Zucchini Bread Evolution
A couple of years ago I was busy working on developing a recipe for that 70s era favorite, zucchini bread, when after several ho-hum attempts (you can't believe how much oil people used to use!) I enlisted the help of my Aunt Honey Moore, an avid cook and gardener in Jacksonville, Florida. We lobbed recipe tweaks--and even mailed tastings--back and forth until we were pleased with the results of our golden raisin zucchini loaf. Moist but not oily, flavorful with just the right crumb. One of the breakthroughs came with Aunt Honey's addition of Greek yogurt...
As the zucchini crop came in this year Aunt Honey decided to try a variation adding dried cranberries, with an eye to potential Christmas gifts, and found that the golden raisins and cranberries created a pretty stained glass effect on the slices. She also discovered, through a happy accident, that adding the toasted walnuts on top instead of mixed in created a lovely crunchy top, and having forgotten the oil entirely discovered it didn't necessarily need it, as long as you didn't mind a more springy texture.
After staring down a giant zucchini that had evaded discovery in the garden when it was at its most tender, I jumped back into the zucchini bread fray myself. This time round I decreased the oil a little, substituted diced apples for the raisins and added oats and molasses for an autumn feel. The results, and recipe, below.
Fall Apple-Zucchini Bread
Yield 1 loaf
1 ¼ cups flour
¼ cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil (optional)
¼ cup Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
½ cup peeled, diced apple (or ¼ cup golden raisins, ¼ cup dried cranberries)
1 cup grated zucchini, liquid squeezed out
½ cup chopped toasted walnuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 4 ½ by 8 ½-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, molasses, oil, yogurt, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir in the apple and zucchini.
Gradually mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Spoon the batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle the walnuts over the top.
Bake the loaf 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean--start checking at 50 minutes so as to not overcook. Transfer to a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan. When cooled, slice and serve.