I’ve always heard those stories about people dropping off heaps of zucchini on people’s doorsteps in the dead of night at the height of zucchini season trying to unload some of their bounty, but it had never happened to me until last week. Joseph and I had been out most of the day and when we returned we found a bag of some of the biggest zucchini I have ever seen waiting for us at our door.
There was no note and I had no idea who had left it. Actually, over a week later, I still don’t know who left it. Perhaps they thought I would see it as a hassle, an obligation or something that I had to deal with, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. I love zucchini. I especially love it roasted with some lemon and garlic and served with pasta (in fact, I have two versions here and and here), but it’s also nice for breakfast in some carrot zucchini muffins. And it’s a good thing I like zucchini because I was now swimming in it. The bigger of the two weighed nearly 5 pounds!
When I woke up two hours before my alarm clock and couldn’t fall back asleep, I figured I had some time to do some baking before going to work. I found a recipe that makes 2 loaves, which was just about perfect. I could make my coworkers extremely happy by bringing some warm zucchini bread for breakfast, but still have an entire loaf at home to enjoy. You know, it’s all about having your cake (or zucchini bread) and eating it too!
My coworkers were indeed happy to have something to nibble on in the morning, and were especially impressed (and a bit flabbergasted) that it was still warm when they dug in. I must admit, I was kind of impressed myself. Not only did I make two loaves all before work (and on a day when I had to leave home earlier than usual to drop Joseph off at the dentist), but I even managed to get some photos in. It wasn’t my plan – I didn’t think I would have time – but I was just so impressed with the size of this zucchini and I wanted to be able to share it with all of you. I hate a wasted opportunity, but even more than that, I figured many of you might be up to your ears in zucchini from your garden (or your friends’ gardens!) and looking for some ways to use it up. So you here you go!
Adapted from Paula Deen
This is a Paula Deen recipe, so I decided to lighten it up a little by replacing half of the vegetable oil with applesauce. If you don't have applesauce on hand (or don't feel like lightening it up), just use a full cup of oil and omit the applesauce. I also cut out a full cup of sugar (she calls for three cups!) and replaced half of the sugar with brown sugar. I was very tempted to add chocolate chips, but didn't. They would be lovely in this.
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, plus extra to sprinkle on top (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, applesauce, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice. Mix the wet ingredients into dry, until just combined. Add one cup of the nuts (if using) and fold in. Sprinkle tops of loaves with extra chopped nuts.
- Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Alternately, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes.