Zucchini Bread

The first thing I learned to bake was zucchini bread. My mother has been making it since I can remember, and growing up, my sister and I would try to help when we could (mostly to lick the bowl, but sometimes to do some mixing too). The first time I made it on my own I was very careful to follow the recipe exactly, leveling each measuring cup and not straying a pinch from the instructions. It was probably the last time I was so precise!

Today, I have trouble following recipes closely, mostly because I like to improvise. My zucchini bread has definitely fallen suit, having seen some great – and not so great – variation over the years. I’ve finally landed a variation of the original that I like best. See below for the original Spiegel recipe with my simple, optional modifications for this semi-sweet, all-purpose bread that makes a great breakfast, side or dessert.

A few key ingredients in this bread make it what it is. The zucchini, of course, is the defining ingredient. Shredded, it brings moisture and a binding property to the flour, sugar and eggs. The less expected crushed pineapple is the magic ingredient, however, packing the already moist bread with bursts of sweet, juicy, chunks of fruit. I like to use some of the pineapple juice in place of some sugar and oil, and I compensate for the lost heft of those two ingredients by adding some non-fat plain yogurt. I also like to use two thirds whole wheat flour and one third white flour, for added texture. However this zucchini bread is made, the combination of zucchini, crushed pineapple, and spices – nutmeg and cinnamon to be specific –  is the heart of this comforting, summer recipe.

I’ve impressed a lot of friends over the years with my zucchini bread, and have even made friends over it, having tricked all of them into believing that I’m a half-way decent baker. This bread is almost fail-safe, however, and with the years of practice I’ve had baking it, I should hope it tastes as good as it does!

For the recipe and what to cook next

Original Spiegel Family Recipe

3 Eggs
1 Cup Oil (Canola)
2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Shredded Zucchini
3 Cups Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 Can Crushed Pineapple (8 oz)
1 tsp. Salt
3/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder

Alison’s Modified Recipe

3 Eggs
1/2 Cup Oil and 1/2 Cup of Non-Fat Plain Yogurt                                                            
1 1/2 Cup of Sugar                                     
2 Cups Shredded Zucchini
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour, 1 Cup White Flour 
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 Can Crushed Pineapple (8 oz): Don’t drain the pineapple – pour in the juice
1 tsp. Salt
3/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder

 

– Mix eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla until thick
– Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well
– Pour into greased loaf pans (2)
– Bake at 350 degrees for 50 – 60 minutes

 

What to do with leftover crushed pineapple? Bake carrot muffins with pineapple! Leftover zucchini? Salt slices and let them sit for about 15 minutes, then dust them in flour and fry them in hot olive oil for a delicious, crunchy appetizer.