Thursday, June 30, 2011

Brown Sugar Zucchini Bread (and Happy Anniversary to The Family Foodie!)

One year ago today, I started The Family Foodie.  I’m not really sure what I had in mind when I started this blog–I know I was deep in a funk, coming off a very difficult semester, and giving some serious thought to a potential career change.  I even went so far as to apply for a few jobs outside the academic world.  Then, in his infinite wisdom, The Hubs suggested that maybe what I needed was not a new career but, instead, something I could get excited about.  I started a food blog because I love to cook, and I love to write, and it seemed like a logical way to put those things together.  I wasn’t so sure it would lead to excitement, but it was worth a shot.

There’s no way I could have known how much fun blogging would be, or how much it would expand my horizons.  The deeper I waded into the vastness of the blogosphere, the happier I became.  I’ve learned so much–about the mysteries of Search Engine Optimization, the intricacies of recipe writing, the artistry of food photography.  That last item was something I really had no interest in at all when I started blogging, but it’s the thing I’m most excited about now.  I hope the photos on my blog show some progress in that area.  I still have a lot to learn, but I’m really excited to learn it.

One year ago, my inaugural recipe was for Zucchini Bread. I didn’t know that when I went to the farmer’s market this week and ended up buying zucchini; in fact, I didn’t even know that my Foodie anniversary was coming up so quickly.  But when I got curious and started looking backward, wondering when I’d started this adventure and where I’d chosen to begin, I saw my zucchini bread recipe and realized that the only thing I could do to mark this very important anniversary was to develop a new variation on one of my summertime favorites.  During the zucchini incident of 1994, I tracked down and made use of a number of recipes that involved zucchini, but this time around I wanted to come up with a recipe of my own.  Something creative to mark the creation of The Family Foodie.  And what I came up with–Brown Sugar Zucchini Bread–is even better than the recipe I thought to be my favorite.  I like to believe that was not an accident.

This recipe requires turbinado sugar, which you may not have in your kitchen cabinet or pantry.  Trust me, it’s worth a trip to the grocery store.  Turbinado sugar takes its name from the turbine that’s used to spin out the brown juice from sugar cane, which then turns into large crystals.  So it’s granulated–like white sugar–and not sticky–like brown sugar–but it tastes more like brown sugar than white.  It measures just like white sugar and doesn’t require packing.  Generally, you can substitute turbinado sugar for white sugar in any recipe, and it’s a good choice for baking things like bread or muffins, which tend to have a denser texture.  However, if you’re trying to bake something light and fluffy, like a cake, turbinado sugar won’t give you the results you’re looking for.  Also keep in mind that the large crystals don’t dissolve quickly, so if you take a taste of your batter (ever mindful of those raw eggs and the risk of salmonella), you’ll notice their crunchy presence.  Don’t worry.  Your finished bread will not be crunchy.

I started out with my basic favorite zucchini bread recipe, but used turbinado sugar in place of white.  Then I decided to leave out the spices I normally use–cinnamon and nutmeg–so the flavor of the brown sugar would be more pronounced.  I also doubled the amount of vanilla I would normally add, and tossed in a half-cup of coconut flakes to give the bread more texture.

Well.

This is seriously good stuff.  The outer crust is nice and crisp; the inside is moist and chewy.  The coconut provides more texture than flavor, so even if you’re not a coconut fan, I think you’ll like it.  My recipe makes two loaves, and I had planned for us to eat one and freeze the other for later, but I actually had to tell people not to cut into the second loaf before I could photograph it.  When you have children clamoring to eat zucchini bread, you know you’re onto something good.

Thanks to all of you who have been faithful readers of The Family Foodie for the past year.  I hope you’re having as much fun reading as I am writing!

 

 

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Brown Sugar Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

2 cups turbinado sugar
3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You'll need two loaf pans; go ahead and spray them with cooking oil before you start mixing the bread batter.

Combine the sugar and eggs. In a large bowl, combine the turbinado sugar and eggs, stirring until they're thoroughly combined. Add the oil and mix again. (I don't use a mixer when I'm making a quick bread like this, but you certainly can, if you prefer.)

Combine the dry ingredients. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients, then add them to the sugar and egg mixture a little at a time. Stir between additions just until you can no longer see dry ingredients.

Add the zucchini. After all the flour mixture has been incorporated, add the zucchini and stir to incorporate it throughout. Then add the coconut and vanilla, mixing one last time.

Divide the batter between the two prepared loaf pans. Bake the loaves for about 35 minutes, then check them by poking a wooden skewer or toothpick into the tallest part of the loaf. If the skewer comes out clean, they loaves are ready to cool. If not, give the bread another five minutes and check again. Baking time is really going to depend on the width and depth of your loaf pans.

Let the bread cool in the pans for ten minutes. Then, turn the loaves onto a cooling rack and let them sit for another 10 or 15 minutes.

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3 Responses to “Brown Sugar Zucchini Bread (and Happy Anniversary to The Family Foodie!)”

  1. 1

    Kessi W. — June 30, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

    Happy anniversary, Family Foodie! I'll be investing in turbinado sugar today. This recipe looks has the potential to settle into my favorite list!

  2. 2

    Pam — July 3, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    I hope you enjoy it, Kessi! I'm going to bake another batch just as soon as I can get back to the farmer's market for more zucchini.

  3. 3

    suzie — September 17, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

    great recipe, made three batches to fulfill all the “more” requests…coconut adds the perfect touch.

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