Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Whatcha' Cookin' Wednesday - Zucchini Bread


I detest the notion of sneaking veggies into food. Y’know, hiding mushed up, over-cooked veggies in pasta casseroles and such in order to force those no-veggie-eatin’ kids to get some green stuff in their gullets. I’ve heard the arguments in favor of it and I don’t agree for a WIDE variety of reasons.  

Except when it comes to zucchini bread. 

Lovely, somehow-all-at-the-same-time savory-sweet, tender, yummy, healthy zucchini bread.

The recipe listed below produces a dark brown treat (see above) that my children were convinced was "full of chocolate" and a big, ol’ “fluffed up” brownie. It was gobbled in no time. They freaked out (in a good way) when I revealed that zucchini was one of the main ingredients. (NO WAY. Way!) 

This recipe was inspired by one that I spied on Skinny Ms.’s blog. I tweaked it to make the bread less sweet and give it a smoother texture. It keeps for about 5 days in the fridge and also freezes well.

Quick note: This recipe uses coconut oil but don’t let that scare you into thinking that you’re about to bake something that’ll smell like suntan lotion. Surprisingly, coconut oil neither tastes nor smells like coconut.  I use coconut oil for cooking because it creates great baked goods and is one of the healthiest oils on the planet. I also use it on my body, face and hands!  A wonderful moisturizer that costs pennies on the dollar compared to other organic, store-bought lotions... But that's another blog post...)

Here's what you'll need:
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (Use the smallest grater setting to get really fine/small pieces)
½ cup Greek Yogurt, plain (low-fat or no-fat – both work great)
1.5 cups Whole Wheat bread flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

(Tip: For a bread with an added kick, consider adding 1 cup of unsweetened, dried cranberries.  Or, if you want to boost the Omega-3 quotient, add a cup of walnuts.)
Here's how you make it:

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees

-In a large bowl, cream together coconut oil and honey. (I use a hand mixer since room–temp coconut oil can be a bear to mix by hand.)

-Add egg, yogurt, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix on low until combined.

-Stir in grated zucchini by hand.

-In a small bowl, whisk together soda, salt, and flour.

-Add flour mixture to batter and stir just until combined. (DO NOT over-stir.)

-Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

-Pour batter into loaf pan and jiggle until level.

-Bake 50-55 minutes or until a fork inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

-Allow to cool 15 minutes in pan before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.

Cut into slices. ENJOY!

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