This time of year, gardens and farmers’ markets are abundant with produce. One crop in particular that seems to grow almost overnight is zucchini. There are so many great cooking options with zucchini—you can simply sauté it, make soup, shave it thin for salad, or make stuffed zucchini boats—but my favorite recipe is my grandmother’s zucchini bread.
My grandmother inspired my love of cooking. I remember many summers picking zucchini in her garden, and my job was to grate it for the bread. I would pore through her cookbooks and hand-written recipe cards, many stained and marked up with her notes, while we waited for it to bake. Now, like my grandmother, I have a large collection of cookbooks that I pore over, making notes just as she did.
There is nothing better than slicing into a fresh loaf of zucchini bread, your kitchen fragrant with the smell of cinnamon, and eating a slice with soft butter and a touch of honey. It is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon snack. You can also spread it with cream cheese and make tea sandwiches to serve on the side of a salad.
MAKES ONE LOAF
• 1 1/2 cups, zucchini, grated and drained (approximately 2 medium zucchini)
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup light brown sugar
• 1/2 cup canola oil
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
• 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar or granulated sugar
• Wash the zucchini, cut off stem ends, and grate on the larger holes of a box grater. When you have 1 1/2 packed cups, place the grated zucchini in a colander and drain for 30 minutes to an hour. Press down several times to release the juices.
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a standard 9 x 5-inch loaf pan lightly with non-stick spray and lightly flour. Set aside.
• In a large bowl, mix together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, canola oil, and vanilla. When mixture is well blended, stir in the beaten eggs. Add the grated zucchini and mix to combine.
• In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the wet zucchini mixture and stir until combined. If using, stir in the walnuts.
• Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle top with the two tablespoons of turbinado or granulated sugar, then place in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 50 – 55 minutes, until the top is set and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
• Let bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.