I’ve spent the entire summer upping my game in the zucchini bread department.
To say my loaf is perfect is subjective; my criteria was that it had to be different.
I wanted whole grain flour and honey, and possibly a crunchy top that you could pick at while the loaf cooled.
And because I’ve been obsessed with walnuts for the past year, I specifically envisioned them as a textural adornment (fit for a squirrel!).
Did you know walnuts contain a good amount of omega 3’s? I snacked on walnuts every single day with Greek yogurt, blueberries, and honey while writing my cookbook. My body craved it.
So does this zucchini bread.
In my quest to find my perfect loaf, I re-discovered two important facts about zucchini:
1.) When zucchini is local, fresh, and in season it will contain a good amount of water. This can wreak havoc on your recipes. To combat this, most recipes require squeezing out any excess moisture to prevent sogginess. On the other hand, out of season or particularly large zucchini tend to be more dry.
However, because my zucchini bread is made with whole grain flour, I skip the squeezing step. Whole grain flours actually need the extra moisture (they absorb more liquid when compared to all purpose flour).
2.) Shredding zucchini with a box grater yields different results than shredding via the food processor; it’s more watery. You can feel the difference in your hands when you compare the two, which is what I did. I first discovered this while preparing this recipe.
One shredding method is not necessarily better than the other. It’s just something to keep in mind. You might have to make adjustments as needed, adding more flour and/or liquid to your recipe as you go.
I chose to shred my zucchini with a box grater this time.
The rest is pretty straight forward:
I replaced all purpose flour with white whole wheat flour (see kitchen notes below) and threw in some quick oats for texture. Because quick oats are partially cooked, they will seamlessly absorb into the batter far better than thick old fashioned oats. No cardboard bread please!
For the sweetener, sugar was replaced with honey and for the spices, cinnamon, ginger and a dash of nutmeg join the party. Or in other words: everything in the spice cabinet that smells like fall.
Plump golden raisins and walnuts were folded into the batter and sprinkled over the top.
This zucchini loaf is lightly sweet, subtly spiced and and full of soft and crunchy bits.
The whole grains happily benefit from the extra moisture in the zucchini, and it’s perfect to have lying around on the kitchen counter (I fall victim to the 4 PM snack attack, daily). For the kids, I cut the bread into cubes and tuck them into their lunch boxes. I guess it’s officially time to say goodbye to zucchini season…
What have you been baking lately? Ever become obsessed with perfecting a recipe?
- Baked goods with honey will brown faster than those made with sugar. Keep an eye on your zucchini bread as it bakes.
- If you’re using in a glass 9×5-inch loaf pan, reduce the oven temperature to 325 F. This way, it won’t brown too quickly.
- I use ‘white’ whole wheat flour. It’s more mild than traditional whole wheat flour and lighter in color. In my opinion, it tastes somewhere in between all purpose flour and whole wheat flour.
- Walnuts can be pricey. Trader Joe’s carries walnut (and cashew) ‘pieces’ which are considerably cheaper (you’re going to chop them anyway). Check you local grocery store to see if this is an option for you.
- And on that note, if you don’t like nuts and raisins simply leave them out. It will still taste good either way!
- 1½ cups shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- ½ cup quick oats (not instant or old fashioned)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger (don't worry if you don't have this- it's optional)
- dash of nutmeg
- 2 extra large eggs
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- ⅔ cup honey
- 1 capful of pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp golden raisins
- 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper for easy removal.
- Using a box grater, shred the zucchini. and set aside. Do not squeeze out the excess moisture.
- Add all of the dry ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
- In a separate mixing bowl, add all of the wet ingredients. Whisk until fully blended.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Don't over mix- the bread will be tough!
- Gently fold the golden raisins and walnuts into the batter. Add the shredded zucchini, reserving a pinch or two to decorate the top of the loaf. Pour into your lined loaf pan.
- For the topping, scatter the rest of the raisins and walnuts over the top. Tuck them into the batter to prevent burning.
- Bake for about 40-60 minutes, checking at the 40 minute mark. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Cut into slices and enjoy!