Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Zucchini Madness

My mom did a lot of renovation on her garden while I was away at college, mostly so it's smaller and she can actually take care of it. This summer her garden has grown gargantuan zucchinis. Seriously, they fill up the window sill above the kitchen sink. We have had piles of these zucchini sitting in the garden and in the window awaiting us to figure out what to do with them. Of course, that means zucchini bread is in order - especially after I found Cooking Light's "Lemon-Glazed Zucchini Quick Bread".

The recipe description says "the citrus-y glaze makes it special enough for dessert" and let me tell you there is no lie there. I have baked over 4 loaves (I've sort of lost track at this point) of this and it is devoured a little over 24 hours later. My mother brought one into work and they called it cake and kept coming back for more. One woman even dreamed of it and wanted to break into work to take the leftovers. And, I mean, just look at it:

All that should attest for the sweet, moist, delicious bread that I'm about to pass onto you.

Ingredients Include:
  • 2 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (I say whole wheat rather than their all-purpose, better for you and extra delicious)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or canola)
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 large egg
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Begin by shredding the zucchini if you haven't yet, this takes the longest unless you're actually grating lemon rind by hand (oh god, the tediousness), so make sure you have those two things done and ready to make the whole process less painful. My mixer had a great shredding attachment where I just pushed the zucchini through and it popped into the bowl all shredded - this is helpful.

Then preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Get a large bowl and add the whole wheat flour. Combine with next six ingredients (aka granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg) and once combined make a well in the center of the mixture.

In another, probably smaller bowl, combine the 2 cups zucchini, milk, oil, lemon rind, and egg. Get that all mixed up nicely so you have a moist mixture and add it to the dry flour mixture. Stir it all up until all of the flour mixture is moist. It'll look like a nice brown and green mixture and should taste really yummy - I end up licking the bowl just like I do with brownie or cake mix. Grease an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with the cooking spray (be sure to get the sides!) and bake at 350 for around 50 minutes. Long time, right? I usually set my timer for around 45 minutes and check up on it. If you double the recipe to make two loaves (which we did with our giant zucchini) it'll take longer, but 45 is a good time to check up on it. Using a toothpick to make sure the center is set and it comes out clean is the best way to really know.

Then be sure to cool the loaf in the pan for a few minutes (5-10 preferably). Then remove the loaf from the pan. It'll be a lot easier if you stick a butter knife all around the edges of the pan to make sure it's not sticking. Then flip onto a wire rack and cool completely. And I mean completely. I didn't let mine cool 100% and the glaze drooped a little more than it should have on the warm loaf. Be patient, it'll be worth it.

Once it's cool you can make your lemon glaze! Be sure to sift the powdered sugar, because that makes all the difference. If you want it a little less sweet or less glaze you can cut down on the amounts - I did that for later batches to cut back on calories. Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice, whisk, and drizzle all over the loaf. I was happy with the cracks in the top of my loaf, because it let the glaze seep into it and create a cool look. Then you have your beautiful zucchini bread to enjoy, share, and feel good about. I mean, it's only 190 calories for a slice and has 3 grams of protein. So don't feel bad about having a sweet zucchini dessert.

- Mollie

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