If you are like me, a trip to the garden often results in the discovery of an overlooked zucchini squash that has grown far past its prime. But if your family is like my family, saute'd zucchini on a dinner plate somehow doesn't generate the same squeals of joy as the warm spiciness of one of our seasonal favorites, Zucchini Bread. The high-moisture squash and the addition of Ultra Gel work together to create a deliciously moist bread, even with less oil than most recipes. The crust on this quick bread is a little crisp and a little sweet, and everyone fights to get the ends slices! And, like most quick breads, it freezes spectacularly, too, if there's any left!
1 hr, 20
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 2 ¼ cups zucchini - finely grated
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp allspice (opt)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup Ultra Gel® (www.carnetfoods.com or Amazon.com - Search for "Ultra Gel Super Sale" for best prices)
- Preheat the oven to 325.
- Peel zucchini like you would a potato or cucumber if desired. If the squash is fairly young and the peel is not tough, you can leave it on.
- If the center is pithy and hard seeds have formed, take a spoon and scrape those out, using only the fleshy walls.
- Grate zucchini until you have 2 1/4 c.
- Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat until frothy.
- Add sugar, vanilla flavoring and vegetable oil. Stir to combine.
- Add zucchini and beat lightly.
- Add the dry ingredients: flour, spices, salt, baking soda, baking powder and Ultra Gel. Mix until they are well-dispersed.
- Line two 8"x4" loaf tins or other appropriate baking containers with waxed paper (see photos) and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Pour batter into loaf tins or cupcake holders. It will be thick!
- Put into the oven and bake for 1 hour. For small tins, check after 45 minutes. Test with a toothpick in the center. If cooked, the toothpick will come out clean.
- Let the cooked loaves cool for about ten minutes, then use the waxed paper to help remove the loaves from the pans.
The best hints I can give for this quick bread are:
- Don't overmix for best texture. Mix until all the ingredients are moistened, but don't continue stirring, as it will result in a product that is tough. (For you food science junkies out there, the additional mixing, especially if the flour is fairly strong (high in protein), develops the gluten - the attribute that makes the dough stretchy. That is good in bread, but not so good in a tender quick bread).
- Use the right sized pan. The pan should be about 2/3 full of the batter for a well-shaped loaf. This recipe works best in 8" x 4" pans. If you use pans that are substantially larger, the loaf will be flat, and there's no shame in that--just isn't as pretty. Incidentally, this recipe works great in cupcake pans, too, or baby loaf tins. Just make sure they are filled about 2/3 full, as quick breads are dense and do not raise like a cake would.
- A quick bread that you can't get out of the pan without breaking is truly frustrating. My best trick is to use a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper the same length as the bottom of the baking pan. Fit the waxed/parchment paper into the bottom of the pan, then spray the entire inside of the pan with cooking spray, including the waxed/parchment paper. Leave the excess waxed/parchment paper hanging over the sides. They will become the "handles" when you want to remove the lovely bread from the pan. When the bread is done, give it about ten minutes to cool, then run a butter knife between the pan and the zucchini bread on the long ends to loosen the bread, then use the waxed/parchment paper "handles" to pull the bread from the pan. The waxed/parchment paper will peel off quite easily because it was sprayed with the pan spray.