Endless options Zucchini and walnut, sweet potato and hazelnut, banana and chocolate chip, and carrot and pecan breads.

Image: Erik Skaar

ZUCCHINI ARE THE RABBITS of the vegetable world. This time of year they’re multiplying, their vines curling out into alleys and under cars. The squash themselves morph into titanic specimens that end up orphaned on neighbors’ porches under the guise of giving. When you’ve grilled and stuffed and sliced and handed off as much as you can stand, turn to Essential Baking Company’s (essentialbaking.com) zucchini bread. It’s the one we determined, after extensive research, to be the best in town. Packed with walnuts and just the right amount of spice, it breathes sweet new life into even older zucchini, and freezes beautifully.

Zucchini Bread with Walnuts

Recipe courtesy Essential Baking Company

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Makes: 1 loaf

Butter and flour for greasing the pan
1 cup sugar
½ cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1½ tsp vanilla
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup shredded zucchini
½ cup finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-5 loaf pan.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together the sugar and canola oil on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the eggs and mix until creamy, another 2 minutes, then stir in the vanilla.

In another bowl, whisk the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon) together. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula if necessary. Fold in zucchini and walnuts using a spatula or wooden spoon.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake the bread for approximately 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove bread from the pan and complete cooling on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!

For tasty variations on this recipe, in place of zucchini and walnuts use sweet potatoes and hazelnuts; mashed, ripe bananas and chocolate chips; or carrots and pecans. Cardamom can replace cinnamon in any combination.

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