.

They both look good, but I think I would prefer your recipe as well. I guess we tend to go with what's familiar to us.
Hope you're doing good! It's been a little busy here and I haven't been around much, but I'm catching up.

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