Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

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On a recent drive back from a wedding in Bar Harbor, Greg and I stopped by the home of one of his friends in Portland, Maine. After a delightful lunch and a quick tour of the city (Portland, by the way, is pretty cool), we went on our way, with the addition of one giant squash and one monstrous zucchini taken from our friends' garden.

 

What's a girl to do? She's to make Zucchini bread!

 

I've been wanting to adapt my favorite bran muffin recipe to include zucchini for a while now. It took two tries to work out the kinks to this recipe. The trick, it seems, is correctly balancing the moisture of the grated zucchini with the amount of milk, soy milk, buttermilk or yogurt. Since moisture content of zucchini varies with the size of the zucchini (larger = more watery), I'm going to suggest that you adapt the quantity of fluid ingredients based on whether you're using typical, medium-sized grocery store zucchini or the behemoth, overgrown garden zucchini variety (take out a few tablespoons of milk). I added an extra egg to increase the stability of the flour, and I nixed the white flour. I also chose to use pumpkin butter in this recipe because that's what I had in my pantry... You could just as easily add a applesauce, pumpkin puree, or a little extra yogurt in its place.

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Why is this recipe a good one? Let me list the reasons:

(1) You can make it one bowl, if you'd like

(2) You can adapt the ingredients to whatever you'd like

(3) There's a lot of zucchini in this recipe.

(4) The bread is moist, tender, and barely sweet, with hints of the fall flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger.

(5) You can still adapt this recipe further. I kept the zucchini loaf itself plain, but I sprinkled some ground extra sugar, ground nuts and pumpkin seeds on top (see picture above; they all fell off). It would have been better if I had stirred everything in them in. You could add in some ground or toasted nuts (walnuts might be nice), a little extra sugar for sweetness, ground flax, oats, or double the spices for a super fall-themed treat.

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Note: less liquid gives you crumbly muffins, and more liquid gives you a soft cake. I am suggesting a dairy ratio for the typical size of zucchini. If you use the massively overgrown zucchini that I did, then take out a few tablespoons of soy milk. You could also substitute 1 1/4 cup buttermilk or play with the milk/yogurt ratio -- I've made the recipe (sans zucchini) with all sorts of dairy combinations, and it's always good. Don't be afraid to cut back by a tablespoon or two on the milk if your grated zucchini has a lot of moisture; it's probably better to lean towards too dry of a batter, since this recipe makes a very moist batter to begin with. If you make this batter and the moisture balance seems off (say, it's dripping off the spoon in large droplets rather sliding or plopping off the spoon in huge blobs), you can always stir in a little extra flour before baking it.

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut parchment to fit the bottom of a loaf pan and use a little butter to secure it in place. If the pan is not non-stick, be sure to butter the walls of the pan. Sift together:

1 cup wheat bran

180g whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Stir in spices and nuts, if desired:

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

Dash of nutmeg

~1 cup toasted nuts, optional

In a medium bowl, blend together:

3/4 cup soy milk + 1/2 cup yogurt *

1/2 cup sweetener of choice (I mix 4 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp honey and 2 tbsp molasses - it's worth the extra effort, I promise)

1/2 cup pumpkin butter

2 large eggs

3 tbsp vegetable oil

Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir in:

2 cups grated zucchini

Pour into  loaf pan. Bake until the tops spring back when pressed gently in the center, about 45-60 minutes.

1 comment:

liz said...

This looks awesome, Rachael -- and healthy, too. I'm going to have to make it once I get some pumpkin butter (my favorite!)