Thursday, August 29, 2013

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

          Oh Summer and Fall, how you fill me with produce abundance happiness. I love this time of year. It is warm, the days are long, walks are frequent and one of the best parts of all, the farmer's markets are full of wondrous delights. There are exciting cheeses, breads, pickles, eggs-all great things. However, nothing tickles me more than the sight of the local and fresh produce that comes about. I sigh with happiness when I think about this time of year. I am particularly lucky at this moment because my good friends, the Bedard family, have an almost mini farm going in their backyard. It is a spectacular sight and filled with goodies!
          The other day I went over to their house to do some canning. We made cherry plum and peach-plum ginger jams. The smells that were wafting were incredible. I have two jars tucked away in my cabinet, and I am eagerly anticipating the moment I break into their sweet, fruity, gooey mess. I have been dreaming about spreading it thick on my toast with brie...yum. But, that is for another day, back to the Bedard's produce for now. I got to tour their gardens, and was given some of the fresh crop to take home. Like a giggly child, I smiled wide with arms full of chard, Hungarian peppers, snap peas, fava beans and one massive zucchini. I mean this bad boy of a zucch only took HALF to make the entire two cups of shredded zucchini needed for the bread, and that was de-seeded!
         Coming home with such a great handful of veggies, I obviously had to bake with some of them. So I turned to the age-old classic of zucchini bread. Really, what better way to celebrate this time of year than putting produce in your baked goods? For such a classic baked good, I turned to my American classic baking expert, Fannie Farmer, once again. The recipe is heavily spiced, so even mixing together the dry ingredients will start wafting smells to the baker's nostril. Then, when it starts baking and the scents really develop, you will probably notice your stomach start to grumble just as mine did.
Breakfast of Happiness: Sweet Zucchini Bread, Plain Yogurt, and Black Coffee.  Yum. 
        I did not add nuts because I did not have any on hand, but feel free to add up to two cups. I figured as long as I was "being healthy" by adding zucchini to my daily sugar and butter intake, I might as well make it half whole wheat too. I found the bread a perfect consistency of texture, and not to at all unpleasantly dense. Rather, it was an extremely moist and filling slice, with the still desired lightness of a teacake. I also added an orange glaze, because I mean really, who does not want some kind of drizzle atop all of their cake-like products. DO NOT SKIP THIS! The brightness of the orange was unbelievable with the spice of the cake. It provided the perfect compliment of flavors and the cake just would not have been as spectacular without it. I encourage you to enjoy with your tea at night sitting out on the porch, or nibble on for breakfast. It is a wonderful time of year when the Earth gives us so much we get to incorporate veggies in every meal-even breakfast and dessert! How fun! How exciting! How absolutely late summer, happiness!
The have some truly beautiful corn coming in! 
Oven Temp: 375 F (350 F at sea level)
Materials: I used a 10" Bundt Pan. You can also use a 9x13 for a thinner sheet cake or 2, 8x5 loaf pans for the most traditional shape. You can always tightly wrap a loaf in saran wrap and save it for later!
Cake Ingredients:
1 1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 C All-Purpose Flour
1 TBSP Baking Powder (scant at altitude, level at sea level) 
1/2 TSP Baking Soda (scant at altitude, level at sea level)
1 1/2 TSP Salt
2 TSP Cinnamon
1 TSP Nutmeg
1/2 TSP Cloves
2 C gently packed, grated raw zucchini*
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 C Sugar
1/2 C Milk (Soy, 2% or Whole are fine)
*If you have a large zucchini, make sure to de-seed it. Just cut it in half and scoop out the middle watery, seeded section. 

3/4 C Powdered Sugar
1 Freshly Squeezed Orange
A small splash of vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven. Grease and lightly flour your pan(s).
2. Thoroughly mix together all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl (flours, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves).   
3. In a separate, larger bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients (zucchini, eggs, butter, milk and sugar).
4. In two to three batches, add your dry mixture to the wet mixture, stirring together between each addition until the batter is well blended.
5. Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for about 45-55 minutes until an inserted tooth pick comes out clean. 
6. Let it cool for 5 minutes and then turn the cake out of the pan.
7. Meanwhile, mix together the orange juice, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. Heat in microwave for about 20 seconds, and then finish stirring the ingredients together. It will be liquidy, but that is good because this is more of a soaking syrup. Once the cake has been turned out, pour the mixture over top of the cake and allow it to absorb.
Wrapped tightly, this could last 5-7 days on your kitchen counter...Good luck with that. 
          I have had my fair share of zucchini bread-plain, nutted, chocolate studded, chocolate on chocolate, you name it- but let me tell you, this is a zucchini bread to be reckoned with. I will return to this recipe again and again because it was about as darned well balanced and moist as it could get. Don't let your zucchini go to waste, or even just sauté it up, make this easy-peasy, delicious bread. 
Just look at those freshly-squeezed pieces of orange pulp resting in the cracks!
Happy late summer time folks!

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