Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Zucchini Bread, A Freezer's Best Friend

Breakfast is my least favorite meal for no good reason. Literally. I have had a devil of a time finding food worth eating which was available before 11 am. Ask my poor parents who finally got me to agree, at a demanding age seven, to eat canned pears on top of Entemann's pound cake ( I still love that grainy cool pear texture against things soft, sweet, and spongy). Last fall my Godmother went into the hospital and I had cause to figure out what she might like to have at home when she returned. She is not a sweet eater, generally. Over the years she has been kind enough to try anything I made but this was no time for obnoixious experimentations with cloyingly sweet Gorilla Breads and the like (Amy pulled that duty, bravely). I have an old Banana Bread receipe scribbled on a piece of paper from many years ago. I began there, and ended here. Now look, do not be afraid to bake, just follow the amounts I have give you exactly and you will be pleased. If you have some of the spices, not all, have no fear, use what you have, leave out what you don't. The baking soda, powder, flour and salt, in anything you bake is critical, however.

This is now a freezer staple for me, the finicky breakfast girl. It is dark and lusty, worthy of thin pieces toasted with good butter, though I eat it thicker and in any state of warmth. Eat my bread, conquer the world.

Two things of which to be mindful:
1. The more butter you use in buttering your loaf pan, the more deliciously crusty and tasty the sides of the loaf, do not be mizerly!
2. The zest appears in many things I make to freshen the flavors, and works like a charm;
I have used lemon zest with equally pleasant results.

Zucchini Bread
North Salem, September 2007

1/4 cup butter, softened, more for greasing pan generously
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup dark brown sugar or muscavado
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup shredded skin-on zucchini
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces
1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Butter a loaf pan very generously with the additional butter.
With a mixer, combine the butter, oil, and dark brown sugar until incorporated evenly and smooth in appearance. Add the eggs to this butter mixture and mix until incorporated. Add the sifted flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in three separate additions. Mix once again until smooth. Squeeze and drain the shredded zucchini. Fold zucchini, pecans, and orange zest into batter. Pour batter into the buttered loaf pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes until golden brown or until the center of the cake bounces back to your touch. Remove from the oven and allow to sit 10 minutes before overturning pan on a cooling rack. Allow to cool another 20 minutes before slicing, if you are able! Makes one loaf, or enough to ultimately satisfy only a small rodent

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