Zucchini Bread

We have had lots of fresh zucchini from our garden…so that normally means two things: zucchini bread and chocolate zucchini cake. My husband gets all of the credit for our garden. I would like to say it is because I was pregnant that I didn’t help with it, but the truth is, Matt normally is the one who takes care of the garden. He is great at it and enjoys it, so I let him.

Back to zucchini bread. It is very important when making zucchini bread to actually use zucchini, not cucumber. I’m not kidding. I may have accidentally mixed the two up when I was younger (ok, I was probably 20) while making this recipe…and for this I get a really big idiot award. What makes this even worse was I didn’t know I had used a cucumber until my mom was wondering where the cucumber was. Wow.

Zucchini Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugars together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.
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Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

This bread is beautiful. Nevermind that it is melt in your mouth cinnamon goodness. It smells amazing too. How is that for appealing to the senses? I found this recipe a while back from Joy the Baker. She has some great photos that will help take you through the process.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Makes: one 9x5x3-inch loaf

For the Dough:

2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 ounces unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted.  Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract.  Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.  Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together.  Keep stirring.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be sticky.  That’s just right.

Place the dough is a large,  greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  *The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning.  If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.

While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch  loaf pan.  Set that aside too.

Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out.  The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long.  If you can’t get the dough to 20-inches long… that’s okay.  Just roll it as large as the dough will go.  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.  Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips.  Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book.  Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw.  A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.   Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto  a clean board.

A Banana Classic

Banana bread is one of those recipes most of us can remember our grandma’s and mother’s making. It is a classic. We love banana bread at our house, however ever batch is surrounded by a debate about nuts. Matt likes nuts in his bread, I feel like nuts disturb the smoothness. Whatever nut camp you find yourself in, this is a great basic banana bread recipe.
Banana Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2  cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and sugar a 9×5 inch loaf pan (or 4 mini loaf pans).
In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Stir in vanilla, eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes (less time for smaller pans), until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
* I like to make a double batch and freeze most of the bread when I make it…that way we don’t feel like we need to eat it all at once. Just make sure and wrap it well!