I know what you’re thinking. But this time, it’s not me tooting my own horn. It was Gabrielle who declared this recipe the “best zucchini bread [she’d] ever tasted,” after sampling a piece on our almost-weekly MarioKart-at-Maddie’s date. This prompted us to discuss at length the common pitfalls of zucchini bread: notably, an oily texture that leaves napkin and mouth alike feeling greasy, or a loaf that’s shiny on the outside, but dry and crumbly on the in-.
The whole point of using zucchini in a cake or bread is to retain moisture, but this also means that you don’t need to go heavy on the fats. My recipe (which Gabrielle now insists is all she needs for Christmas) uses unsweetened applesauce instead of oil, providing the springy, cakey texture you want without the oily mouthfeel. I also use half whole wheat flour for more nutritional punch. If you’re making this as a breakfast item, rather than a dessert, you could definitely use all whole wheat flour. I also don’t bother peeling the zucchini, as the skin adds fiber and is grated up so finely that it makes no different texture-wise.
In this version, I’m using classic spices that remind me of the holidays: cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The great thing about zucchini bread is that you can use it as a canvas for pretty much any flavor combination you want. Instead of vanilla, add orange extract, and top with candied orange peel. Use lemon juice and grate in some fresh zest. Add raisins or nuts. You know me. I encourage improvising!
(I do want to apologize for the crappy photo that accompanies this post. My camera has been freaking out since Thanksgiving in New York, so I was forced to take a placeholder pic on my aged candybar phone.)
- 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, unpacked
- 1/2 cup white flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cloves
Preheat your oven to 325° Fahrenheit. Lightly grease or spray the bottom of a standard-sized loaf pan.
In one bowl, mix grated zucchini, applesauce, egg, and vanilla. Stir in sugars until completely dissolved. In another bowl, whisk or sift together all other dry ingredients. Gently fold wet ingredients into flour mixture, just until combined. Scrape into loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan before slicing.