Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lemony Almond Zucchini Bread

Zucchini hidden in sweet and fragrant loaf.

Lemon, spice, and zucchini in a loaf. Its appealing for breakfast lunch or dessert, and its uses up the surplus of zucchini lurking in my pile of CSA vegetables. This recipe is adapted from a Gourmet Magazine banana bread recipe on epicurious.com.

Lemony Almond Zucchini Bread

3 cups grated zucchini
1/2 tsp salt

4 large eggs, at room temperature for 30 minutes

2 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup yogurt
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tblsp lemon zest, about 4 lemons

2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
(I used 2 cups all purpose flour + 1 1/4 cups whole wheat)
3/4 cup sliced almonds, divided

Grate your zucchini and place in a sieve or strainer. My Cuisinart has a grating disc attachment. This means I can grate 2 giant zucchini in under a minute! I recommend looking into this investment, its the best gadgety thing I have in my kitchen. Mix grated zucchini with 1/2 tsp salt and allow to stand over sink or bowl for 3 hours to overnight. This allows some of the water in the zucchini to drain out, and improves the bread's texture. Skip draining step if you want to make the bread faster.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 9x5" loaf pans, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer at medium/high speed in a bowl, until pale yellow and very thick, or about 10 minutes. Batter will fall in ribbons. Reduce speed to low and slowly pour oil in a thin stream. Stop mixer, and scrap down the sides. Add in yogurt, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice and lemon zest. Mix at medium for 1 minute. Next add the baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt and mix on medium for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the mixer. Add half of the flour and mix gently by hand, until mostly incorporated. Add the the last half of the flour and mix again, until mostly incorporated. Over mixing is a mistake, always better to stir a little less than you think. This prevents the bread from becoming dense or tough. Fold in grated zucchini and 1/2 cup of almonds. Divide into 2 pre-buttered pans, and top with remaining almonds.

Bake in center of oven for 1 1/4 hours, or until a knife comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Cool loaves for 20 minutes on a rack. Turn over and remove bread from pans. Place upright and allow to cool before serving.

For some reason I always have the worst time getting bread and cakes out of their pans, so here are some tips:

1) Run a knife around the edge before flipping. 2) Knock on the bottom of the pan aggressively with your palm. 3) Flip back over and gently run a knife under each corner of the bread and lift a tiny bit, wiggling the knife. Do the same on the center of each side. 4) Turn back over, and hit it again with your hand. 5) Repeat, and be patient, too much stress can cause your bread to come out in chunks, misery.

Extra Tip) If your bread does come out in chunks, trim and neaten the broken edges with a knife, make some frosting and turn it into an impromptu layer cake. Even if its on a weird angle, people like frosting, and they will forgive its shape!

I know this bread is perfect. It smells wonderful, it is slightly squishy to the touch, plus it has 295 reviews online. I have not eaten it! Its a hostess/host gift for friends. I wrapped it up in two layers of foil, placed it in a ziptight bag, and it shall remain frozen for 2 weeks. You may freeze this bread for up to 1 month.

1 comment:

  1. I'm commenting on my own recipe, because it is so excellent!! I make this at least 4-6 times a year, and is probably my most baked recipe. The bread itself has a following. I can't show up at Mrs. Bono's house without a loaf!

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