Zucchini season is hardly over. Unless you snag them when they are little, as in less than 8 inches long, they have the potential to turn into the famous squash found on the back seat of unlocked cars. (By the way, I’ve heard that story about accordions, violas and other miscellaneous purportedly undesirables.)
If I can trust my log of Taste Buds columns, we have not had a zuke bread recipe here in years, if ever, and it is time to trot out that old favorite way to gobble up big zucchini. Numerous households I know make it and freeze some during the winter months. For example, my neighbor Nancy cranks them out in summer, then takes them with her to Sugarloaf for her and her husband Terry’s enjoyment during ski season. She doesn’t have to bake while they are there which gives her time on cross country trails or in the swimming pool. A good idea.
I acquired a recipe for zucchini bread when I worked at the old Dark Harbor House Bed and Breakfast Inn back along, yikes, 30-something years ago. The owner, Matt Skinner, gave me his mom’s recipe to use, which I baked into small loaves that we sliced up for breakfast breads.
Since those days, I’ve whacked a half cup of sugar out of the recipe when I make it for us, though in the recipe below I’ve left it in. Feel free to do likewise if, like me, too much sugar makes your teeth ache even in imagination.
Even small loaves take an hour to bake and they are handy because a large loaf may languish half-consumed in the bread box after meeting initial appreciation — unless you have many hungry eaters to supply. I made three 7-by-3.5-by-3-inch loaves this week: one for family, one for a hostess gift and one to share with friends at a lunch meeting.
I put pecans in my breads. Leave them out if you have nut allergies or if you don’t have pecans (or walnuts). Add a few raisins if you want, or dried cranberries. Some recipes call for grated lemon peel; a couple of teaspoons do the trick. Let me know if you have a good or better recipe for zuke bread, or if you have one for a savory version.
Get out the iced tea or coffee, cut off slabs of zucchini bread and then take them out to your front porch for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. It tastes better with cream cheese on it. Of course!
Mrs. Skinner’s Zucchini Bread
Makes 3 small loaves or 1 large
2 cups flour
1 scant tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 cups sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease and flour three small loaf pans or one large loaf pan.
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder, then set aside.
Beat the eggs until frothy, then add in sugar and beat.
Add the vegetable oil and vanilla and beat until they are incorporated.
Spoon in and mix the dry ingredients until incorporated.
Fold in the zucchini and nuts.
Spoon into the pans, and bake for one hour, or until a tester inserted comes out clean and the bread pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Let cool for a few minutes then turn out.