Friday, August 23, 2013

Don't Be Afraid of Zucchini: Walnut Spice Zucchini Bread Edition

Tis the season when we have lots of zucchini in the garden ready to harvest.  Growing up, I HATED zucchini.  It always seemed mushy, flavorless, and blah.  My grandfather grew it in his backyard garden and would get sooo excited about them.  I just didn't get it. That is until I took a chance one summer and decided to grow it myself.  I harvest them when they are little, unlike the giant mammoth zucchini I saw growing up.  What a difference. They are little bites of garden freshness!  I put them in pasta sauces, stir fry, and I bake with them.  I also learned that there are lots of health benefits to this little veggie like vitamin A, potassium, folate and calcium. I also cook with zucchini flowers- I stuff them with a spicy goat cheese mixture and lightly batter them before quickly giving them a fry. They are so delicious!

Beautiful walnut spice zucchini bread
This recipe is amazing- it creates a bread that has hints of sweet, spicy, and savoury goodness.  I adapted it from this recipe from Martha Stewart.


Wet ingredients:
3 small zucchini, ideally fresh from the farmer's market or garden
1 cup medium to dark brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp granulated white sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla bean paste (it has a nice syrupy consistency and is packed with flavor)
2 large eggs

Dry ingredients:
1 & 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 & 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp fine sea salt

1/4 cup of walnut pieces


More details after the cut!

1) I start off with a loaf pan and using a non-stick spray, I coat the inside completely. I also pre-heat my oven to 350 degrees.
One of my prized possessions- a loaf pan from my grandmother. She was a fantastic baker- she grew up in a very large family and would tell stories of baking her first loaf of bread at the age of six. 
2) Grate the zucchini until you have 1 & 3/4 cups of shredded pieces.

3) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the sugars, vanilla paste, oil, and eggs.

The mixture will get a creamy consistency.
4) In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.

5) Add the mixed dry ingredients to your bowl of wet ingredients.  Stir it together until it forms a batter.  Warning: it smells amazing!

This is the batter consistency you should achieve after mixing it together. 
6) Add the shredded zucchini to the mixture, and mix well.

7) Pour the batter mixture into your greased loaf pan.  Then, sprinkle walnut pieces on top.  Press them in a tiny bit so they're in the batter.

8) Put the pan in the hot oven and bake for between 50-55 minutes.  Use a toothpick, insert it into the center of the loaf to test to see if it's finished. If the toothpick comes out of the loaf clean with no sticky residue, it's ready to come out.

9) I like to sprinkle a very light touch of coarse sea salt on it and then leave it to cool.  Once completely cooled, remove from the loaf pan.

There are so many wonderful ways to enjoy this bread- you can have it with jam (I recommend my lavender honey blueberry jam as an example), use it in French toast, or have it just on its own with a little bit of butter.  Goes very well with a hot cup of tea or coffee. Enjoy!

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