So why should you pay attention to the 500th zucchini bread recipe of your life? Well, if you are satisfied with the one you have, move right on. I have used the recipe in James Beard’s “Baking with Beard” for the longest time making only minor changes over the years. But Gina de Palma’s recipe caught my eye, because the walnuts in it were toasted and it used more zucchini and less flour. It also called for a lemon glaze, but I really don’t like complicated desserts. Besides who needs a glaze on a bread that already has so much sugar, particularly if you eat this for breakfast?
I made a couple more changes: I swapped out ¾ cup of the regular granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar) with ¾ cup of dark brown sugar. In the end the batter was a little dense, so I added ¼ cup milk (you could leave this out or adjust it down, depending on how much zucchini you packed into your measuring cup).
1 cup walnuts, chopped up into little pieces or processed in the food processor
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
1cup olive oil (vegetable oil if you don’t have it)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups zucchini, shredded in the food processor or grated
¼ cup milk (optional)
Position a rack in the cener of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease either a 10 cup bundt pan or two 9x5x4 pans (I used one 9x5x 4 and one 8x4x3: it was fine) with butter, then dust with flour to coat the pan completely. Tap out the excess flour. Place the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast until they are brown and give off a nutty aroma about 10 min (do not overbrown). Cool completely, then finely chop them in a food processor.
Mix the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices in a bowl and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar and olive oil on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3 min), then add the vanilla extract. Beat in the dry ingredients at low speed until thoroughly combined, then at medium speed for half a minute. Add the zucchini and the walnuts on low speed until they are completely incorporated. Add the milk, if using and combine thoroughly.
Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake for 45-50 min till a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan completely for 10 min. before serving.