It’s hard to wait 24 hours, but it’s oh-so-worth-it.

Timeless Zucchini Bread

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Not everyone is a morning person.

Unfortunately for those people, I am comically attuned to the dawn, while 9 PM might as well be temporal kryptonite. “Why should that affect other people?” you might be rightfully wondering.

I am frightfully forgetful of the fact that I am an early riser. This means that if I see something amusing and worth sharing on my walk to the gym, I innocently think, “Ha! I should tell Scott about that funny bird, he’ll be delighted!” and don’t always manage to catch myself before I send a ringtone-inducing text message to my peacefully sleeping friend at 5 in the morning.

(Note: he may have found the bird more charming in the afternoon.)

Nevertheless, I am not alone; I have found some like-minded folks volunteering at the food bank on weekday mornings. For sharing my debilitating penchant for early activities, they are now also the victims of my baking addiction.

Last week, they graciously (even enthusiastically!) tolerated my foisting this zucchini bread upon them — I hope they’re as fond of muffins because I haven’t baked those delicious little devils for at least a week, and my muffin pan is getting cold!

For real, though, whether you eat breakfast at 7 AM or 7 PM, this zucchini bread is definitely worth your time. It’s quick and easy to pull together (one bowl! no mixer! no wringing out or peeling your zucchini!), softly spiced with gentle and loving restraint, and possessing a crumb so plush and moist you almost won’t believe you can really eat this for breakfast. A hearty slice of this gorgeous loaf will rival anything you can get at your local coffee shop.

Be it a coffee time or cocktail hour, happy baking!

Ultimate Zucchini Bread (from the ever-magnificent Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (13 oz, 370 g) grated, packed zucchini, not wrung out, grated on the large holes of a box grater, no need to peel (this came out to ~2 + 1/2 wee garden zucchini)
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) neutral oil (like canola or safflower), olive oil, or melted unsalted butter (I used a blend of canola and olive because I had partial bottles of each I wanted to use up — yay to pantry cleaning!)
  • 1/2 cup (95 g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 + 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I was a little heavy-handed with the spice — though restrained for me — and have no regrets)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon (25 g) raw or turbinado sugar (optional)

Protocol:

  1. Position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 350 F.
  2. Butter/grease and flour a 6-cup or 9x5-inch loaf pan, tapping out excess flour.
  3. Place grated zucchini in a large bowl and add oil, eggs, sugars, vanilla, and salt. Use a fork to mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder over the batter's surface and mix until combined — and then, for extra measure, give it 10 extra stirs (just to be safe).
  5. Add flour and mix until just combined.
  6. Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with raw or turbinado sugar — don’t be afraid to be generous; this will give you a gorgeous, crispy, upper crust.
  7. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes (mine took a full hour) until a toothpick or tester inserted into both the middle of the loaf and also the top of the cake, closer to the dome, comes out batter-free.
  8. Let cool completely in the pan. Leave in the pan, unwrapped, overnight or 24 hours, until removing (carefully, so as not to ruin the flaky lid) and serving in thick slices. Zucchini bread keeps for 4–5 days at room temperature. As Deb suggests, I wrap only the cut end of the loaf (let’s be honest, it’s a cake we can eat for breakfast) and keep the whole kit and kaboodle in the baking pan, leaving the top exposed so that it stays crunchy.

Happy snacking!

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