zucchini bread, done small

Is it a vegetable disguised as a treat, or a treat pretending to be good for you?  It might be both.

Morning Glory Farm on Martha’s Vineyard always has the best zucchini bread, and I love to grab a loaf when I get on-island.  When I was there a few weeks ago, though, it was not only too early for the market to be open, but the farm stand was also rebuilding after a fire last summer.  Not having the chance to pick up the bread made me really want it – or want to at least track down the recipe.

Then came the Great Zucchini Incident, in which I made breaded zucchini sticks as a vegetable for dinner, and bad, bad things happened.  The failure of the side dish left me with a few extra zucchinis, and no one but me to eat them.  Flash back to the zucchini bread, and the mini muffin tins that I’d just found on sale: little muffins, with vegetables hidden inside.  It was an inspired solution!

Or not.  Apparently, my broccoli- and radish- and spinach-loving children just cannot be tricked into zucchini.  Which means that, of the 24 mini muffins I made, I’ve now eaten 20.  And that is because this recipe, from Food & Wine, is exactly what I had in mind – moist, slightly sweet, with a hint of cinnamon.  No nuts, no raisins, nothing that makes a carrot cake chunky.  And I don’t know if it’s the cinnamon or the reaction of the ingredients with the zucchini or what, but the insides of these – like the bread at Morning Glory – are inexplicably a blushy pink.

I think these may be one more reason to start that garden, after all.

This recipe will make one loaf, 12 regular muffins, or 24 mini muffins – you’ll just need to adjust the baking time.  They’re ready when a tester inserted into the middle of the loaf or muffin comes out clean.  Aim for about an hour for a loaf, a half hour for regular muffins and 15 minutes for the minis.

Zucchini Bread
(Food & Wine, October 2004)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pound zucchini, coarsely shredded

Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a loaf pan, a regular muffin tin, or 2 mini muffin tins and coat it with sugar (or spray with Pam baking spray.)

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In a large bowl, whisk the canola oil with the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add the shredded zucchini.

Stir the dry ingredients into zucchini batter.

Pour the zucchini bread batter into the prepared pan and bake – about 50 minutes for the loaf, 30 minutes for the muffins, or 15 minutes for the mini muffins.  A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

Let the zucchini bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: The zucchini bread can be frozen for up to 2 months or refrigerated for up to 5 days.

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